Can a Cyclist Use a Handheld Mobile Phone While Riding?

-Posted On November 10, 2022 In Bicycle Accident,Bikes and California Law-

Texting and driving is an undoubtedly dangerous practice. Using a mobile phone takes your eyes, hands, and mind off of this important act, which can heighten the risk of an accident. In fact, this practice is illegal in California. Many people wonder if this rule extends to other road activities too, like riding a bicycle.

While many states have laws that expressly prohibit texting and cycling, California has no such statute in place. Although it is legal for a cyclist to use a mobile phone while riding, however, this practice can be very dangerous. If you are involved in an accident, mobile phone use may also impact your ability to recover compensation.

The Dangers of Texting While Cycling

Riding a bicycle requires your full attention. A split-second glance away from the road can cause you to miss dangerous hazards and unexpected events. If you don’t have both hands on your handlebars, you won’t be able to make a sudden maneuver to get out of harm’s way when a dangerous situation arises. 

Using a handheld phone while cycling can increase your chances of a dangerous road collision, which can have serious consequences. Below are some of the most common injuries that can happen in a bike accident:

  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Internal organ damage
  • Facial injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Death

How Using a Mobile Phone Can Impact a Bicycle Accident Claim

California is a fault-based accident state. When a road accident happens, the party who was responsible for that collision would be financially responsible for any injuries that occur. Victims would have the right to pursue a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault party. If you are texting and cycling, you could accidentally cause a serious collision and may find yourself facing significant legal challenges.

Even if you were not responsible for an accident, using a handheld mobile phone could affect your ability to recover full compensation. During the insurance process, the company may use this fact as a way to justify a lower settlement or to deny your claim altogether. 

If you file a bicycle accident lawsuit, California’s pure comparative negligence laws will apply. Under this statute, the court will reduce your settlement by the percentage of liability that you share. You can recover compensation even if you were 99% at fault for the collision. 

For example, say that you were using a phone while cycling, which caused you to run a stop sign. However, a drunk driver also speeds through his or her intersection, striking you. Although the drunk driver is mostly at fault, the court may assign 50% of the liability to you. If you request a $40,000 settlement, you would only recover $20,000.

What to Do If You Were Injured in a Bicycle Accident

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you need to gather evidence, seek medical care, and enlist the help of an attorney. Call 911 to report the accident to the police and gather as much evidence from the scene as possible. Go to the hospital right away and save your medical records. 

Once you have received treatment, contact a San Francisco bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your case. Your lawyer will assess your situation, strategize your next steps, and work tirelessly to recover the highest possible settlement in your case.

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