Safety First for Bay Area Bicycle Riders

Earlier this week, a San Francisco cyclist pled guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for his involvement in the death of a 68-year-old tourist. The SF Gate reported that a young cyclist ran a red light, striking and killing the pedestrian tourist along the waterfront. The pedestrian later died at a local hospital from head injuries sustained during the crash. As our San Francisco bicycle accident attorneys know, many residents are hurt each year when cyclists and cars or pedestrians collide. Unfortunately, many of these accidents likely could be avoided simply by obeying the rules of the road.

The 23-year-old cyclist was sentenced to three years’ probation and 500 hours of community service as part of a plea bargain made with the district attorney’s office and agreed to by the family of the woman he struck and killed. He must also pay the family $15,375 in restitution. Also as part of his sentence, he must take part in a community service program educating bicyclists and pedestrians about road safety.

Our attorneys are well aware of how perilous our busy streets can be for bicycle riders. The paper analyzed accident reports in San Francisco and its surrounding areas and identified the most perilous roads and highways, which include San Francisco’s Market Street and Sonoma County’s country roads. The 25 most dangerous routes definitely are not limited to urban streets and consist of a wide variety of roads—from thoroughfares in major urban hubs such as San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose to semi-rural routes on the Peninsula and in Marin and the Wine Country.

The report found that in the ten years prior to 2008, 195 cyclists have been killed and 1,812 were severely injured while riding on our city’s roadways. That averages out to approximately 15 crashes a month involving a serious injury, and 1 or more fatality per month. This doesn’t even account for the injuries caused to motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. The numbers are based on information from California Highway Patrol.

Clearly, bicycle accidents can be a serious danger for Bay Area residents. The director of UC Berkeley’s Traffic Safety Center theorized that the high number of Bay Area bicycling accidents might be due to “an increase in cyclists on roads with high volume and high speed.” Sean Co, bicycling coordinator for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, also stated that 90% of accidents are caused by human behaviors, which can range from drug and alcohol use and failure to yield to aggressive driving. Being careful and vigilant on the road is very important. When cyclists, motorists, or pedestrians become complacent, it can be a recipe for disaster.

To read more about California’s laws that govern cycling accidents, read our recent post here. The San Francisco personal injury lawyers at Callaway & Wolf have successfully handled many bike accident cases around the Bay Area, including ones in Marin, San Francisco, and Alameda counties. We have the knowledge and experience to handle your case and pride ourselves on acting as dedicated advocates for our clients.