Under California state law, bicycles have the same right to use the roads as other vehicles. This means that every cyclist must follow the same road rules as motorcycles, cars and other vehicles. It also means that other vehicles should respect cyclists as they respect other types of vehicles.
However, the use of the roads remains extremely dangerous for cyclists, and it is common to hear stories in which a driver’s aggression has resulted in not only serious injury but, in the most unfortunate of cases, the death of a cyclist.
The National Traffic and Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as all behaviors that, constituting multiple traffic violations, pose a continued risk to other drivers, including pedestrians and cyclists. Some examples of aggressive driving include:
- Not respecting the distance between vehicles
- disobeying traffic signs
- not produce
- improper lane change
- verbal attacks and other threats
These aggressive behaviors are especially dangerous for cyclists, who do not have the protection that comes with operating a heavy vehicle. When a bicyclist is hit or killed on the road, they often have little protection, increasing the risk that serious injury or even death can result.
While drivers tend to blame cyclists for any accidents, in most cases, it is possible to show that these incidents were caused by some form of aggression or negligent behavior on the part of the driver of the car. This happens because the bikes are small and the drivers are not paying attention. As a result, the driver may change lanes and not see the bike, which may lead to an accident.
When a cyclist is hit by a vehicle, they usually suffer serious injuries, which can usually include:
- broken bones
- concussion and other traumatic brain injuries
- spinal cord injuries including paralysis