Articles Posted in Bicycle Accidents

As your Oakland injury law firm, we hope that this blog helps injured Californians know that they have rights after an accident and that we are here to help them navigate the complex process of obtaining compensation when someone else’s actions cause them harm. We also hope that this blog helps prevent accidents by sharing safety tips relevant to life in 2012. While we’ve covered the importance of cars, bicycles, and pedestrians sharing the road before, a recent piece in The Oakland Tribune reminds us that it is a topic worth revisiting.

road.pngThe article, originally carried by the Contra Costa Times, focuses on making the roads safe for everyone. It has been nearly three months since a father and his nine year old daughter, Solaiman and Hadessa Nuri, were struck and killed while biking near a fire department training center on Treat Boulevard in Concord. Flowers and candles can still be found at the site where officials believe a seventeen year old boy hit the pair while driving an SUV. Sadly, as traffic officers told the reporter, the accident is just one example of a growing adversarial relationship between cars and others using the roads, including pedestrians and cyclists. One of the first officers to respond to the tragic crash on April 7th noted that travelers have adopted a “take every inch you can” mentality.

In 2010, according to the California Office of Traffic and Safety, more than 3,100 people were killed or injured in crashes involving pedestrians, bicycle riders, or skateboarders in Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Alameda counties. Not only is this an increase from the 2,800 injured or killed in similar accidents in the three county region in 2006, there is also a disturbing increase in the portion of the incidents involving young people. In 2006, one in eight of the victims in such crashes was age 15 or younger. In 2010, that ratio was closer to one in six. Biking accidents have decreased in recent years but pedestrian accidents in California increased 5.4 percent between 2009 and 2010.

Recently, the news media has been drawn to disproportionately covering accidents involving bicyclists. On two different occasions, bicyclists struck and killed a pedestrian at a crosswalk. Then, a reckless young driver allegedly mowed down a father and child who were bicycling in Concord, reportedly because he was speeding and texting. Sensational events such as these are rare, but traffic accidents are a common occurrence in urban areas like San Francisco and the Bay Area as a whole. According the California Department of Motor Vehicles, about 100 cyclists are killed each year in California and hundreds of thousands more are injured.

Educating motorists and bicyclists is not always easy. Most drivers groan when they receive a traffic ticket, partly because of the fine and inconvenience, but partly because many anticipate the driver’s education required to strike the ticket from their record. Yet drivers and bicyclists alike should not take their means of transportation for granted or begrudge others for using the roadways. The first step to coexisting safely on the roadways is educating oneself about sharing the roads with more than one type of transport. Getting your hands on such information is often just a click away.

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency initiated the Coexist Campaign in 2007 to educate motorists, bus operators, and bicyclists in order to curb the nerve wracking feeling that often wells up when encountering each other on city streets. As more residents look to bicycling as an alternative to crowded public transport, bus transfers, or the lack of parking in urban areas, drivers and cyclists alike must be aware of how they can share the road safely and peacefully. The purpose of the campaign is to try and create a non-confrontational dialogue between bicyclists and drivers.

For instance, in June 2008 a survey by the City of Oakland’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilitation Program highlighted educational material for cyclists and bus drivers that not only had tips for safe driving, but that commented on each other’s point of view. For instance, the materials pointed out that the vast majority of bicyclists strive to ride predictably, but often ride out from the curb to maneuver around storm drains and potholes. In turn, the materials explained to bicyclists that if they cannot see the bus driver’s mirror, then the bus driver cannot see them. It also stated that hesitant or wobbly bikers make bus drivers very nervous, because they take it as a sign of unpredictability.

Lately various organizations, like the San Francisco and East Bay Bicycle Coalitions have stepped up the number and variety of educational classes. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition now offers classes for urban riders, beginning classes for adults and children, family oriented classes, and even educational classes for bus drivers. The website also provides information on where bicyclists can take classes.

The availability of classes or educational materials for every day motorists is somewhat lacking. The California driver handbook, issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, has a small section reserved for rules of the road for bicyclists, but not one for how motorists should interact with bicyclists. The non-profit organization One Street provides helpful links on its website for both bicyclists and drivers to watch.

The better bicyclists and operators of vehicles understand the challenges each other face when sharing the high traffic urban roads, the safer the streets will be.
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As the weather continues to journey from spring into summer, bicycling becomes popular as both a form of recreation and a mode of transportation. Bicycling can promote the health of both the individual, who benefits from the exercise, and the community at large, which benefits from the reduction in pollution caused by other transportation methods. Our Sacramento accident attorney urges both cyclists and drivers to always focus on safety. These efforts ensure that an enjoyable ride does not become a tragedy.

bikes.pngSacramento bicycle riders are participating in an annual effort to make our region bicycle-friendly. Due to an increase in participation, the annual Million Mile May event has grown to become Two Million Mile May. Cyclists are registering at the event website and pledging the number of miles they expect to ride in May. As of this weekend, 5,200 Sacramento cyclists have pledged over a million miles. In 2011, participants logged 1.4 million miles in an effort to help remind drivers of the need to share the road and to advocate for steps to make our region safe and accessible for riders.

