Some bicycle collisions in Los Angeles don’t involve motor vehicles. They involve pedestrians. The California Vehicle Code applies in many accidents between bicyclists and pedestrians. That’s only one factor that figures into the liability equation though. Any personal injury claim brought by a bicyclist against the pedestrian will be determined by the law of negligence. Indeed, a pedestrian who causes bicycle accident can be determined to be negligent.
Making a determination of fault in an accident between a bicyclist and a pedestrian is likely to pivot on what’s known as the duty of care. Under the law of negligence, there’s a duty incumbent on both the cyclist and the pedestrian to use due care and caution for their own person and property and the person and property of others. Here are a few examples of when a pedestrian might deviate from his or her duty of care and be the cause of an accident with a bicyclist:
- Failing to use crosswalks, whether marked or unmarked.
- Disobeying a traffic signal.
- Carelessly stepping into a bike lane.
- Crossing a roadway when talking on a cell phone or texting.
- Stepping into a roadway when under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
Given the fact that bicyclists also have a duty of care for the safety of their own person and property, a judge or jury might find a bicyclist partially at fault for an accident with a pedestrian. When that happens, a percentage of fault is assigned to the bicyclist, and that percentage is deducted from a gross award. For example, if a bicyclist is determined to be 30% at fault for an accident, a $100,000 award would be reduced to $70,000. This is known as the law of comparative negligence. In California, a bicyclist can even bear the majority of fault for an accident but still obtain a financial recovery.
If the pedestrian who was primarily at fault for the bicycle accident is covered by homeowners, condo or rental insurance, those would be the likely sources of compensation for the damages that were suffered by the bicyclist.
Contact a Bicycle Injury Lawyer
Los Angeles Bicycle Law represents bicyclists because we are bicyclists. We know first-hand how rewarding, yet dangerous, cycling can be in the Los Angeles area. Even though the law treats bicyclists with the responsibilities and rights of a motor vehicle, the road itself offers far fewer protections. That is why we actively fight to protect bicyclists in our community. If you have been injured in a bicycle accident in Los Angeles, contact Los Angeles Bicycle Law today.