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Injured in a Passing-from-Behind Bike Accident in Santa Monica?

One of the most common causes of bicycle accidents that our Santa Monicapersonal injury lawyers see involves a bicyclist being struck by a car which is passing from behind the cyclist. In California and the United States, this is the top cause of adult bicyclist fatalities.

The Law that Applies to Passing-from-Behind Bicycle Accidents

California Vehicle Code Section 21760, known as the "Three Feet for Safety Act," sets forth the law which applies to passing-from-behind bicycle accidents. Section 21760 states:

"...(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the highway.

(c) A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.

(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c) due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway...."

Insurance Companies Blame Bicyclists for Passing-from-Behind Bike Accidents

The vehicle driver and his or her insurance company will usually attempt to blame the bicyclist for the accident by claiming that the motorist was driving at a safe distance from the bicyclist, and that the cyclist suddenly veered into the car's path. It is critical after this type of accident to immediately begin gathering evidence to refute the motorist's bogus claim. Did any witnesses see the accident happen or hear any statements made by the motorist at the scene? Witnesses need to be immediately located and their statements preserved, before their recollections of the accident diminish or are tainted by conversations with the driver's insurance company. Did a video surveillance camera capture the accident? Any surveillance footage needs to preserved before it is recorded over.

Bicycle Accidents Often Result in Serious Injuries

When a bicyclist is hit by a car, catastrophic injury or death can result. Injuries can include broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, herniated discs, and degloving injuries. It is important that an injured bicyclist gets the treatment he or she needs after an accident, without delay. Not only is it important for the cyclist's physical recovery, but it is also important for the cyclist's legal case. Insurance companies will use delays or gaps in treatment to support their contention that you were not seriously injured. The insurance company will argue that if you were really injured, you would have sought treatment right away.

Passing-from-Behind Bicycle Accident Victims Need an Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney

Because passing-from-behind bicycle accidents often involve a liability dispute, with the motorist attempting to blame the cyclist, a bicycle accident victim needs an experienced bicycle accident lawyer on his or her side.

At McGee, Lerer & Associates, attorneys Daniel McGee and Catherine Lerer have extensive experience representing bicycle accident victims and their families. We will make sure all the necessary evidence is gathered from the get-go to prove our client's case, and we will arrange for immediate medical treatment for our clients.

If you or a family member has been a victim of a bicycle accident, contact a Santa Monica bike accident lawyer at McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation.

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