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"Passing from behind" Long Beach Bike
Accident Lawyer

What is a "Passing-from-Behind" Bicycle Accident?

Passing-from-behind bicycle accidents involve a motorist approaching a bicycle rider from behind and striking the bicyclist as the motorist overtakes the rider. Passing-from-behind accidents are the #1 cause of adult bicyclist fatalities in California and the United States.

Driver Will Try to Blame Bicyclist for a Passing-from-Behind Accident

Drivers and their insurance companies often attempt to blame the bicyclist for a passing-from-behind accident. They will allege that the driver was keeping a safe distance from the bicyclist, who suddenly swerved into the motorist's path of travel.

Bicyclists Need Extra Space Around Them

Bicyclists need a little extra space around them in case they need to avoid broken glass, debris or rough pavement. Should they need to move to avoid an unexpected roadway hazard, a collision with a driver can result. A collision between a 4,000-pound vehicle and a Schwinn cruiser is not a fair fight; the bicyclist will always lose.

California Law Pertaining to Passing-from-Behind Bike Accidents

The California law that applies to passing-from-behind accidents is Vehicle Code Section 21760, the Three Feet for Safety Act, which states:

"(b) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on a highway shall pass in compliance with the requirements of this article applicable to overtaking and passing a vehicle, and shall do so at a safe distance that does not interfere with the safe operation of the overtaken bicycle, having due regard for the size and speed of the motor vehicle and the bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and the surface and width of the highway.

(c) A driver of a motor vehicle shall not overtake or pass a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on a highway at a distance of less than three feet between any part of the motor vehicle and any part of the bicycle or its operator.

(d) If the driver of a motor vehicle is unable to comply with subdivision (c), due to traffic or roadway conditions, the driver shall slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent, and may pass only when doing so would not endanger the safety of the operator of the bicycle, taking into account the size and speed of the motor vehicle and bicycle, traffic conditions, weather, visibility, and surface and width of the highway."

By specifying a minimum passing distance of three feet, motorists have an objective and easily understood measure of what constitutes "safe," making it is easier to determine whether a driver is liable for unsafe passing. It also emphasizes a motorist's responsibility to safeguard more vulnerable road users like bike riders.

You Need an Attorney if You've Been Injured in a Passing-from-Behind Bicycle Accident

Injuries resulting from passing-from-behind accidents are often serious or deadly. The higher the potential value of the injury claim, the harder the insurance company will fight the claim, and the more aggressively they will mount their defense. You need an experienced bicycle accident attorney on your side to immediately start mounting your offense.

If there were no eyewitnesses or surveillance video which captured the accident, it becomes a he-said/she-said as to whether the driver attempted to overtake the bicyclist at a safe distance. That is why it is critical after a passing-from-behind accident for a law firm to immediately search out potential witnesses and the existence of surveillance video which may have captured the collision.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a passing-from-behind bicycle accident in or around Long Beach, contact an attorney at McGee, Lerer & Associates for a free consultation today.

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