Bike Month Activities for the Whole Family! 

National Bike Month is here and we want to celebrate!  A lot of what we post relates to rules of the road, laws and ordinances, and safety, but today we’re going to talk about all the fun ways to celebrate National Bike Month with bike activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

Plan a Ride with a Local Group

Ever city has cyclist riding groups, sometimes you just have to look for them.  And most of them offer rides for varying degrees of skill.  Some groups post their rides on the website and app Meetup (https://www.meetup.com) where you can find others to ride with for free.  In San Francisco, there is the San Francisco Cycling Club (http://www.sfcyclingclub.org) and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (https://sfbike.org) that frequently post scheduled rides.  You can also talk to the Coalition as they may know other groups with organized rides.  In Paso Robles, there is a list of groups that ride at Cycle Central Coast (https://www.cyclecentralcoast.com/resources) including a group that goes out every Sunday from Templeton and they frequently have beginner rides.  You can also talk to Bike SLO County (https://bikeslocounty.org) to find other organized rides and events. 

Tune Up Your Bike

A lot of riders are “fair weather riders” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If you put your bike away for the winter, and even if you don’t, the spring is a great time to get a tune up on your bike.  You can tune it up yourself if you’ve got experience, or take it into a local bike shop for some help.  In San Francisco and San Luis Obispo, there is the Bike Kitchen (http://bikekitchen.org and https://bikeslocounty.org/programs/kitchen) available on select nights where you can bring your bike in and tune it up alongside other cyclists.  This can be a great bike activity to make new friends and riding buddies. 

Introduce Your Kids to Riding with Others

Many kids have a bike and ride around on their own street but don’t go much further.  This month is a great time to introduce your kids to an organized ride.  Talk to other parents and plan to have adults front, middle, and back of a few kids riding together in a quiet area.  There are bike trails to keep them away from traffic completely, or you can make this a time to learn the rules of the road by finding a route with minimal traffic and wide bike lanes to give them room.  Remember to ride single-file and obey traffic ordinances like red lights and stop signs.  Both the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Bike SLO County organize riding events for kids, so be sure to check their calendars and see if there is an event you’d like to bring your kids to: https://sfbike.org and https://bikeslocounty.org.

Set Up an Obstacle Course

This bike activity can be fun for the whole family or you can arrange it for adults with a few modifications to the difficulty levels.  Break out some sidewalk chalk on a street or set up cones (sometimes you can find small cones at the $5 and under stores or at sporting-goods stores).  You can make it exciting with a few water balloons on the ground you have to ride over to pop or use a pool noodle to create a limbo pole.  You can set up tight curves or even really thin lines to make a sort of on-the-ground balance beam to help work on precision riding. 

Ride to Geocache Locations

Have you ever gone Geocaching?  It can be a lot of fun and even a little bit addictive.  There are even Geocaches in hard-to-reach places like bike trails that normal Geocachers can’t get to, which makes this an excellent activity for cyclists.  What is it, you ask?  It’s a game where you use GPS coordinates (and your phone) to guide you to hidden compartments that contain a log book for you to sign and sometimes an object for you to trade with.  Always bring a pen with you to sign the log book as some compartments are too tiny to hold a pen.  For objects to trade, think small: a friendship bracelet, charm, keychain, or small plastic toy can all be Geocache treasures to trade for what you find in the compartment, if it has something for you to trade with.  Learn more here: https://www.geocaching.com/play.

Ride to Rewards

If Geocaching isn’t your idea of a treasure hunt, think of something worth riding for, like ice cream or a fancy doughnut.  Call up some friends or grab your family and ride to a local boutique with your favorite treat.  Afterall, it’s National Bike Month and that’s something worth celebrating with ice cream! 

Make it a Game

If you’ve got a group of kids, there are lots of great bike activity games out there you can play.  You can play music and all riders must freeze when it stops, or cycle in a line and play copy-cat with the leader of the line.  There are 20 games outlined in this PDF we found: https://www.cyklistforbundet.dk/media/mksfflaz/cykellege_bog_engelsk_4.pdf

Whatever you do, have fun!  We like to think ever month is bike month, but really, May is our National Bike Month and it’s time to get your bike prepped and go out there are ride! 

