Who’s Liable in Bicycle Accidents Caused by Poor Road Conditions?

-Posted On November 28, 2022 In Bicycle Accidents-

In San Francisco, cyclists face a lot of hazards. Negligent drivers, dangerous dogs, and even poor weather can contribute to a sudden injury or accident. In some cases, poor road conditions may also lead to a bicycle collision. From loose gravel and poorly designed roads to potholes and debris from recent storms, cyclists can easily lose control when encountering dangerous roads.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident caused by poor road conditions, you may be eligible for legal action. In this situation, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road would be responsible for paying for the injuries that you suffered. 

Unsafe Road Conditions That Cause Bike Accidents

Cyclists are very vulnerable to dangerous road conditions compared to larger motor vehicles, which can typically roll over these hazards. It is very easy for a cyclist to lose his or her balance, fall, or even veer into the road and get hit by a car. Additionally, many roads are not designed with cyclists in mind, putting these individuals in dangerous situations.

Below are a few examples of unsafe road conditions that could lead to a bicycle accident:

  • Potholes
  • Loose gravel 
  • Cracked or uneven pavement
  • Improperly placed sewer grates
  • Abandoned rail or trolley tracks
  • Poles and signage close to the road
  • Unfinished road shoulders
  • Confusing traffic signs and traffic lights
  • Debris like fallen trees

When Is the Government Liable for a Bike Accident?

City and county government agencies have certain duties when it comes to road maintenance. These entities have a responsibility to maintain the road frequently and remedy any hazards that may arise. If there is not enough time to clear the hazard, the government agency must provide proper warnings. Above all, cyclists must have enough space to safely navigate city streets.

If the government neglects these duties and someone is harmed, the agency may be financially liable for the victim’s damages. For example, if lots of debris gets on the road during a storm and the agency does not clean it up for several days, it would be at fault if a cyclist is injured.

Special Rules for Filing Claims Against the Government in California

If you are injured in a bicycle accident caused by poor road conditions, you will need to follow special rules and requirements. Claims against the government in California are regulated by the California Tort Claims Act (CTCA), which sets shorter deadlines and establishes different protocols when compared to other types of lawsuits.

Under the CTCA, public entities are generally not liable for an injury. However, victims can pursue compensation if an accident happens due to a government agency’s negligence, as long as the negligence happened:

  • While a government employee was acting within the scope of his or her employment
  • While the employee was carrying out a government function

Failure to maintain safe road conditions often constitutes negligence. Municipal and county government agencies have their own processes for pursuing claims under the CTCA, so it is important to contact the relevant agency directly. You must file your claim within six months of the accident, or your case will be dismissed.

Speak to a California Bike Accident Attorney Today

If you are injured in a bike accident and believe road conditions are to blame, you need a lawyer on your side. A San Francisco bicycle accident attorney can help you navigate these unique claims and recover fair compensation for your injuries. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and initiate your claim.

Awards & Recognitions
award item image
award item image
award item image
award item image
award item image
award item image