At the state level, the California Legislature is considering a law that would require drivers to leave a three foot safety cushion when passing a bicycle. The bill failed to pass last year but there is a notable difference in the details of this year’s version of the proposal. Last year, the bill would have required drivers to slow to a speed of 15 miles per hour when there wasn’t room to allow the three foot space. This provision raised safety concerns and the current bill instead requires the driver slow to a reasonable speed for the circumstances.

When our San Francisco accident lawyer hears about an accident involving a bicycle, the cyclist is often the victim of a negligent driver. So it is with particular interest that the team at The Brod Law Firm, an experienced San Francisco collision law firm, has been following the developing story in which a cyclist struck and killed a local pedestrian.

bikes.pngThis week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that District Attorney George Gascón is moving forward with felony vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from an incident that occurred on March 29, 2012. Chris Bucchere, age thirty-five, was riding his bicycle in the Castro district when he struck and killed seventy-one year old Sutchi Hui. At the time of the accident, Hui was a pedestrian and in the crosswalk located at the intersection of Market and Castro Streets. The charge is a felony and could carry a sentence of sixteen months incarceration.

While it is believed that Bucchere had a yellow light when he cycles southbound through the intersection, a witness reports seeing him go through several stop signs and red lights on Divisadero Street before he reached the accident scene. A tracking device on the bicycle also indicated Bucchere was travelling faster than 35 miles per hour in a 25 mile per hour zone. The district attorney’s office believes these and other facts support a charge that Bucchere was grossly negligent and failed to yield to Hui at the crosswalk. Surveillance footage also shows that the cyclist was hunched over and made little or no effort to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

The beautiful climate is one of the many factors that make Northern California a great place to call home. It also means that bicycling can be a great transportation option that saves money, is friendly to the environment and has terrific health benefits. Unfortunately, this also creates the danger of Oakland bicycle accidents. Cyclists and drivers share the responsibility for making the roads safe for all residents and helping to avoid Oakland traffic accidents.

bike2.pngAccording to The Oakland Tribune, an accident claimed a life of a cyclist on Sunday night at the intersection of Bancroft and 78th Avenues. The unidentified fifty-one year old cyclist was travelling southbound on 78th when he was hit by an SUV that was backing up in the eastbound lanes. It is unclear whether the Dodge Durango was exiting a driveway or was reversing for another reason. The forty-five year old driver, who remained at the scene of the accident, is from Oakland but his name has not been released. The bicycle rider was taken to a hospital but died from his injuries. Alcohol does not appear to have been involved in the incident.

Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found 630 cyclist fatalities occurred nationwide in 2009. This represented two percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. The report also found that 51,000 rider were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2009. This number may be low since it only takes into account reported incidents. Accidents in California accounted for ninety-nine of the 2009 cyclist fatalities, making California the state with the second highest number of bicycle rider deaths. Across the nation, seventy percent of all fatal bicycle crashes occurred in urban areas and seventy-two percent of incidents occurred between 4 A.M. and 8 P.M.

bike.jpgBicyclists are everywhere in our city. Unfortunately, that means that bike accidents occur here at higher rates than in many other parts of the country. As San Francisco bike crash attorneys know, as a result of the minimal protection available, these types of accidents often result in horrific injuries for cyclists, often caused by the negligence of others on the road. However, it should not be forgotten that cyclists can also cause severe injury to others when they do not exercise proper care.

For example, in the past year there have been two fatal collisions between a bicyclist and a pedestrian in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, one of these unfortunate accidents occurred on the morning of March 29th when cyclist Christ Bucchere hit pedestrian Sutchi Hui, 71. Hui was walking in the crosswalk at Market and Castro in San Francisco when Bucchere hit him riding in the opposite direction. Hui died four days later at San Francisco General Hospital.

In an online post allegedly written by Bucchere, he admitted to entering the intersection after the traffic light had turned yellow because he was “too committed to stop”. By the time he reached the crosswalk on the opposite side of the intersection the light had turned red and pedestrians had started crossing in both directions. Unable to ride through the crowd safely he decided to lay the bike down and ended up plowing through the people in the crosswalk. Both cyclist and pedestrian were hospitalized after the accident, although Bucchere was discharged that day. Apparently Hui was the only pedestrian injured in the incident.

Bicycling is a terrific commuting option. It is environmentally friendly, cost-conscious, and provides a terrific fitness benefit. Our San Francisco bicycle accident attorney encourages more Californians to use cycling as a part of their regular commute. However, as a focused personal injury law firm for San Francisco and other Northern California regions, we know that bicycle accidents are a real concern for area cyclists.