Training Wheels

I can still remember my first ride on a two-wheeler.  It was a hot, sticky summer day in New York and my brother and I were out in the front yard, my brother tooling around on his Evel Knievel big wheel and me riding in circles on my prized possession-my very first bicycle, a pink number, with training wheels, a sparkly banana seat and rainbow-colored ribbons coming out of the handlebars. For weeks, I had pestered my mom to take the training wheels off of my bike and it was on this summer day she finally capitulated and carefully unscrewed those little wheels. When the deed was done, I took hold of my new and improved bike, swung my leg over the seat and got ready to start racing the big kids on the block up and down our stretch of jutted sidewalk.  Before I could put my feet on the pedals, my mom gently explained that this was like a new bike and I had to learn how to ride without training wheels.  She suggested we practice riding with her holding onto the back of the seat to help me.  I found this to be a ridiculous notion, and tried to tell her that I was big enough to do it by myself and didn’t need any help—that was for babies.  She ignored my protests and wordlessly took hold of the back of my seat and told me I could start pedaling. 

With the first stroke of the pedal, I felt something different than usual in my well-worn bicycle.  It felt wobbly and unsteady.  I wasn’t sure I liked this.  I was used to a smooth, unadulterated ride.  It was then that I started to feel afraid.  Without those two extra little wheels, my world was unbalanced and I would have to learn on my own how to stay upright.  I yelled to my mom that I wanted to stop, that I was going to fall, but my bike kept moving forward, and after a few seconds, the wobbling stopped and I was cruising along the sidewalk. The fear dissipated and all I could think about was how far I could go now.  I yelled back at my mom that she could let go now, but I could no longer hear her behind me, or smell her perfume.  When I realized she had already let go, there was a distinct moment of panic that was overcome by the newfound freedom that comes with navigating your own way.

And it was in that way that  cycling always seemed to mimic the contours and challenges of life from childhood to the transition to adolescence and finally adulthood, and somehow the milestones of my own life transitions are marked by memories of biking.

Long after I outgrew my wonderous banana seat bike, I began to covet my older cousin’s sleek, baby blue Schwinn 10-speed.  By then, we had moved out of the city and into the suburbs on Long Island, with wide, flat, tree-lined streets, nature preserves, a bike route to the beach and of course, shopping malls.  As a pre-teen (what we call “tweens” now), oh how I thought a 10-speed would change my life.  With it I could travel great distances far and wide on this island we lived on, no more begging rides from my mom or failing that, the dreaded slow pace of walking to get to where I needed to go.  And then one day, the unthinkable happened.  My cousin came over to our house, gliding into the driveway, already swinging one leg off the bike of my dreams before it had come to a stop. She gave the kickstand a whack, so I could get the full view of the bike standing tall in all its splendor.  She told me the bike was mine if I wanted it. Mind-blown, I couldn’t even stammer out a proper thank you before I climbed up on it and asked if I could take it for a spin.  She started to explain to me how the brakes were different than on my bike—they were on the handlebars! And that this bike had gears.  So much information, much of which was important, I would later learn, but I waved her off.  I know, I know.  I can do it myself.  And with that I pedaled out of the driveway and down the street.  I tried to remember how my cousin would hunch down low over the handlebars, gripping the curved bars, with fingers fluttering over the brakes, just in case.  I adjusted my position, into something that seemed like what I had seen, and gave the brakes a little tap to make sure they worked, and then pedaled flat-out. The speed at which I travelled seemed faster than a car and it was glorious.  This was the bike that I would ride with my friends down to the mall, to the beach, to school, to wherever we could go that was away from our parents to our own world. This was the bike that ushered me into my teenage years and allowed me the freedom to explore. I loved the simplicity of this freedom.  Just grab your bike and go out into the world—no plans, no responsibilities, no limits on what you could do.

Many years later, after I moved to San Francisco and became a lawyer, I was bike-less and living in a concrete world, with hills like mountains and traffic that was unrelenting.  It didn’t particularly seem like a hospitable place for riding but I saw bikes all over.  When I decided to buy a new bike, I was certain that I would ride only within the safety of car-free trails, too afraid of the traffic congestion, but once I got on my new bike, (and put on a helmet, of course) it was like being transported to childhood—a few minutes of riding released my worries and made me feel free from the heaviness of my day-to-day obligations.  I slowly started venturing out on short rides close to home, and then farther, plotting out my routes to take advantage of the growing number of bike lanes, and minimizing my interactions with the dreaded MUNI busses.  It was a different kind of riding, one that was less care-free, but  energizing, nonetheless.   It was then that I got involved with the local bike coalitions, and began representing cyclists injured by drivers.  The work felt important, as each case made small changes to the way the driving world viewed cyclists and the ways in which cities decided to prioritize traffic.  20 years after my first bike ride through San Francisco, the cycling infrastructure there is a pure amazement, connected bike routes, segregated bike lanes, and people ditching their cars for bike-only living. 

