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New bicycle safety law takes effect in California

Motorists required to yield three feet when passing cyclists.

San Francisco is one of the most popular cities in the country for bicyclists. According to Bicycling Magazine, the city is currently ranked seventh on its “Best Cities to Bike” list. The ratings are determined based a host of factors, including the number of dedicated bike lanes and number of riders within the city.

While San Francisco has made a commitment to safety, bicycle accidents still happen regularly across the state. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reports that there were 153 cyclists killed in 2012, the most recent statistics provided.

To help reduce the number of these crashes, a new law has recently gone into effect that requires motorists to give cyclists three feet of space when they are passing. In the past, drivers were required to pass at a safe distance, but this earlier law did not specify what exactly this meant. Motorists, especially those in regions where cycling is not as common, would have difficulty knowing what they needed to do to effectively share the road with cyclists.

Drivers caught violating this law face an initial fine of $35. While this may not seem like a deterrent, by the time other court costs are included, the fine could be well over $200. If a motorist gets into an accident with a cyclist, the fine could be increased to nearly $1,000. Officers state that they will be closely watching drivers to ensure that they are taking the proper steps when passing cyclists. State officials and the CHP plan extensive campaigns to inform Californians of the measures they can take to improve safety for everyone using the roadways.

The injuries that result from cycling accidents may lead to extremely lengthy recovery times. Even after all medical treatment has been administered, individuals may still need to undergo rehabilitation in order to address long-term health concerns.

If you have been injured in a bicycling accident, you should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney can review the types of compensation that may be available to you, and help you learn more about the options that you have when deciding how you wish to proceed.

You might find yourself out of work while recovering from your injuries, but it is important that you do not resolve your case too quickly. Once you settle your claims, you will be prevented from seeking additional compensation from those parties if your injuries prove to be more severe than originally diagnosed.

Keywords: bicycle accident, personal injury