When a car and a bicycle crash, it’s no surprise that the bicyclist is much more likely to be killed or severely injured. Traffic collisions kill over 100 bicyclists and injure more than 10,000 every year in California. Oftentimes, factors like lack of attention, distracted driving, inexperience, driver errors and risky behavior are to blame for these collisions.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as car drivers, and both bikers and motorists need to do their part to reduce these accidents. Bikers can take precautions like wearing a helmet and reflective clothing, as well as using bike lights and riding in designated bike lanes. However, these safety measures can only mitigate some of the risks. Motor vehicle drivers need to be aware of bicyclists and take action to protect them, too.

How drivers should keep cyclists safe

Keep an eye out for bicycles and others who may be on the roadway. At stop signs, parking lots, driveways and when backing up, drivers should always search their surroundings thoroughly for anybody who might be there or passing through.

Drivers should yield to bicycles like they would for any car. When turning left, the car should wait patiently for the oncoming bicyclist to pass, careful not to underestimate the speed of the bicyclist. This prevents turning prematurely and hitting the bike.

When turning right on red or at a stop sign, the motorist should stop and look left then right then left again, like we’re always taught in driving school, but they should also remember to look behind them to the right in order to watch out for any bicyclist who may be coming up from the rear.

When passing a bicyclist, it’s important that cars give them enough buffer space to keep them safe. Give bikers a minimum of 3 feet of room or move over into another lane. Remember, waiting is OK, and no hurry is worth accidentally taking someone’s life.

Getting help when a cyclist is injured

If you or a loved one are a bicyclist who was the victim of a traffic crash, it’s critical that you know your right to seek financial compensation for your suffering. There’s plenty of expenses that can quickly stack up — and they shouldn’t be your responsibility. An experienced and compassionate San Jose attorney can explain your legal options and help fight for the compensation you deserve.