After moving to Paso Robles, I had to readjust my riding once again.  Riding through the rural areas of North County is serene, with horses, cows and farms replacing honking horns, truck exhausts, and angry bus drivers.  I still get surprised when a grape harvester passes me by or when I have to slow down for my neighbor riding her horse in front of me.  It reminds me of the peacefulness of my teenage riding days on Long Island.  In town, here and there, I see the glimmers of bike advocacy creating change in the form of bike lanes, and marked share lanes, but we have a long way to go before catching up to the work that has been done in San Luis Obispo, with the help of Bike SLO County.  I’m looking forward to someday being able to bike to my office in downtown Paso through a secure, connected network of bike lanes.

What is Negligence in Cycling Injury Cases?

If you can believe it, one of our team members was behind a car getting on the freeway when one of the rear tires flew off of the car, narrowly missing another vehicle and causing a lot of mayhem on the onramp.  Someone failed to put the tire back on the vehicle with proper care.  This is negligence.  And negligence is often a point of dispute in cycling injury cases. 

What is Negligence?

Negligence is a term you may have not heard before if you haven’t been involved in a legal dispute.  In California, negligence is defined as “the failure to use reasonable care to prevent harm to oneself or to others.  A person can be negligent by acting or by failing to act,” (CACI No. 401).  This means when someone fails to take proper or reasonable care in doing something or doesn’t take steps or precautions necessary to proceed safely, and this failure to act or negligent act injures someone, the injured party can recover monetary damages from the negligent party.

What’s Considered Reasonable Care?

The argument for what’s “reasonable” as a step or procedure is often debated.  “A person is negligent if that person does something that a reasonably careful person would not do in the same situation or fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation” (CACI No. 401).  A “reasonable person” is also sometimes referred to a prudent or rational person.  Often violating a California law, such as laws applying to drivers and cyclists found in the Vehicle Code is determined to be negligence.

What is Negligence in Cycling Injury Cases?

When cyclists are struck by cars, the most common types of a driver’s negligent behavior include distracted driving, like texting while driving, driving too fast for the surrounding conditions, and failing to obey traffic signs and signals. 

A company, like bicycle manufacturer or bicycle repair shop, can also be found negligent if their product or repair is unsafe. We handle a lot of cycling injury cases as personal injury lawyers, but we also represent cyclists in product liability cases.  If you were cycling and a weld suddenly broke loose on your bicycle causing an accident, the question would arise if there was any negligence on the part of the manufacturer or repair shop. 

Insurance Companies Fight Liability to Avoid Paying Compensation

Remember that in all legal cases, gathering the evidence to establish another party’s negligence and liability can be a complicated process.  Insurance companies fight very hard to try and show the injured person was negligent, not their driver.  Things may not always be black and white, which is why it is so important to hire a cycling injury lawyer as soon as possible.  We’re here to help fight for your rights and we bring years of experience in handling cycling injury cases, plus… we ride, too!  We know what it’s like to cyclists out there.  If you have been injured or had property damage to your bicycle, give us a call; consultations are free.  You may also contact us online here.

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What you Need to Know About California Assembly Bill from a Bicycle Accident Lawyer’s Perspective

California Assembly Bill Number 122 was introduced in December of 2020 but has undergone some amendments in March and May of 2021, as is typical in the lifecycle of an Assembly Bill.  Here’s what you need to know about Assembly Bill 122 to limit bicycle accidents from a bicycle accident lawyer’s perspective. 

First, it’s important to know that more than a dozen bicycle advocacy organizations support the Bill across the state of California, including MCBC (Marin County Bicycle Coalition, an organization focused on bicycle safety which we support).  Also, other states already have similar vehicle codes in place, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, Arkansas, and Delaware, which means AB 122 is not a new concept. 

What does AB 122 Change?

