Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen?

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Santa Ana bicycle accidents
In a normal bike accident, a rider falls off their bike and scrapes a knee or elbow. However, a bike accident involving a motor vehicle typically results in much more serious injuries or death. Cyclists are vulnerable and at risk of suffering head injuries, back injuries, and broken bones in a collision. While each bike accident is different, there are common causes of bicycle accidents everyone should be aware of. 

While we hope you or a loved one is never involved in a bicycle crash, if such an unfortunate event occurs, our Santa Ana bicycle accident lawyer is here to provide compassionate support. Our personal injury law firm offers expert legal guidance to help you navigate the aftermath and pursue any compensation you may be entitled to.


What Are Common Types and Causes of Bike Accidents?

Common causes of bicycle accidents
In 2021, 125 bicyclist fatalities were reported in California. Common types of bike accidents include:

  • Left-hook accidents
  • Right-hook accidents
  • Intersection accidents
  • Rear-end accidents
  • Dooring accidents 
  • Overtaking accidents 

Common causes of bicycle accidents are:

Distracted Driving and Riding

Both distracted motorists and cyclists can cause accidents. Using electronic devices like cell phones is one of the biggest distractions. Texting while driving is not only illegal in California, it also increases the risk of an accident exponentially. 


Speeding is one of the many culprits in bicycle crashes. According to bike advocacy group BikeLA, many bicycle fatalities in Los Angeles County were attributed to speeds exceeding 35 mph, multiple travel lanes on roadways, a lack of bike lanes, and poor street lighting. 

Aggressive Behavior 

Aggressive driving is defined as any unsafe driving behavior with ill will. It includes running red lights or stop signs, speeding in heavy traffic, tailgating, cutting in front of other drivers, and weaving in and out of traffic. All of these behaviors put bicyclists in serious danger. Drivers may also become angry at cyclists occupying traffic lanes and retaliate. 

Unsafe Lane Changes 

While California Vehicle Code 22107 prohibits drivers from making lane changes without signaling, many drivers still change lanes suddenly or without warning, leaving cyclists with no time to react. Drivers should always turn or change lanes when it is safe to do so. A recent California law requires motor vehicles to change lanes when passing bicycles. 

Driving Too Close to Bike Lanes and Shoulders 

There can be times where vehicle drivers drive uncomfortably close to the bike lane or shoulder of the road. This puts bicyclists in extreme peril. Motorists must share the road with bicycle riders and respect their right to the road. 


Common Bicycle Accident Injuries 

Bike accidents occur from motor vehicles
A cyclist hit by a motor vehicle may be thrown off their bicycle and launched into the road in the path of oncoming traffic. They may also hit the windshield or side of the vehicle. Depending on the speed of the vehicle, cyclists may suffer a range of bicycle injuries, some of which are life-threatening. 

Common injuries resulting from bicycle accidents include:

  • Road rash: Cyclists are especially prone to road rash, as they may brush against rough pavement after falling off their bike. 
  • Cuts and lacerations: In warmer months, cyclists may not be as covered up, leaving their skin exposed to cuts and lacerations. 
  • Broken bones: Fractured bones can take months to heal, depending on the location and type of fracture. 
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Brain and head injuries can range from mild, like concussions, to severe resulting in permanent brain damage or death. 
  • Face and dental injuries: Cyclists may suffer from broken teeth, a fractured jaw, and eye damage if they sustain injuries to their face.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Back and spine injuries including herniated discs, pinched nerves, fractured vertebrae, and spinal cord damage. 
  • Wrongful death: When cyclists do not survive their injuries after a bike accident, their surviving family members may sue for wrongful death. 

If you suffered an injury because of a negligent driver, it is important to seek medical treatment and contact a lawyer. The insurance company will offer you the lowest possible settlement, but a lawyer will fight for top compensation. 


Bicycle Safety Tips To Prevent Accidents 

Avoid collisions by taking safety precautions
By following a few simple safety precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of an accident. If you are cycling in and around Santa Ana, protect yourself on the road by doing the following:  

  • Be cautious: Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Anticipate potential hazards and be prepared to react.
  • Follow traffic laws: Obey all traffic signals and road markings. Ride in the direction of traffic and signal your turns or lane changes.
  • Wear safety gear: Always wear a helmet that fits properly. Consider additional protective gear like gloves, elbow pads, and knee pads.
  • Ride in groups: Find cycling groups or ride with friends. There’s safety in numbers, and it can also make your ride more enjoyable.
  • Maintain your bicycle: Keep your bike in good working order. Regularly check brakes, tires, and lights.
  • Use lights and reflectors: Make sure you’re visible to others, especially at dawn, dusk, or night. Use front and rear lights and wear reflective clothing.
  • Plan your route: Choose routes with less traffic and good lighting. Use a bike path whenever possible.
  • Educate children: Teach kids about bicycle safety and the rules of the road. Supervise younger children when they ride.
  • Avoid distractions: Don’t use your phone or listen to loud music while cycling. Your full attention is needed at all times.
  • Be predictable: Make your actions clear to other road users. Avoid sudden moves and ride at a steady speed.


Schedule a Free Consultation With a Bicycle Accident Lawyer 

Bicycling accidents injured bicyclists
After sustaining an injury in a Santa Ana bike accident, seek immediate medical attention and follow treatment. When you are ready, reach out to an experienced bicycle accident lawyer. A personal injury attorney who specializes in bicycle accident cases can help you recover financial compensation from the at-fault party. 

Riverview Accident Lawyers is an award-winning personal injury law firm serving injured victims of motor vehicle accidents in Santa Ana and Orange County. Call our law firm at (657) 655-6045 or use the contact form to schedule a no-risk, free consultation. We are ready to help you recover your losses suffered from your bike accident.