Cyclists on the roads of California will soon be protected by the new California Vehicle Code. As of September 16, 2014, all motor vehicles will be required to maintain a minimum of a three foot space between themselves and cyclists. On roads that are narrow motorists will be required to slow down and wait to ensure that there is no danger present prior to passing a cyclist moving in the same direction. The California Vehicle Code also takes things like roadway conditions and weather into consideration when considering who, if anyone, is at fault in the event of an accident.
While the portion of this new ordinance covering narrow roads is a bit discretionary, this is a big step in the right direction for cyclists’ safety. Well over a third of all accidents involving motor vehicles and cyclists occur where the cyclist is rear ended in a passing situation – this is the most dangerous type of accident for the cyclists (and most likely to be fatal) so any measures taken to reduce the risk when it comes to sharing the road should be considered a victory for cyclists everywhere.
The California Vehicle Code carries a first offense fine of $35.00 and steeper penalties for subsequent offenses or if a collision results due to a driver’s failure to follow the spacing and judgment requirements. Biking has become a very popular mode of transportation in California and, as an affordable and healthy alternative to driving this mode of transportation continues to pick up steam. Up until now the laws for protecting the cyclists who shared roadways with motor vehicles seemed to be lagging a bit behind and while this new code might not represent the ultimate solution it should certainly keep both cyclists and drivers safer.
While the $220.00 fine set in place for collision resulting from not following the new California Vehicle Code might not seem like a monumental deterrent it is important to note that a collision would very likely carry other offenses and punishments as well. Failure to adhere to the California Vehicle Code could easily be coupled with offenses like reckless driving, reckless endangerment or vehicular manslaughter in the event of an accident. On the other side of the equation – as the law has some discretionary language, it might not fully protect the cyclist in every instance. If you have been involved in an accident, as the driver of a motor vehicle who was adhering to the California Vehicle Code or as the victim of a negligent driver, you should reach out to an experienced California attorney to discuss your situation and determine the best course of action.
Axis Legal Counsel represents victims of numerous types of personal injury accidents and injuries, including car or auto/vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, trucks accidents, boating accidents, brain injuries, burn injuries, school bus accidents, dog bite injuries, parasailing accidents, premises liability, slip-and-falls, products liability, slip and fall accidents, trip and fall injuries, catastrophic injuries, wrongful death, gym/exercise accidents, and other personal injury accidents. Axishandles personal injury accidents that have resulted in head injuries, traumatic concussions, fractures, facial fractures, facial trauma, and traumatic brain injuries. Axis’s managing attorney, Rabeh M. A. Soofi is recognized as a “Top Women Lawyer of Southern California” by SuperLawyers, and is a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who represents victims of accident and injuries in numerous kinds of disputes.
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