If passed, California Assembly Bill Number 122 would change the vehicle code in California to allow bicyclists to treat Stop signs as they would a Yield sign.  This increases bicycle rider safety and decreases bicycle accidents, which has been demonstrated in studies in Idaho (who was first to create the stop-as-yield law) and Delaware.  In 2008, an investigation was conducted locally by the San Francisco Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which has added to the data on this subject.  In 2009, a study of Idaho conducted by J. Meggs at UC Berkeley showed a decrease of 14.5% in bicyclist injuries after the passage of the new law. 

As bicycle accident lawyers, we support new systems which reduce the rate of bicyclist injuries. 

What does AB 122 Not Change?

California Assembly Bill Number 122 is not a free license to blow through stop signs all the time or every time.  Bicyclists will still obey red traffic lights and treat them as a full stop.  Bicyclists will also still give the right-of-way to pedestrians who always have the right of way.  And bicyclists will continue to stop at stop signs when there is traffic with the right-of-way.

Intersections are Dangerous for Cyclists

While according to the NHTSA, most bicyclist fatalities occur away from intersections in 45- and 55-mph zones, most bicyclist injuries occur in 25-mph zones where intersections and stop signs are most prevalent.  Bicycle accidents do often happen at intersections and the UC Berkley study calls intersections the “most dangerous zone” for bicyclists.  Reducing injury rates by 14.5 % would be a great step in the right direction. 

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Beat the Heat with these Summer Safety Tips

summer cyclist safety tips in paso robles and san francisco personal injury lawyers

Summer is here and with the extra hours of sunshine comes the heat!  In San Francisco, a “hot” day might be in the 80s, but this year it’s already been hotter than usual and at our Paso Robles office and in other scenic riding locations on the Central Coast, temperatures can easily surpass 100 degrees.  If you plan to go out in the heat for cycling or other activities, read on for some of our favorite tips to combat the hot weather.

Hydrate

Hydration always sounds like an obvious first step in the heat, but it isn’t just about hydrating during your summer activities, you’ll want to hydrate before and after, too.  The CDC and Cal/OSHA recommend 1 cup of water for every 15 minutes of physical activity in the heat and consuming electrolytes (sports drinks/fruit juice) before and after to replenish the salt we use for sweating.  They also warn that alcohol can reduce the body’s ability to regulate temperatures and should be avoided before your planned cycling day or any other activity in the heat.  And just a reminder, CA Vehicle Code 21200.5 does not provide a specific blood-alcohol threshold to be considered riding a bicycle under the influence, but cycling impaired is unlawful and a violation fine can be up to $250.

Keep Your Core Cool

There are a variety of products out there to help keep your core temperature down in hot weather like specialty towels and jerseys.  For motorcyclists, there are suits and jackets with mesh ventilation flaps.  But there are also some very easy ways to keep your core cool without needing a gear upgrade.  A favorite of many cyclists is freezing your water bottle when half full to create an ice block.  A fun alternative from wine country is to freeze grapes and use them as ice cubes; they’ll cool your water and provide a tasty snack later.  Want more?  Here’s a DIY tutorial on how to make your own neck cooler here.

Watch for Signs of Heat Stroke

While you may have taken all of the steps to beat the heat, others with you may not have properly prepared.  Symptoms of over-heating include headache, nausea, dizziness, and weakness.  At the point of heat exhaustion, the affected person may sweat more profusely than usual and have a rapid pulse.  If heat exhaustion goes untreated, the person may stop sweating altogether and/or become confused; the warning signs of heat stroke, a serious medical condition.  If you believe someone is in danger of over-heating, get them into a cool area immediately.  If there are concerns of heat stroke, call 911.  For more information, visit the CDC’s website here.

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Add Rahman Law to Your Phone Contacts

No one ever expects to be involved in a collision.  If you plan to be out cycling, riding a motorcycle, or driving this summer, be sure to add us to your contacts in your phone.  That way, you can call us immediately if you ever need us.  We also have free toolkits and guidebooks on our website here.  Have a great summer!

Rahman Law PC

Bicycle Safety: How the Speed Limit Factors into Cyclist Fatalities

bicycle safety, cyclist fatalities

In previous blogs, we’ve talked about the demographics shown as most likely to be involved in a fatal bicycle accident and how speeding contributes to traffic collision deaths.  But while it might seem like common knowledge that the speed limit will also factor into cyclist fatalities (faster speeds usually means more powerful impact/injury), the specifics of how the speed limit relates to the outcome of a bicycle accident are not often discussed.  And the results may surprise you.

