A cyclist was injured earlier this week when they got into a crash with a truck on the precarious Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu, California. The crash occurred early in the morning and resulted in a road closure for part of the morning.
The Pacific Coast Highway has long been noted as a dangerous roadway on various stretches and the state of California has been looking for ways to make it safer for motorists and cyclists. A new law that will go into effect next year tackles the major problem of bike accidents in California, requiring that vehicles provide at least three feet of clearence when they are passing a bike.
Drivers who do not give bikes the required amount of space when passing them on the road will face a fine of $100 for the first offense.
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road in California, largely becuase they lack the protective barriers that cars provide. Helmets and other safety equipment help, but a bike is no match for the speed and weight of a motorized vehicle, however small it may be.
This means that both cyclists and drivers have a duty to pay attention to where they are on the road and to exercise the caution necessary to avoid a collision. Drivers who are distracted or who are being overly aggressive trying to pas a cyclist may be breaching this duty and could be liable for their negligent behavior. In those cases and in other circumstances, victims have a right to recover from the driver for their injuries in a bike accident.
Source: NBC Los Angeles, “Byclicist Injured in PCH Crash,” Jonathan Llyod, Oct. 2, 2013.