Riding your bike is among the most efficient, affordable ways to get around busy cities in Southern California, but bicycle accidents are a considerable risk in urban areas. More than 160 riders are killed and another 11,000 injured in bike collisions statewide, and California’s Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports the dangers in Los Angeles County. There are almost 3,400 bicycle crash casualties every year, and 200 of these victims are under 15 years old.
These tragedies are what prompted California lawmakers to enact the “Three Feet for Safety Act” in 2014. In short, the law sets certain requirements for “buffer” zones that increase the distance between motorized vehicles and bikes. These safety measures go a long way to protecting bicyclists, but collisions are still a concern. A Sherman Oaks bicycle accident attorney can assist with your legal remedies if you were hurt, though some information on the law is helpful.
Overview of California Bike Buffer Zone Laws
The statute provides that a buffer is a space around the bicyclist that motorists must respect, and it may include areas that are designated bike lanes. The zones could also be marked by reflective strips or other painted images. If there are no traffic signals present, drivers are still required to allow at least three feet between their vehicle and bicycle riders.
Motorists who do not allow the appropriate amount of space could be ticketed for a violation of bicycle buffer zone laws. Fines range from $35 to $100 for a first-time offense and up to $250 for subsequent violations or those that cause bicycle accidents. Though fines may not completely prevent collisions, they do discourage drivers from breaking bike buffer zone laws.
Compensation in Bicycle Accident Claims
California personal injury laws aim to reimburse victims for their losses, though no amount can take away the horrific experience of being involved in a bike collision. There are two types of compensation available in these cases, including:
- Economic Damages: You suffer out-of-pocket expenses and incur costs as the victim of a bicycle crash. For instance, it is possible to recover amounts for medical treatment and lost wages if you were unable to work.
- Noneconomic Damages: Some losses are hard to quantify, but you sustain hardship on a personal level. You may be entitled to obtain noneconomic damages for your pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring and disfigurement, and other non-economic losses.
Though it is a violation of California traffic laws to infringe upon bike buffer zones, it is usually not possible to recover punitive damages that are intended to punish the offending driver.
Set Up a Free Consultation with a Sherman Oaks Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
Bike buffer zones are an effective strategy for reducing collisions, but riders are still at risk when they are sharing the road with negligent drivers. For more information on your legal options, please contact El Dabe Ritter Law Firm to speak with a member of our team. You can set up a no-cost consultation with a California bicycle collision attorney by calling 213-985-1120 or visiting our website.