Rural and Urban Jungles for Cyclists

Before we talk about numbers, it’s important to know that there are differences between riding in urban and rural areas when talking about bicycle safety.  Urban areas see 60%-71% of bicyclist fatalities across the nation and California is still in the top three states for cyclist fatalities.  California’s ranking for cyclists fatalities might have something to do with having the largest population of any state and 87% of those nearly 40-million people living in urban areas (Stanford).  

Then speed limit where most bicycle fatalities occur in rural areas is 55 mph. 

This speed is the zone with the second most bicyclist fatalities overall; however, for urban riders, 55 mph is only the sixth-ranked speed zone for fatalities.  The approximately 29% of total rural cycling crashes with fatalities occurring in a 55 mph zone is significant.

The speed limit where most bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas is 45 mph followed closely by 35 mph.

Because most bicyclist fatalities occur in urban areas, the data gathered shows urban cyclist collision fatalities can occur in most speed zones from 25 mph to 75 mph with the majority falling between 35 mph and 45 mph.  Interestingly, the same speed zones show the most urban pedestrian fatalities, too. 

bicycle safety, cyclist fatalities

Speed Limits Are Different Than Speeding

The information we just presented comes from speed limits, not speed travelled.  Reports vary on the percentage of bicyclist fatalities resulting directly from speeding because being the leading cause is different than being one of several causes and can be difficult to separate.  A 2010-2015 report found only 8.6% of bicyclist fatalities resulted directly from speeding (NHTSA, FARS, & ARF).  But don’t think speeding isn’t a problem – in San Francisco, speeding is the leading cause of traffic collision deaths (SFPD 2010-2014) and is a leading contributor to traffic collision fatalities nationwide. 

This report also found most fatalities for cyclists were occurring in non-intersections.  This makes sense when the speed limit with the most fatalities for riders in urban and rural locations combined is 45 mph followed by 55 mph; these speed zones will have fewer intersections and crosswalks than zones with lower speeds. 

bicycle safety, pedestrian injury, cyclist injury

Bicycle Safety Starts With Awareness

Knowing what factors can lead to or increase the chances of a cyclist fatality can help riders and drivers be more aware of their surroundings.  The bicycle accident attorneys at Rahman Law support Vision Zero for San Francisco and we look forward to the day when no cyclist or pedestrian will become a fatality statistic. 

Bicycle Safety: How the Speed Limit Factors into Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries

Most cyclist fatalities in urban and rural areas occur in 45 mph zones (link to other blog on fatalities); however, the likelihood of sustaining a survivable injury as a pedestrian or cyclist in a 45 mph zone is not the same. 

What is the same is the speed limit where the most injuries occur: 25 mph.

Part of the reason most injuries occur for cyclists and pedestrians in 25 mph zones is the survivability factor.  The likelihood of sustaining a serious or fatal injury in a collision with a vehicle as a pedestrian or cyclist goes up dramatically from 18% at 20 mph to 77% at 40 mph (AAA Foundation).  Another reason for more cyclist and pedestrian injuries at lower speeds is the increased exposure as there are likely going to be more pedestrians in a 25 mph zone than a 75 mph zone.  

The speed limits where the most cyclist and pedestrian injuries occur according to the NHTSA are 25 mph, 35 mph, and 30 mph (in that order).  This data is combined for urban and rural areas.  Keep in mind that the data for injuries comes from serious injuries which are reported.  There may be more injuries occurring than what are reported and would likely be in lower speed zones because of the lack for the need of medical care.

bicycle safety, pedestrian injury, cyclist injury
bicycle safety, pedestrian injury, cyclist injury

Speeding is Also Responsible for Cyclist and Pedestrian Injuries

The information gathered by the NHTSA, NCSA, FARS, and ARF between 2010 and 2015 relied on speed limits to assume speed for much of their data.  Speeding (going over the speed limit) factors into approximately 30% of all motor vehicle fatalities in the United States and is the leading cause of about 8% of pedestrian fatalities.  The most common speed limit zone for pedestrian and cyclist fatalities to occur as a result of speeding is 35 mph.  Specifics on the number of cyclist and pedestrian injuries that were a direct result of speeding was not published; however, 35 mph is the zone with the second-most injuries for both pedestrians and bicyclists, making it likely that there are a portion of injuries occurring as a direct result of speeding.  The unfortunate reality is that speed kills.

