Common Types of Bicycle Accidents in California

Paceline Law can help you when you get hurt in a bicycle accident in California. Our team has the experience and resources you need. Regardless of the many different types of accidents you can be in, there’s a process that you need to go through to recover. To learn more about your options, contact us today for a free consultation.

Do You Need Legal Help?

The answer here depends on your needs. The more hurt you are, the more you’ll need help. Still, there’s no legal requirement in California that says you need a lawyer. At the same time, having our experienced team on your side can make the legal process much easier on you.

What Leads to Bicycle Accidents in California?

Like any other area in California, bicycle accidents in Northern California happen for various reasons. Understanding how these accidents typically occur can help you grasp the situation better:

  • Distractions – Drivers who are distracted by their phones, navigation systems, or other activities may not see bicyclists, leading to accidents.

  • Failure to yield – Motorists not giving bicyclists the right of way, especially at intersections or when making turns, can cause collisions.

  • Unsafe lane changes – Drivers who don’t check blind spots or signal properly may accidentally hit a bicyclist when changing lanes.

  • Speeding – Driving too fast reduces a driver’s ability to react to sudden changes, making it more likely to collide with a bicyclist.

  • Unsafe road conditions – When roads are not properly maintained, it means there might be potholes, debris, or other obstacles that can cause a bicyclist to lose control or have a collision. Additionally, the absence of designated bike lanes can make it more dangerous for bicyclists to navigate through traffic, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

  • Driving under the influence – Impaired drivers (alcohol, drugs, medication) have slower reaction times and impaired judgment, increasing the likelihood of collisions with bicyclists.

  • Failure to follow traffic laws – Ignoring traffic signals, stop signs, or other laws by both motorists and bicyclists can lead to accidents.

  • Low visibility – Poor lighting, lack of reflectors or lights on bicycles, or wearing dark clothing make it harder for drivers to see bicyclists, raising the risk of accidents.

As you can see, most of these factors involve the actions of other drivers. However, there are additional factors from the bicyclist’s side that can contribute to accidents. Not only is it important to understand the causes of accidents, it’s equally important to know what some of the most common types of accidents are.

What Are the Most Frequent Types of Bicycle Accidents in California?

Again, every bicycle accident carries its own unique facts and circumstances. With that said, there are some more common types of bicycle accidents that can happen to you or a loved one in Northern California. These typically include: 

  • Hit and run accidents – These are incidents where a driver hits a bicyclist and then flees the scene without stopping to help or provide their information. It can leave the bicyclist injured and without any means of holding the responsible party accountable.
  • Right Hook accidents – This type of accident occurs when a vehicle making a right turn fails to notice a bicyclist next to them and turns directly into their path. It can result in a collision and cause significant harm to the bicyclist. 
  • Left Turn accidents – These accidents happen when a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection or driveway fails to yield to an oncoming bicyclist traveling straight. The bicyclist may be struck by the turning vehicle, leading to injuries or damage. 
  • Sideswipe accidents – Sideswiping occurs when a vehicle and a bicycle are traveling in the same direction, and the vehicle brushes or collides with the side of the bicycle. It can happen when a driver doesn’t give enough space to the bicyclist or fails to notice their presence.
  • Fatal accidents – These are tragic incidents in which a bicycle accident results in the death of the bicyclist. It is a devastating outcome that highlights the serious risks and consequences associated with bicycle accidents.
  • Dog chase accidents – In these situations, a dog runs out onto the road and starts chasing a bicyclist, causing them to lose control, crash, or collide with other objects. It can be frightening and dangerous for both the bicyclist and the dog.
  • Caltrans accidents – Caltrans accidents refer to incidents involving bicyclists on roads or highways that are under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Transportation. These accidents may occur due to road defects, construction zones, or inadequate signage, which can pose hazards to bicyclists.
  • Bike versus bike accidents – These accidents involve collisions between two or more bicycles. They can occur due to factors such as rider inattention, misjudgment of distance, or failure to follow rules of the road. While typically less severe than accidents involving motor vehicles, bike versus bike accidents can still result in injuries.


No matter what type of bicycle accident you find yourself in, it’s likely that you’ll have suffered at least minor injuries. This is due to the fact that, unfortunately, you’re not offered a lot of protection in a bicycle accident. Usually, this results in common injuries like:

  • Whiplash
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Lacerations
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Back strains

What Should You Do After a Bicycle Accident?

In California, it’s not mandatory to hire a lawyer for your claim, but it’s highly recommended that you reach out to Paceline Law and our team for a free consultation. Dealing with a bicycle accident and seeking fair compensation from the responsible party and their insurance company can quickly become overwhelming for most victims. That’s where we can help by offering expert legal services and prioritizing your needs.

We can take care of various responsibilities that come with a bicycle accident, including: 

  • Determining who was at fault
  • Gathering important evidence
  • Interviewing witnesses and experts
  • Communicating with the at-fault party’s insurance company
  • Negotiating or taking your claim to court for damages

In a claim, damages are separated into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are actual losses that you suffer, like medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages compensate for mental suffering, pain, and the impact on your life, which is harder to put a price on.

No matter what kind of damages you have from a bicycle injury, our team can help you get results. Each case is unique, but we will seek different types of compensation for you, such as:

  • Payment for medical treatment costs
  • Payment for physical therapy costs
  • Compensation for lost wages because of missed work
  • Compensation for pain and suffering
  • Compensation for mental anguish
  • Compensation for the loss of enjoyment in life

Many bicycle accident victims may not fully understand the extent of their damages, especially if they have serious injuries or complications. That’s why having our experienced team at Paceline Law by your side is so helpful. We can help you identify all the damages you’re entitled to and work towards maximizing the outcome of your bicycle accident claim.

California Bicycle Accident Victims Can Trust Paceline Law

Even if you’re careful, bicycle accidents can still happen in California. When these unfortunate events occur, it’s important to have a skilled and dedicated lawyer and team on your side  who can help you get the compensation you deserve. Paceline Law has the expertise to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

You shouldn’t have to worry about injuries, bills, and missing work. Instead, you should focus on recovering and getting back to your family and life. We can help you do that. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation to get started.