Bicycle Incidents

Rolling strong — bicycle advocates and bicycle advocacy

What do you get when you combine winning trial experience with partners committed to car-free living and bicycle culture (the Coopers) along with an Olympian, national champion, and bicycle-specific injury law pioneer (Bob)?

The best possible representation to help you with your bicycle collision. Lots of lawyers who hold themselves out as bicycle lawyers these days. Have they had to make split-second decisions on a bicycle work commute when drivers violate cyclists’ rights, or are they too part of the windshield world? Do they understand the differences between the vehicular cycling approach and the more recent Eight to Eighty model? Do they know what a .tcx file is and why it might be important?Are they involved in bicycle advocacy at the local, state, and national level?

We understand the nuances. We not only advocate for our clients, we participate in the League of American Bicyclist’s national summit, CalBike’s advocacy day in Sacramento, and speak up at City Hall, among other advocacy work. We believe our practice should go beyond client representation. We need to improve safety and opportunities for those who choose active transportation instead of cars. And as you can see from the photos, you’ll find us out on the streets with you – commuting, taking our children to school, and adventuring.

With two decades’ experience, we highlight a few of our results below. If you have questions about your incident and how we can help you, call us now at (415) 434-2111 or Contact us.

  • Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
  • Case Title: Rob Racer v. Reckless Driver
  • Case Description: Reckless driver turns left in front of bicyclist
  • Result: Full value of totaled bike and $375,000 for injuries

Read details

Rob Racer was on a bike ride near San Diego, California. While Rob was riding down a steep hill, Reckless Driver made a dangerous left turn in front of him. Rob had no time to stop or avoid the collision and hit the front passenger panel of the car. Rob flipped over the hood of the car and suffered a fractured shoulder blade, fractured ribs, rotator cuff tear, and lung contusion.

Rob Racer’s race bike was totaled. Driver’s insurance refused to pay full value of the bike, claiming depreciation. The refusal forced Racer to have to file a lawsuit instead of resolving the matter informally. Driver’s insurance company cited Rob’s return to racing and podium race results for why Rob’s case had little value. Rob recovered the full value of his bike and $375,000 for his injuries.

  • Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
  • Case Title: Cory Commuter v. Door Swinger
  • Case Description: Bicyclist Doored; UIM refuses to pay policy
  • Result: $15,000 Third-party policy limits and $235,000 Underinsured Motorist policy limits

Read details

On Cory Commuter’s ride home from work in San Francisco, California, Cory approached a parked car. The owner of the parked car abruptly swung the car door open. The door hit Cory’s hand causing Cory to crash. Cory suffered a tibial plateau fracture and a meniscus tear.

The owner of the car carried the minimum policy limits of $15,000; however, Cory carried a substantial underinsured motorist (UIM) policy with his insurance. After the owner’s insurance tendered the small policy, Cory made a demand for his remaining policy limits of $235,000. Cory’s insurance initially made a low offer and stated that Cory’s injuries were not worth $235,000. After a demand for arbitration was filed, and persuasive negotiation, Cory’s insurance paid the full policy.

  • Case Type: Personal injury/ Bicycle accident / Auto
  • Case Title: Yuri v. Truck
  • Case Description: European adventurist on long distance bike trek hit from behind by truck
  • Result: $100,000 policy limit

Read details

Yuri flew from Europe to begin a 500-mile bike trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Yuri had already embarked on many European bike treks and was excited to visit California for the first time. On the first day of the trek, Yuri was hit from behind by a pickup truck as he rode on the right side of the fog line on Highway 1. The impact launched Yuri onto the shoulder of the road causing him to suffer a partial ACL tear, small bone fracture in his knee, and a concussion.

Being from Europe, Yuri had no American health insurance and the hospital released him after providing the bare minimum of medical care. This meant Yuri was released without a diagnosis of any of his injuries. Also, Yuri’s plan was to camp each night of the trek, so he did not have accommodations arranged until he was to arrive in Los Angeles five days later. Yuri’s trip was cut short, and he returned to Europe to receive medical treatment. After a policy limits demand was made on Yuri’s behalf, the truck driver’s insurance offered the $100,000 policy.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
  • Case Title: Bradley Biker v. Betty BMW
  • Case Description: Driver make dangerous left turn in front of bicyclist
  • Result: $500,000 Policy limits

Read details

Bradley rode a bike every day. Riding was the main source of Bradley’s exercise, social connections, and stress release. Bradley’s goal that year was to ride 15,000 miles. While on a ride home from work, Betty BMW made a dangerous left turn in front of Bradley. Bradley barely had enough time to brake and smashed into the passenger side of the car. Bradley sustained rib fractures, flail chest, a punctured and collapsed lung, pooling of blood in the lung, and a lung contusion. Bradley spent 24 hours in the ICU and 9 more days in the hospital recovering.