Pedestrian Safety

The California Legislature enacted the Pedestrian Safety Act in 2000 which includes new requirements for driver education on pedestrian safety among other items.  California Vehicle Code sections 21950-21954 provide legal measures for pedestrian safety and protection, including that drivers have a higher duty of care than pedestrians.  And in San Francisco, pedestrian safety is going even further with Vision Zero to bring the number of pedestrian injuries and fatalities to zero.  These measures are looking to increase pedestrian safety through more awareness and enforcement in California, including speed-related pedestrian safety issues.

Winter Cycling Safety Tips

winter cycling in San Francisco As bicycle accident attorneys in San Francisco and Paso Robles, we talk to a lot of cyclists and we ride, too, so we know all too well that the short days of winter won’t stop you from riding.  Many of us ride because we absolutely love it and don’t consider it a seasonal hobby.  Others ride as a means to get to work and need to ride year-round.   However, in the winter months there are some extra precautions cyclists need to take.

Let’s start with the basics; the five most common types of collisions between bicyclists and motor vehicles are:

  • A vehicle making a right turn across the cyclist’s lane of travel
  • A vehicle turning left at an intersection
  • Dooring
  • The failure of a motorist to stop at a red light or Stop sign
  • A vehicle or cyclist passing on the right

This bit of knowledge can help you be more aware in those environments and situations year-round.  In the winter, people may be trying to get in and out of their vehicles faster due to cold weather and rain increasing the chances of a dooring.  A cyclist is permitted to ride in the travel lane without going at the speed of traffic to avoid a hazard (CVC 21650; San Francisco Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12).  Signal and move over if you need to avoid a door that might open.

Here are Some Winter Riding Hazards and Our Winter Cycling Safety Tips:

Cycling When It’s Wet

California may not get a lot of rain, but it will eventually rain and that rain can flush debris into your bike lane including piles of slippery, wet leaves.  Rain can also hide potholes underneath less conspicuous puddles.

Our winter cycling safety tip – Riding through a puddle is essentially riding into the unknown, so it is safer to avoid them.

Also, road surfaces can be the most dangerous just after the first rain in a while or after rain has just started because oil begins to surface.  A rainbow-y sheen on a road can signal the dangers of an oil spot.  These are most commonly found at intersections.  Slick patches in the road can make it difficult to stop and/or turn.

Our winter cycling safety tip – Treat intersections with extra respect in the winter as they are already dangerous places for cyclists but the added element of oil can compound the problem.  Treat patches with a rainbow sheen as a road hazard.

Remember what we said about avoiding doors – the same rules apply to any hazard in the bicycle lane and you may use the travel lane to avoid them.  Remember to signal as the vehicle traffic may not expect you to come over if you see the hazard before they do.

Cycling In the Dark

We can’t say this enough: as riders it is important to be seen.  The lights and reflectors required by California law are a great start, but more is better in this case.  Fluorescent clothing can aid visibility during the day, but it’s lights and reflectors that make the biggest impact on your visibility at night.

Our winter cycling safety tip – Add reflective tape to your helmet, put lights in your wheel spokes, and/or wear a jacket with reflectors to boost your ability to be seen in the dark by others.

Some riders like to switch to yellow lenses in the winter to help them with glare.  After you’ve outfitted yourself to be seen by others, make sure you can see them clearly, too.

Our winter cycling safety tip – If your usual riding glasses have a dark tint, explore other anti-glare options more appropriate for cloudy days; these might be clear, yellow, or even pink.

When riding at night in California, the following items are required:

  • Forward-Facing Bike Light: A white headlight is required. The light both makes you visible to others and illuminates your path.  It needs to be visible from at least 300 feet forward.  It may be attached to the bicycle or the rider. CVC 21201(d) & CVC 21201(e)
  • Rear-Facing Reflector or Light: A red reflector at the back is the minimum requirement, but a solid or flashing red bike light with a built-in reflector visible from 500 feet is also allowed. CVC 21201(d)
  • Side-Facing Reflectors: White or yellow reflectors are required to be visible on each side of the bicycle in three locations (forward, center, and rear), but there are multiple ways to meet this requirement. Side-facing central reflectors can be on the bicycle pedals, or on the shoes or ankles of the rider.  There should be additional reflectors forward and rear of the central reflectors on each side of the bike like on the spokes, reflective tire sidewalls, or on the frame of the bicycle.  CVC 21201(d)

If you would like more rules of the road for California, download our free Cyclist’s Quick Reference Guide here.

