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Another Bike Accident in Bike Safety Month

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It’s Bike Safety Month in San Diego. It’s not just a San Diego event, but is something that has been organized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) all over the U.S. in an attempt to cut down the number of serious injuries and fatalities which befall cyclists every year. More about Bike Safety Week and the NHTSA’s “Roll Modeling” later in this article.

Typical San Diego Bike Accident

One person who didn’t take any notice of Bike Safety Month was Heejoon Lee. Heejoon Lee was arrested after he allegedly hit a 44 year old bicyclist close to the intersection of Palmilla Drive and La Jolly Colony Drive in San Diego. According to the police report, Lee’s Honda Accord hit the cyclist from behind, but the driver failed to stop, as is required by California law. He lost control of his vehicle, possibly because of the collision or because he was drunk or both, and then crashed into vegetation by the side of the road 1,000 feet from where he hit the cyclist. Police found the driver and arrested him. He has been charged with two felony charges: hit and run and DUI.

The cyclist was taken to hospital with a spinal fracture, as well as a fractured pelvis.

The accident is typical of the 45,000 bicycle accident injures that occur every year nationwide. In addition to serious injuries, there are over 800 cyclists killed every year. 2.3% of traffic accidents involve bicyclists. To be fair, some cyclists do not always ride safely. That’s something that the NHTSA is trying to change with Bike Safety Month, but the fact is that in any collision between a motorized vehicle and a bicycle, it is almost always the cyclist who comes off worst.

Roll modeling with the NHTSA

The NHTSA’s “Roll Model” (it’s not a typo, it’s a pun on “role modeling”) theme for Bike Safety Month is aimed at both motorists and cyclists and is an attempt to improve awareness of the dangers to cyclists where cyclists are forced to share the road with vehicles. Let’s face it, California is dominated by automobiles. There has been a lot done in some cities, even car mad L.A., to improve cycle ways and keep bikes and vehicles apart but there are many situations where they must use the same stretch of road.

Bike riders are targeted too. They are urged to keep a sharp look out, wear high visibility clothing, use a bike helmet and keep to the road rues. That means not running a red light, failing to stop at a controlled intersection or weaving in and out of vehicles in congested lines of traffic.

The Three Feet for Safety Act

Motorists are urged to keep a look out for cyclists and give them plenty f room. The Three Feet for Safety Act applies in California and drivers can be fined if they don’t make sure they give a minimum of 3 feet clearance between themselves and a cyclist. Of course, there are circumstances in which a driver cannot safely pass more than 3 feet from a cyclist without putting others or even themselves in danger, but the law still instructs motorists to slow down and pass carefully.

Legal action possible for cyclists if hit by an unsafe motorist

The 44 year old in the accident described at the start of this article will need serious surgery. There is no guarantee that he is going to be as healthy as he was before the accident. He may need to spend months off work recovering. There is a huge financial cost to accidents like this. Even if the person who allegedly caused the accident is found and charged it doesn’t necessarily make it any easier for the cyclist.

That’s where a personal injury lawsuit comes in. If a cyclist is seriously injured but can eventually prove that he or she was hit by an unsafe driver, then there is the possibility that the driver can be sued. The legal process is not straightforward as much depends on the degree of proof available it’s preferable to seek legal assistance from a bicycle accident attorney like Robert Hamparyan of the Hamparyan Injury Lawyers in San Diego.

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