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Proposed California Law Allows Bicyclists to Ignore Stop Signs

California lawmakers are currently considering a controversial bill that would allow bicyclists to roll through stops signs rather than making a full stop. The legislation aims to help prevent bicycle crashes at California intersections.

Drivers and bicyclists both have obligations on the roadways. Under California Vehicle Code Section 21200, “Every person riding a bicycle upon a street or highway has all the rights and is subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” This means that bicyclists and drivers must follow the same rules of the road, such as obeying stop signs, yielding to oncoming traffic, and signaling when turning.

Assembly Bill Number 1103 would essentially allow cyclists to treat stop signs like yield signs. The proposed legislation would specifically allow:

a person operating a bicycle approaching a stop sign, after slowing to a reasonable speed and yielding the right-of-way, to cautiously make a turn or proceed through the intersection without stopping, unless safety considerations require otherwise.

Critics of the new bicycle law argue that it will make California roadways less safe and encourage bicyclists to pick and choose which safety laws to follow. Meanwhile, sponsors of the legislation maintain that the longer it takes for cyclists to proceed through an intersection, the greater the chances they may be hit by a vehicle also passing through.

“It’s pretty compelling that the data supports this kind of change in the law,” Assemblyman Jay Obernolte told The Los Angeles Times. “Their loss of momentum causes them to spend a substantially longer amount of time in the intersection.” Supporters of the legislation also point to the success of a similar law in Idaho. In that state, bike-related injuries declined after the law was enacted.

Pursuing a California Bicycle Crash Claim

As San Diego injury attorneys, we understand how vulnerable bicyclists can be on San Diego roadways. When a driver’s negligence caused the crash, victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries. Damages in a bicycle crash personal injury suit may include medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, insurance companies and other responsible parties often try to blame the bicyclist for the accident. They will often allege that the biker was changing lanes improperly or rode into the path of a car.

Because California follows the doctrine of comparative negligence, it is always important to fight these claims. If you are found at fault for the crash, any recovery you receive in an injury lawsuit is reduced by your percentage of liability. For instance, if you were 20 percent at fault for the crash, your damages can be reduced by 20 percent. This is yet another reason to have an experienced personal injury attorney in your corner.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California bicycle crash, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.