At a time when concerns for the environment have moved people to use alternative transportation, including public transport, walking and bicycling, those getting from here to there without a car are finding the roads to be a bit “bumpy.”
With a mixture of cars and bicycles on the congested streets, many accidents happen that leave bicyclists with severe injuries. It seems that the laws in place do not bend for the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, and that is why bicycle coalitions across California are working together to get new laws passed.
According to SF Streets Blog, a site committed to providing alternative-transportation news to the public and promoting “livable streets,” the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) has three ideas they’d like to see become laws.
First, they would like to see cameras check for illegal right turns, especially at the intersection of Central Freeway and Market. As a bicycle lane is located on the right of the street, offending drivers who do not make a safe right-hand turn put bicyclists in danger of personal injury.
Secondly, the SFBC supports a change in state law to permit bicycles to pass cars on the right. Apparently this is a commonplace happening that rarely warrants any ticketing by police unless a bicycle accident occurs. In the case of a crash, lawyers and cops assign blame and often some of it falls on the bicyclist because “passing on the right” is neither legal nor enforced against.
One cyclist of San Francisco found himself in a similar situation. He was riding his bicycle when a passenger in a taxi jumped out of the right side in front of him and into his path, causing him to be forced against the stone wall of a subway entrance. He suffered severe back injury, and though there were cyclists in front of and behind him, the jury assigned him with 25% of the fault for the incident because he “should have passed on the left.”
“Not passing on the right really does contradict what bicyclists are supposed to do,” he asserted.
The third idea on the legislative agenda concerns a California “vulnerable road users” protection bill. This bill would increase penalties for motorists who violate a traffic law when a pedestrian or bicyclist is involved. Currently, a driver may incur no extra penalty for injuring a pedestrian as prosecutors believe manslaughter or attempted manslaughter to be too harsh for an accident. The vulnerable road users protection bill would place the penalty somewhere between the accident ticket and manslaughter.
It is clear that everyone on the road needs to make more room for alternative transportation whether it requires new laws, re-enforcing older lesser-known laws, or generally remembering to respect your fellow travelers.
The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.