California and the greater Los Angeles area host a lot of avid cyclists. Many municipalities and the state as a whole have begun investing in improved infrastructure and public awareness programs to increase cyclist safety. After all, a large percentage of the serious collisions that occur between cyclists and vehicles are the fault of those in motor vehicles or a reflection of a lack of infrastructure. Motorists may fail to notice a bicycle in traffic and may then engage in unsafe maneuvers that result in a collision.
Cyclists need to be aware of the risks that they face in order to more effectively protect themselves on the road. Unfortunately, some cycling crashes aren’t accidental at all.
Some drivers think they own the road
It is very common for those in motor vehicles to view anyone else legally using the road as an inconvenience. Drivers often behave aggressively or threateningly towards pedestrians and cyclists because they resent the obligation to look for them and to adjust their driving habits for the safety of other people. In some cases, that resentment may actually manifest in intentional collisions.
A teenage driver in the Huntington Beach area may have intentionally targeted cyclists, according to police officers. There were three incidents involving the same minor motorist in a black Toyota in a single day. One of those collisions resulted in the death of a 70-year-old male cyclist. Two other adult cyclists were allegedly injured by the same driver within just a few hours of the fatal incident.
Although cyclists can reduce their risk of certain types of collisions by carefully planning their paths, prioritizing visibility and strictly following California traffic laws, even those who adhere to best practices could still be at risk of a severe or even fatal collision caused by a motorist with a chip on their shoulder.
Drivers who cause crashes may be liable for them
If a motorist causes a collision due to negligence or non-compliance with traffic laws, they will usually have legal and financial liability for the consequences of that crash. Those injured in an accidental collision can file an insurance claim and may occasionally have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Cyclists intentionally targeted by those who resent their presence on the road would also have the option of filing a lawsuit in many cases, as criminal activity targeting specific individuals can also be grounds for civil litigation. The cyclists targeted by drivers or those who lose a loved one due to aggressive driver behavior may be able to take legal action against the motorist who caused the crash.
Recognizing different types of traffic threats may help cyclists in California stay safer on the road and/or take more effective action after a collision occurs.