Winter Bike Checkup

Fixing ANY tire in the cold and wet is no fun.  Add dark into that mix and, well… it gets complicated.  Do yourself a favor and give your bike a winter checkup (even if you don’t ride a lot during the winter, seasonal checkups are a good rule of thumb for everyone).  You’ll want to do everything you can to give yourself the ability to stop quickly when needed and avoid stopping for a fix in the rain.

Our winter cycling safety tip – Check your air, replace aged tubes, upgrade your chain lube or reapply it, and even fit your bike with a set of new brake pads before you go out into the winter weather.

Have Us On Speed-Dial

Our final winter cycling safety tip for this article – keep us saved in your phone.  Save our contact information into your phone now so that in the event anything happens, you won’t have to  look very long to find help.  Our consultations are free.  We also have a free guide available on what to do in a vehicle accident available here.

Rahman Law’s Contact Information:

Contact us in our San Francisco office at 415.956.9245 or in our Paso Robles office at 805.619.3108

San Francisco’s Unacceptable Number of Bicyclist Deaths in 2018

The vision we share with many is that no pedestrian or bicyclist will be fatally injured by a vehicle in San Francisco – ever.  The City of San Francisco is behind Vision Zero with a mandate to bring traffic deaths to zero by 2024.  This year has been looking on track at reducing pedestrian fatalities, but we have reversed our progress for bicyclists and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has already said it is unacceptable.  As bicycle accident attorneys, we agree.  On Thursday, September 13th 2018, the fourth bicyclist this year was fatally injured by a vehicle in San Francisco.

To put this number into perspective, since 2009, the two times San Francisco has seen as many bicyclist fatalities were in years with over 30 total traffic fatalities: 2013 and 2015*.  2013 in particular was the year with the most overall traffic fatalities since 2010.  It’s only September and we have already reached this unfortunate target.  Based on traffic collision statistics, it is impossible to say that there won’t be another bicyclist fatality in San Francisco this year.  Data is still being compiled for this year, but last year was a record breaking year with low numbers and this year had been low as well.  Unfortunately, it is turning out to be unacceptably high for bicyclist accidents and fatalities, especially compared to the ratio of overall traffic fatalities for 2018:

san francisco bicycle fatalities 2018

Why Are Bicycle Accidents on The Rise in San Francisco?

The increase in injuries and fatalities is on the rise in the state by some data.  It is harder to be certain when looking at data for 2018 as so much of it is still being aggregated.  The Govenors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) which reviews road safety in all states found that in 2016 and 2017 pedestrians are now the largest proportion of traffic fatalities nationwide than they have been in 33 years.  More people outside of cars are dying; it is on the rise as a nation and as a state.  Year after year California fluctuates at the top of the nation for the state with the highest number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed each year in traffic collisions.  Usually, we’re first in total number of deaths, but sometimes we’re second.  This means what San Francisco is trying to do with Vison Zero goes against the majority of the nation, state, and metro-area statistics.  It will take education, engineering, and enforcement, but as bicycle accident attorneys and advocates for safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists, we believe it is possible.

The most recent incident occurred outside of a Vision Zero high-injury corridor on the 1600 block on Howard Street near South Van Ness and 12th Streets (Hoodline).  The cyclist was on his way to a bicycling rally to advocate for more protected bike lanes (SF Examiner).  Studies have been showing bicyclists feel safer in these protected lanes and they are a part of Vision Zero.   The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is calling for quick action and asks that San Francisco do a better job to prevent more loss in their press release following this terrible tragedy.

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition calls for quick action

 

What Can You Do To Prevent The Next Traffic Fatality?

  1. Don’t touch your phone! Not for a call, text, or map.  Never drive distracted.  In 2015, 10% of traffic fatalities resulted from distracted driving (NHTSA).  This is easy for you to avoid.
  2. Never drive impaired by alcohol, drugs, or medications. Drivers who were impaired by drugs or alcohol in collisions resulting in a fatality has been dramatically increasing!  In 2015 it was up to 42.6% (NHTSA).  And the worst time for this is during the holidays… which is coming up.
  3. Slow down. To put it simply: speed kills.  Approximately 31% of traffic fatalities are a result of speeding as the main factor (NHTSA).  And experts believe the increase in fatalities is due to more people speeding… Are you really in that big of a hurry?

