In San Francisco – the city full of hills, busy people, extensive public transportation, roads that could use improvement, impatient drivers, distractions while driving, and a multitude of bicyclists (both recreational and workers of various messenger services), accidents involving bicyclists resulting in serious injuries and even fatalities are unfortunately more common than we hear on our local news.
The majority of the injury accidents involving bicycles arise out of incidents where a driver opens the door of his park car without looking back at the lane on his left carefully to make sure that the road is clear and safe for opening the door. This lead to a bicyclist running into the driver’s door and often flying over the door, hitting his body and head violently against the ground. Obviously, the faster the bicyclist goes, the harder the impact and the more serious injury will be sustained. The other common kind of accidents involving bicyclists is where a bicyclist in San Francisco is riding on the the right side of the road, near the sidewalk, and where the car in front of him, turns right at the intersection without seeing the bicyclist in the right mirror.
Even relatively slow-impact car-bicycle collisions result in serious injuries to the bicycle riders, the most common of which are concussion (especially if the rider wasn’t wearing a helmet) and compression fracture injury to the riders back. I believe that while the drivers are usually found at fault and liable for injuries and damages of the bicyclist in both of the above situations, the rider of the bicycle has more power to prevent these common accidents and avoid the most serious injuries.
First, about hitting open doors of parked cars. Try to not ride to close to the parked cars. If the road behind you is clear (like it is at night) and there are no cars behind you, ride close to the middle of the lane and away from parked cars to avoid running into an open door. When you ride, look a little further forward and pay attention to the cars that are just pulling into the parking space, so that by the time you are near those vehicles, you are especially careful.
When you are about to go through an intersection, never assume that the driver sees you in the right mirror. If it’s obvious to you that the guy is about to turn right, yield, let him pass, let him complete the turn so that you are safe to proceed on your bicycle.
And if you end up in an accident while riding your bicycle in San Francisco, and you are need of legal advice, contact San Francisco injury lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation, to discuss your concerns.