California lawmakers are considering a new law that would amend bicyclists’ obligations and duties while traveling along California roadways. Presently, bicyclists are subject to the same “rules of the road” that govern motorists and their operation of motor vehicles. This means that a bicyclist must stop for red traffic lights and stop signs. A new bill, however, would permit bicyclists to disregard signs and signals that would otherwise require them to stop their bicycles and (essentially) allow bicyclists to proceed through the intersections governed by these signs and signals without stopping.
A Bicyclist’s Duty to Yield to Other Traffic
In the event of a bicycle accident occurring at an intersection controlled by a stop light or stop sign, a judge or jury will need to determine which parties involved – the bicyclist and/or the motorist – acted in a careless or negligent manner. Where both the motorist and the bicyclist may bear some blame for the bicyclist’s injuries (for example, where neither the motorist nor the bicyclist were paying attention to the movement of cross traffic before proceeding through the intersection), a judge or jury will need to assign a “percentage of fault” to each party whose carelessness contributed to the crash. The size of the bicyclist’s monetary recovery would depend on how great the bicyclist’s percentage of fault is determined to be.
How Does a Judge or Jury Determine a Percentage of Fault?
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict who a judge or jury will assign percentages of fault. Instead, determining a percentage of fault is quite subjective and depends on the strength of the bicyclist’s case and the motorist’s defense. As one might expect, having legal counsel familiar with presenting bicyclist accident claims and/or defenses can help the party maximize the percentage of fault attributable to the other party while minimizing the percentage of fault attributable to him- or herself.
Trust your Costa Mesa personal injury attorneys at Case Barnett Law to help you recover compensation if you are a bicyclist and are injured by a careless motorist who is not paying attention to your movements on the road. The sooner you contact our office, the quicker we may be able to help you and your family during this difficult time. Call Case Barnett Law’s offices at (949) 861-2990; alternatively, you can reach our firm quickly by using our online contact form.