One such accident was reported by The San Francisco Chronicle this week. The injured victim, a thirty-nine year old cyclist, was riding on Clement Street, travelling eastbound in the Richmond District of San Francisco just before five P.M. on Tuesday January 31. The rider was struck by a United States Postal Service Truck that was proceeding northbound on 18th Avenue at the time of the crash. A police spokesman noted that the rider was not wearing a helmet, suffered minor head trauma in the accident (earlier police reports suggesting a life-threatening injury have been altered) and was treated at San Francisco General Hospital. According to preliminary investigations, the cyclist had the right of way at the time of the collision and the postal worker failed to come to a full stop prior to entering the intersection.

bike.pngAccording to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, over one hundred people are killed in cycling accidents annually in our state, with injured cyclists numbering in the thousands. Drivers should remember to take particular caution when sharing the roadways with bicyclers, but cyclists must also exercise caution when travelling. Bicycles are required to follow all the same rules of the road that govern motor vehicles including stopping for red lights and obeying other traffic signs. Bicycle riders should opt for visible garments, especially if travelling in low-lit conditions. Helmets should be a part of every cyclist’s uniform. Although California law only mandates helmet-wearing for riders under age eighteen, cyclists of all ages should make wearing a well-fitting helmet a standard part of their riding routine.

As a San Francisco personal injury law firm, the team at The Brod Law Firm knows that it is vital for all individuals who travel on our roadways to exercise care and obey the law. We have experience as attorneys in San Francisco bicycle accidents and we know the importance of safety on two wheels as well as four. We represent bicyclists harmed by automobiles and believe in helping riders recover when they are harmed by a careless driver and helping families recover when the cyclist’s life is lost in the collision. However, a recent story in The San Francisco Chronicle reminds us that bicycle riders also have a duty to obey the law when they ride and that the failure to take care while cycling can have dire consequences.

On July 15, sixty-eight year old Dionette Cherney was crossing Mission Street. She was in the crosswalk, along with her husband, when she was struck by Randolph Ang who was riding his bicycle north on the Embarcadero. Cherney suffered head wounds and died in the hospital a few weeks later. Ang faces misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges pursuant to allegations that he ran a red light, causing the crash. Although the prosecutors do not believe Ang intended harm and have not suggested he acted with gross negligence, the district attorney’s office felt it was important to prosecute Ang for failing to obey traffic laws and to remind the community that bicyclists are not immune from legal obligation.

In California, as in most areas, bicycle riders are subject to all the rules and regulations that apply to automobile drivers. This includes the duty to obey traffic signals and the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Bicycles should be ridden in bicycle lanes where available. Otherwise, with limited exceptions involving single-direction traffic and cyclists preparing for a left turn, bicycles travelling below the speed of automobile traffic should remain toward the rightmost side of the roadway. Cyclists are required to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Helmet use is mandatory for bicyclists under age 18 and strongly recommended for all riders.

Yesterday, a 22-year-old bicyclist suffered life-threatening injuries when he was hit by a taxi that ran a red light in the Mission District. While the cyclist was crossing at Cesar Chavez and Guerrero streets just before 2 a.m. Sunday, a 56-year-old driver of a Yellow Town Taxi heading east on Cesar Chavez ran a red light and struck the him with his Ford Escape Taxi. The bicyclist was not wearing a helmet and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening head injuries. According to a report, the cyclist was laying face down and bleeding badly from the mouth, and many people rushed to his aid. The paramedics were also quick to respond.

This accident is yet another reminder that San Francisco taxi drivers are some of the most negligent drivers on the planet. Taxis are often seen speeding, challenging traffic signals, failing to stop at stop signs, and changing lanes or pulling away from the curb without looking at the road. Therefore, there is a high probability that a taxi will hit a bicyclist at some point. Cyclists are most likely to be injured in an intersection because negligent or impatient taxi drivers are notorious for running lights. Also, taxis often sideswipe cyclists when they change lanes without looking. Many times a cyclist injured by a taxi will have substantial damages from medical bills and lost wages, and, usually any attempt to collect damages from the taxi driver are futile because drivers usually don’t have a lot of money. For that reason, it becomes necessary to recover damages from the company that provided the cab.

Each taxi-bicyclist case presents its own special set of challenges, all of which our firm has the experience and expertise to handle. We are committed to working hard for our clients, whether that be in mediation, arbitration or trial. If you or a loved one suffered painful injuries and/or a permanent disability, you will need fair compensation and a competent injury accident attorney to reprsent you. Our firm represents residents throughout the Bay Area, including visitors to the area and has been helping injured bicyclists and pedestrians in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years. If you were injured or a family member was killed in by taxi driver negligence, contact us for a free no-obligation consultation. We handle all taxi injury cases on a contingent fee basis, which means you pay no attorney’s fees unless we are successful in achieving a financial recovery in your case

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