 

Rahman Law PC is dedicated to making San Francisco’s streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists because we walk and ride these streets, too!  As bicycle accident attorneys we regularly attend events and advocate for pedestrian and bicyclist rights.  Four deaths in one year is a setback in the progress everyone has been working so hard for, but we will not give up.  Even one death is one too many.

*Data from Vision Zero SF.  Some data is still under investigation.

 

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5 Rules Every Parent Should Know Before Letting Your Child Ride Their Bike in San Francisco

San Francisco bicycle accident attorneySchool is back in session and just like you, your child is a commuter.  You may drive your child to school and give them a quick tuck-and-roll drop-off, or they may ride the bus, but some still pedal their way among the throngs of cars, pedestrians, and other cyclists.  Or, you may have children who only cycle at home afterschool and on weekends.  In either case, we wanted to share with you 5 rules every parent should know when letting their child ride their bike in San Francisco.  Children under 14 accounted for 37% of all fatal bicycle accidents in 2015 and San Francisco is still in the top 13 cities in the entire United States for bicycle fatalities with motor vehicle collisions.  It is important for parents to be vigilant.

1: Urban Cycling Ends at 6:00pm

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis looks hard at fatal bicycle accidents and tries to find patterns.  One that they have found to be consistently true is the spike in bicycle accidents resulting in fatalities between 6:00pm and 9:00pm during any season. If your child has extracurricular activities keeping them out, make sure they are home with their bicycle before 6:00pm.  If they have come home and gone out for a ride, the same rule applies.

2: Ride with Traffic

Ride in the same direction as traffic in the bike lane.  Use the travel lane (the vehicle lane) when needed to avoid obstacles and always signal your actions with your hands to tell the drivers and other cyclists what you are doing.  Children under the age of 13 may ride on the sidewalk in San Francisco (CVC 21560, San Francisco Transportation Code Sec. 7.2.12).

3: Always Wear an Approved Helmet

Cyclists and passengers under the age of 18 must wear an approved helmet.  Parents – set a good example, be safe, and wear one, too!  Also be sure the helmet is properly fitted.  Many children will wear their helmet too far back away from the brow.  In addition to a helmet, adding extra reflective gear is beneficial.  Elastic straps that go around the ankles with hook-and-eye closures can catch headlights and give extra visibility.

4: No Surround Sound

Headphones may not be in/cover both ears (CVC 27400).  Many children like to listen to music while commuting, but they may not have both ears covered while operating a bicycle.  A hands-free device is permitted in one ear, but this may cause further distractions if a child tries to answer a phone call while navigating an urban area.

5: Obey the Lights and Signs

Children who have not yet learned to drive often don’t know to stop or yield in the right locations for signs and crosswalks which can potentially lead to bicycle accidents or collisions.  When on a bike, operators must obey the same rules as a car, which means they must stop at a stop sign and wait their turn.  If your child is commuting on their bicycle, consider riding their route with them a few times to help explain the lights and signs to them.  DMV booklets contain road rules and can be picked up free of charge.

 

Talk to Your Child to Prevent a Bicycle Accident

These are 5 rules we think every parent should know before letting their child ride their bike in San Francisco.  In California, the law regarding riding on the sidewalk varies from city to city, but the other rules are beneficial for adults who ride and parents with children who ride throughout California.  As bicycle accident attorneys in San Francisco with a second office in Paso Robles, we talk to a lot of parents with concerns after an accident or a close-call who are looking for what they can do to prevent a bicycle accident.  In the urban landscape of San Francisco, children need extra help learning about bicycle safety and constant reminders to ride safe.  We hope these 5 rules will help you talk to your child about bicycle safety.

If you would like more information about the rules in California, you may download our Ride Safe Reference Guide here.  It has these and other rules of the road for bicycle safety in California.  And if you would like to talk to one of our bicycle accident attorneys in San Francisco or Paso Robles, contact us for a free consultation today!

 

Resources for Parents about Bicycling with Kids:

Kidical Mass

Safe Routes to School

Walk & Roll to School Day

http://www.saferoutesinfo.org/