Oakland Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Bicycling offers an economical mode of transportation, reduces air pollution and fossil fuel consumption and provides exercise. As many as 60 percent of Oakland residents would like to bicycle more, but many forego the activity, citing safety concerns.

These concerns are not unfounded. More than 100 bicyclists are killed in California every year, with a statistically higher rate of death per mile compared to automobile passengers.

The Oakland personal injury attorneys at Cutter Law P.C. are dedicated to helping our accident victims receive fair and just compensation when negligent drivers injure them and their loved ones.

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    What causes most Oakland bicycle accidents?

    The most common causes of bicycle accidents include the following:

    • Distracted driving, especially from cell phone use
    • Automobile right-of-way violations
    • Speeding
    • Improper turning
    • Alcohol impairment
    • Aggressive driving
    • Potholes
      • Oakland has some of the worst roads in the nation.
      • Even small potholes and uneven surfaces can cause severe bicycle wrecks.
      • In 2015, the City of Oakland paid a bicycle accident victim $3.25 million in compensation.

    Where do most bicycle accidents occur?

    Most bicycle accidents occur at busy intersections. Some of the most dangerous in Oakland for bicyclists include the following:

    • All of San Pablo Avenue, especially the following areas:
      • The stretch between 40th and Broadway in Oakland
      • The intersection with Solano Avenue in Albany
    • Bancroft Avenue, especially between 73rd Avenue at Eastmont Mall and 103rd Avenue near the San Leandro border
    • Telegraph Street between 20th and 29th Streets
    Photo of a couple riding on bicycles through Oakland

    Steps to Take After an Oakland Bicycle Collision

    Your first priority after a bicycle accident is to call 911 to summon an ambulance and request a police officer. When possible, also take the following steps:

    • Obtain the insurance information of the driver without discussing the accident or admitting fault.
    • Obtain the names and contact information of witnesses.
    • Document the accident. Take pictures and video of the scene. Try to capture the license plate of the automobile, the damage to your bicycle, skid marks, the surrounding area and other pertinent information.
    • Document your injuries.
    • Write down what happened.
    • Obtain a copy of the police report from the Oakland Police Department Eastmont Substation at 2651 73rd Avenue, or online.
    • Contact an attorney as soon as possible.

    Where does compensation come from after a bicycle crash?

    Compensation is usually paid by the insurance company of the at-fault party. This can vary depending on the circumstances of your accident, as follows:

    • If the at-fault driver is uninsured, compensation could be paid by the following:
      • Your own uninsured motorist coverage, if you have an insured automobile
      • A bicycle policy
      • The at-fault party (by suing directly)
    • If the driver was a commercial vehicle operator, compensation would come from the vehicle owner’s insurance policy.
    • For accidents caused by potholes or other road conditions, the City of Oakland may be liable.

    How much is my bicycle crash worth?

    Bicycle collisions often result in severe, permanent injuries. This may entitle you to significant compensation that includes the following:

    • Economic damages, or monetary losses caused by the accident:
      • Medical expenses
      • Lost wages
      • Loss of earning capacity
      • Cost of ongoing care
    • Non-economic damages, or intangible losses:
      • Pain and suffering
      • Disfigurement
      • Loss of society
      • Loss of capacity to enjoy life
      • Mental anguish
    • Exemplary damages, or punitive damages, are awarded as a punishment against the defendant only in cases where the injury was the result of oppression, fraud, or malice. Drunk driving and deliberate intent fall into this category.

    The state of California does not limit the amount of damages you can receive. However, the following factors could limit your damages:

    • Insurance coverage limits – Insurance providers are only obligated to pay up to the coverage limits purchased by the insured.
      • You would have to sue the at-fault party directly to recover damages beyond this amount, and the damages you collect will be limited to the party’s collectible assets.
    • Fault – If you are partly at fault in the accident, your compensation will be adjusted proportionately.

    What if my loved one was killed in a bicycle accident?

    In the tragic death of a family member, the immediate family is entitled to file a wrongful death claim against the insured. Your family can claim the same damages to which the deceased would have been entitled, plus compensation for losses to the family, such as the following:

    • Funeral and burial expenses
    • Loss of parental guidance
    • Loss of inheritance
    • Loss of consortium (relations between husband and wife)
    • Pecuniary losses – the projected financial losses to the family, including wages the deceased would have earned, the value of homemaker services and any other financial benefits of the decedent’s life
    • Pain and suffering of the deceased, if the death occurred on or after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2026.

    How long do I have to file a bicycle accident claim?

    The statute of limitations to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim is two years. However, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Your attorney may need to hire forensic analysts, interview expert witnesses and gather depositions before your case can be filed.

    Ideally, this should be done while witnesses still have a clear recollection of the facts and before evidence becomes stale. This will help your attorney build the strongest possible case and file your claim well ahead of the deadline.

    Bicycle Safety Tips

    While some factors are outside your control, the following tips can help you ride your bicycle as safely as possible:

    • Wear a bicycle helmet. Although state law does not require helmet use for adult bicyclists, helmets reduce head injuries by 85 percent.
    • Use reflectors and a light when riding bicycles at night. This is a requirement of state law. Nearly half of bicycle collisions occur during low-light conditions.
    • Ride in the same direction as traffic. This is also a requirement of California state law.
    • Obey traffic laws.
    • Avoid major roads and sidewalks.
    • Avoid bicycling under the influence of alcohol. Not only does this increase your risk of getting into an accident, but it is against state law.
    • Maintain your bicycle well and inspect brakes and tires before riding.
    • Use hand signals and other available forms of communication to let pedestrians, drivers and other bicyclists know when you are turning.
    • Avoid loose clothing that could get tangled in your wheels.

    Do I need an Oakland bicycle accident attorney?

    Insurance companies routinely make low-ball offers to unrepresented individuals early in the case, before the lifetime costs of your injuries can be known. They may try to induce you to admit fault or sign away your rights. Retaining an attorney will ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you need and deserve.

    Our experienced attorneys know how to handle insurance companies, and we are always well-prepared to take companies to court who refuse to offer a fair settlement. Our dedication and experience are apparent in the results we have achieved for our deserving clients, such as the following:

    $1.895 Million

    Attorneys Todd Walburg and Celine Cutter represented a cyclist who suffered a broken jaw and a mild traumatic brain injury after she rode her bike through a large pothole. 


    Attorney John Roussas obtained a $678,000 jury verdict for a client who suffered severe injuries after being struck by a vehicle.

    If you or your loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident, contact us today for a free consultation.


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    Our Office Location

    Oakland Office
    Cutter Law P.C.
    1999 Harrison Street Suite 1400
    Oakland, CA 94612

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