Bradley’s medical bills totaled nearly $300,000. Unfortunately, his health insurance, being a self-funded ERISA health and benefits plan, sought to recover the full reimbursement of his bills. After substantial negotiation, Bradley’s health insurance agreed to reduce its lien almost 50%. Additionally, Bradley settled for Betty BMW’s $500,000 policy limits.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Bicycle Incident
  • Case Title: Michael Bicycle v. City Driver
  • Case Description: Bicyclist struck by city employee’s truck
  • Result: $750,000 settlement

Read details

Michael Bicycle, a twenty-year old college student, was riding his bicycle to his part-time job. Michael made a left turn across a busy intersection and merged into the bike lane. A City truck, traveling in the same direction as Michael, decided to use the same bike lane to merge to the right to get around a vehicle waiting to make a turn. The truck struck Michael’s rear bicycle tire, throwing him to the ground. Michael was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where he had surgery to repair a leg fracture.

The matter settled prior to trial for $750,000.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Bicycle
  • Case Title: Anthony Velo v. Robert Mercedes
  • Case Description: Bicyclist struck by SUV
  • Result: $250,000 settlement

Read details

Anthony Velo was riding his bicycle in the marked bike lane during heavy traffic. Robert Mercedes failed to notice Velo and turned right, into a shopping mall driveway, directly in front of Velo. Anthony sustained multiple fractures and a collapsed lung upon being broadsided by the SUV.

The matter settled prior to filing a lawsuit for $250,000.

  • Case Type: General Liability
  • Case Title: Travis Smythe v. Jones Farming
  • Case Description: Chemical exposure while cycling
  • Result: $550,000

Read details

Travis Smythe, a 25+ year cyclist, routinely biked along rural roads to destress from his hectic workday. On the day of the incident, Travis was unaware that on this windy ride, farm employees were spraying chemicals on the crop. State and Federal regulations govern the use, frequency, and timing of the chemical use. Companies are mandated to take all means necessary to prevent human exposure. The farm employees failed to display proper signage and continued to spray despite Smythe riding on the nearby road. Within minutes of being exposed to the toxic chemicals, Travis’s face began burning.

The matter settled prior to trial for $550,000.

  • Case Type: Products Liability
  • Case Title: Carl Carbon v. Fancy Bike Company
  • Case Description: Fork failure on racing bicycle
  • Result: $400,000

Read details

Toward the end of Carl Carbon’s regular weekend ride, the front fork failed. Carl was diagnosed with a right shoulder fracture, a broken nose and six cracked ribs. The fork failure was identified as a carbon-metal bonding failure. The manufacturer touted the high-end racing frame as a European racing bike. Carbon was surprised to learn not only was the bike not made in Europe, the bike was manufactured by a separate company under contract with Fancy Bike Company. The bike company could not determine which company made the bicycle nor could it identify the design schematics used to make the fork.

The matter settled before trial for $400,000.

  • Case Type: Bicycle Accident
  • Case Title: Doe v. Driver
  • Case Description: Bicyclist struck from behind by driver
  • Result: $50,000 Settlement

Read details

Jane Doe was commuting to work on her bike when a car struck her from behind. Jane was initially knocked onto the hood of the car before landing on the pavement. Jane sustained road rash on her left leg that required emergency room irrigation.

The matter settled prior to filing a lawsuit for $50,000.

  • Case Type: Bicycle Accident
  • Case Title: Doe v. City
  • Case Description: Bicyclist injured by dangerous road condition
  • Result: $160,000

Read details

Jane Doe was riding her bike to work just as she had every day before that. On her way to work Jane noticed a car behind her and adjusted her position closer to the right to avoid the car. As she did this, the front wheel of Jane’s bike dropped into a gap between a storm drain and the drainage grate. The wheel got stuck, Jane went over the handlebars, and her jaw was dislocated.

The case settled prior to filing a lawsuit for $160,000.

  • Case Type: Bicycle Accident/ Personal Injury
  • Case Title: John v. SUV Driver
  • Case Description: Bicyclist doored by SUV
  • Result: $300,000

Read details

San Franciscan cyclist John Doe was riding to work in the designated bike lane. As John was riding, a parked SUV opened its door in front of John, failing to check for oncoming cyclists. John quickly swerved around the door to narrowly avoid it. In doing so, John lost his balance and crashed. The crash caused an open fracture to his right hand as well as his index finger to snap and break. The laceration exposed John’s bone causing it to protrude from the skin and ruptured the extensor tendon.

After undergoing surgery and months of physical therapy, John was able to focus on recovering as our office sought compensation on his behalf.

The case resolved without litigation for $300,000.

