How California Bike Buffer Zones Protect Cyclists from Deadly Bicycle Accidents
It was back in 2012 when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed some disturbing statistics about bicycle accidents: That year, 726 bike riders were killed and another 49,000 injured in incidents involving motorized vehicles. In response to these numbers, California lawmakers passed the Three Feet for Safety Act – a law that establishes certain requirements for bike “buffer zones.” By increasing the distance between automobiles and bicycles, it is possible to decrease the number of fatalities and injuries to cyclists.
Several years later, bike buffer zones have reduced the number of collisions, so you should become familiar with the laws and how they work. This initiative will not completely eliminate incidents, so you should contact an Oakland bicycle accident attorney if you were hurt in a crash. An overview on bike buffer zones may also be helpful.
How Bicycle Buffer Zones Protect Riders: The term “buffer” refers to the space around the bicycle rider and designated bike lane, if one is present. In some areas, the bicycle buffer zone may be marked with painted strips or other images; the California statute provides that, in the absence of markings, drivers must keep a three-foot distance from bicycle riders when passing.
Researchers report that buffered bicycle zones are more effective than simply making the designated bike lane wider because the space is not directly adjacent to moving traffic. Plus, the zone reduces the potential for cyclists to “get doored” by the driver of a parked car exiting the vehicle.
Motorists’ Duties Under California Law: California’s Three Feet for Safety law includes enforcement provisions that impose sanctions upon drivers who do not comply with the buffer zone factors. If they fail to allow at least three feet when overtaking a bike rider, police may issue a ticket ranging from $35 to $100 for a first-time offense. A second and subsequent offenses could mean a fine up to $250, and there are additional consequences if a violation of the law causes a bicycle accident.
Safety Tips to Avoid Bicycle Accidents: Bicyclists should note that they also have responsibilities related to the buffer zones. You should always ride well within a designated bike lane and/or as far away from the zone as possible; never travel within the bike buffer zone unless you are making a maneuver to pass through it, such as to make a turn. Additional tips, besides the obvious recommendation to wear a helmet, include:
- Only ride a bike that is in proper functioning condition and fits your size;
- Wear clothing that is brightly colored or features reflective fabric;
- Carry belongings in a pack that allows even weight distribution; and,
- Never ride in a skirt or sandals.
Reach Out to an Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyer About Your Options
Bike buffer zones are a good start with respect to reducing the frequency of bicycle accidents, but riders will always be at risk of serious injuries when they share the road with negligent motorists. If you were injured or lost a loved one, please contact the Oakland bicycle accident attorneys at Venardi Zurada, LLP to schedule a no-cost case evaluation at our offices.
You can be confident in relying on our zealous and effective Oakland personal injury lawyers:
We have served Northern California for over 35 years.
Our attorneys have been honored with numerous accolades, including SuperLawyers, AV Rating, and Top 100 Trial Attorney Awards.
In our decades of legal service to the community, we have garnered a substantial reputation. We are respected by opposing counsel, feared by insurance companies, and followed by jurors.
We combine Big Firm experience with boutique office attention and care. Several of our attorneys have experience working for the biggest law firms in the country, including the most prominent maritime defense law firm. Our attorneys rely on that big-firm know-how but prefer the personal touch of a smaller firm, allowing us to provide individualized and attentive representation to each of our clients.
We’ve been through it, too. Attorney Mark Venardi had to personally deal with a medical malpractice injury he suffered at a time when he was working a blue-collar job on an offshore oil rig; he knows what it’s like to be a working man dealing with a personal injury. He built his way up to working for the biggest maritime defense firm in the country, before deciding to focus on helping people like himself who were hurt by negligence and mistreatment from others.
We like to fight for the underdog. Attorney Martin Zurada is an immigrant and the son of immigrants who tirelessly worked his way up through education and experience to attain the American dream. Even though he has served in large, high-level litigation law firms, he prefers helping clients directly, fighting against injustices, and securing victories for the little guy who has been wronged.
We win. We have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. In our combined tenure, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients across our broad areas of practice.
We care first and foremost about our clients. We dedicate ourselves to serve each and every client personally, and we make ourselves available to our clients around the clock.
There is no cost to you until we win. If we don’t make a recovery for you, we will not collect a fee. And all initial consultations are free of charge.
Dedicated Areas of Practice
We offer a wide range of litigation services for Oakland personal injury and employment law clients. Specifically, our areas of dedicated practice span the following issues:
Employment Law. California employers must assure proper pay to employees and comply with a variety of rules and regulations to prevent discrimination and unfair treatment of employees. We represent victims of wage and hour violations, employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and any other form of California workplace mistreatment. If you believe you were treated inappropriately at work, we can help.
Personal Injury. If you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation. That’s where we come in. As Oakland personal injury attorneys, we right the wrongs done to our clients. And we do it at our cost during the entire duration of your case. There is never any fee until we win. Give us a call if you have been hurt in a car accident, by a toxic spill or contamination, as a result of medical malpractice, due to abuse or neglect, in a maritime accident, by a vicious animal attack, or any other incident caused by someone else’s negligence.
The Sooner You Speak to an Oakland Injury Lawyer, the Stronger Your Chances for Recovery Will Become.
Contact the Oakland injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada today, and let’s get started. We are available to talk any time, so whether you call, email or chat online, we’ll respond and set up an appointment to meet you. We have several Spanish speakers in the office and welcome the opportunity to cater our services to Oakland’s Spanish-speaking population. You pay no fee until we win for you, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our office for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the faster we can start getting results for you. Call 925-937-3900.