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Get the basics on bicycle accidents in Fullerton

Bicycling in Fullerton is a common activity. It is fun, cost efficient and healthy. Both bicyclists and motorists have the right to share the road, but they also both have the responsibility to operate their vehicles with due care and follow traffic laws. Therefore, when a collision between a bicyclist and motorist occurs, there are two general questions that must be asked: was the motorist negligent and was there contributory negligence on the part of the bicyclist?

First of all, was the motorist negligent in causing the collision that lead to the bicyclist's injuries? There are many ways negligence can manifest. Some common examples of negligent behaviors include driving above the posted speed limit, ignoring traffic signals and road signs or even drifting over into the lanes reserved for bicyclists. In general, to establish negligence it must be shown that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, which was breached, and which actually and proximately caused the accident that led to the bicyclist's damages. Sometimes, such as if the motorist violated a traffic law, this action constitutes "negligence per se." This means that the evidence of the motorist's traffic infraction constitutes evidence of negligence, meaning that it is now the motorist's burden to show that he or she did not cause the bicyclist's damages.

Second of all, was there any contributory negligence on the part of the bicyclist in the crash? Sometimes a bicyclist's actions play a role in the accident. Perhaps they ran a red light or rode the wrong way down the street. In situations like this, in most states it may still be possible for the bicyclist to pursue compensation, but how much the bicyclist can be awarded in such situations depends on state law.

Bicycling can be a fun activity, but it does have its risks. Unfortunately, no matter how safe a bicyclist is, there are still negligent drivers out there causing bicycle accidents. Therefore, it is important for bicyclists to understand what their legal rights are, including whether or not they can pursue compensation for the damages they suffered in the crash.

Source: FindLaw, "Bicycle Accidents," accessed Sept. 26, 2016

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