There are multiple California Vehicle Code sections that impose responsibilities on drivers of automobiles with respect to bicyclists. For example, California Vehicle Code § 22107 states: “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this chapter in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.” In addition, California Vehicle Code § 21801(a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction (emphasis added) which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.” Finally, though persons riding bicycles are not defined as “pedestrians” under the Vehicle Code, Vehicle Code § 21950(a) requires a driver of a vehicle to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked or unmarked crosswalk.
While the laws designed to protect cyclists may govern the fault and responsibility of a driver of a car or truck after an accident, they cannot, however, protect you as a cyclist. That’s why it is important to be as aware of the cars and trucks around you as possible, and to ride defensively. Assume that drivers do not see you, and always wear a helmet. In the event you’re involved in an accident with a car or truck, or even doored, ensure the local police are called so they can document what happened, take witness statements, and get the insurance information of the driver. The most important thing to do after an accident with a car or truck is to monitor your body and seek proper medical treatment for anything that’s bothering you. You should consult an attorney prior to speaking with the insurance company of the driver involved in your accident, though your health, not your legal case or claim for damages, is the most important thing.
At the Brod Law Firm, we have been advocating on behalf of injured cyclists for over ten years, and have helped clients who have suffered minor injuries to catastrophic injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by the fault of someone else, please contact us for a free consultation.