Bicycle safety is a concern in California and across the country. May is National Bicycle Safety Month and the California Highway Patrol, CHP, is helping to promote bicycle safety awareness. Data collected through the California Integrated Traffic Records System shows that 738 bicycle riders were killed and more than 60,000 bicyclists were injured over the last five years. The safety awareness program will educate everyone who uses the roadways to obey the laws and be alert for others when driving and bicycling.

Bicycles and Automobiles Must Share the Road
There are traffic laws in place to control motorized vehicles as well as bicycles. Everyone needs to follow the rules of the road to ensure a safe roadway. Everyone must take responsibility for being as safe as possible. Of the bicycle accidents that occurred, the majority of them happened due to improper turns and bicycling under the influence.

Auto drivers must follow the traffic laws including those that pertain directly to bicycles. One law that drivers must know is that they must allow at least three feet between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing. Bicycle riders must also follow the law. For instance, they must stop at stop signs and obey traffic signals. They must pull over if there are five or more vehicles behind them. Additionally, bicycle riders must not ride while impaired or distracted.

Bicycle Accident Injuries
When a bicycle and a car collide the bicyclist often suffers severe injuries. According to the Trauma Prevention Program at the University of California, Davis, half of all bicycle accident deaths are the result of head injuries. It is important to note that California law requires bicycle riders under the age of 18 to wear helmets while riding. Although the law does not apply to adults, everyone should protect themselves by wearing a properly fitted helmet while on their bicycles. Approximately 87% of national bicycle deaths happen to adults over the age of 20.

Besides wearing a helmet, there are some other things bicycle riders can do to reduce their risk of accidents and injuries. When bicycling at night, always make sure that your bicycle has a working headlight and tail light so you can be easily seen by vehicles. Wear reflective clothing at night. Always wear proper shoes when bicycling and do not ride while barefoot or when wearing sandals. If you ride in traffic install a mirror so you can easily see vehicles without having to turn your head away from the road.

In addition to head trauma, bicycle riders suffer other serious injuries when they are in a collision with a motorized vehicle. The most common injuries include broken bones, back and neck injuries and internal injuries. Some injuries are quite severe and victims may require surgery and rehabilitative therapy.

If you were involved in a bicycle accident you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver. You might be owed money for your medical expenses, ongoing care, therapy treatments and more. Contact the legal team at the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your case.

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