  • Case Type: Bicycle accident
  • Case Title: Sally Cyclist v. SUV Driver
  • Case Description: Bicyclist cut-off by SUV driver
  • Result: $1,200,000 settlement

Read details

Sally Cyclist was riding her bike on a two-lane road. She was approaching a cross street and had the right-of-way. An SUV driver failed to yield to traffic and turned left directly in front of Cyclist. Cyclist crashed into the SUV’s passenger door, sustaining numerous fractures.

The case settled during litigation for $1.2 million.

  • Case Type: Bicycle accident/ Government claim
  • Case Title: Cyclist v. City
  • Case Description: Bicyclist thrown over handlebars by pothole
  • Result: $125,000 settlement

Read details

Cyclist was descending a steep rural road. While using her left hand to signal to the riders behind her to slow down, Cyclist’s front wheel hit a pothole surrounding a utility cover in the roadway. Cyclist flew over her handlebars, and she crashed onto the pavement. She sustained a broken collarbone and abrasions to her shoulder, forearm, and hand.

The City had twice received notice from concerned citizens that the pothole posed a danger to bicyclists. There were no records of maintenance or repair at the pothole site.

The matter settled after defeating a summary judgment motion for $125,000.

  • Case Type: Bicycle accident / Product liability
  • Case Title: Billy Bicyclist v. Carbon Parts Manufacturer
  • Case Description: Bicyclist severely injured when carbon fiber fork failed
  • Result: $450,000 settlement

Read details

Billy Bicyclist was out for a ride with his friends. After riding through a few small depressions in the road, Bicyclist’s carbon fiber fork failed, and the front wheel separated. His body rotated over the handlebars, and he crashed face-first into the pavement. Bicyclist sustained a fractured spine, fractured ribs, crushed tear ducts, dislocated jaw, and a concussion.

Bicyclist argued that the carbon fiber fork was defectively and negligently designed by the Carbon Parts Manufacturer. Carbon Parts Manufacturer argued the crash occurred because an object got stuck in the spokes of the bike.

The matter settled during litigation for $450,000.

  • Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Product liability
  • Case Title: Patty Pedaler v. Bicycle Manufacturer
  • Case Description: Bicyclist loses teeth due to improperly manufactured bicycle
  • Result: $340,000 settlement

Read details

Pedaler was riding in Santa Barbara, CA with a friend when her carbon bike broke underneath her. Suddenly, she dropped to the ground. Two of her teeth were missing and the others felt like they were dangling in her mouth. Pedaler’s bike had broken in two – the top tube and bottom tube separated from the head tube. Her injuries included a fractured jaw, two dislocated teeth, four displaced teeth, and a fractured hand.

Pedaler demonstrated that adhesive gaps between the tubes and the lug led to a catastrophic frame failure. Bicycle Manufacturer acknowledged these gaps, but argued it was not an issue.

The matter settled during litigation for $340,000.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Auto v Bicycle
  • Case Title: B. Cyclist v. A. Mobile
  • Case Description: Cyclist cut off by inattentive driver
  • Result: $250,000 settlement

Read details

A driver made a last-minute decision to turn right – directly across a bike lane and in front of a bicyclist. The bicyclist slammed into the defendant’s car and was thrown over the hood, landing on the asphalt, resulting in a broken collarbone.

The matter settled without litigation for $250,000.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Auto v Bicycles
  • Case Title: Cyclists v. Driver
  • Case Description: Elderly driver strikes two bicyclists
  • Result: Confidential settlement

Read details

Two friends were out on a training ride on a clear sunny day. At the same time, a man well into his nineties became disoriented while driving, drove into the bicycle lane, and struck both riders from behind at approximately 45 miles per hour. The driver then blamed the cyclists for the incident.

Both of the victims sustained serious injuries requiring surgery.

The matter settled during litigation for insurance policy limits as well as seven figures of personal contribution from Driver.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Auto v Bicycle
  • Case Title: Bike Rider v Car Driver
  • Case Description: A woman took her eyes off the road and ran down a cyclist
  • Result: $250,000 settlement

Read details

A rider was struck by a negligent driver, resulting in post-concussive syndrome and rotator cuff damage.

The matter resolved without litigation for $250,000.

  • Case Type: Personal Injury/Auto v Bicycle
  • Case Title: Bike Rider v Car Driver
  • Case Description: A driver made a U-turn and collided with a man on his bike
  • Result: $250,000 settlement

Read details

A driver’s reckless U-turn resulted in a fractured orbital among other broken bones, a concussion, and broken teeth to our client, a lifelong cyclist. Unfortunately, the driver was not only careless in regard to their maneuvers on the road but the driver was also woefully underinsured.

The matter settled without litigation for underlying policy limits as well as underinsured policy limits, for a total of $250,000.

  • Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident / Auto
  • Case Title: The Doe Family v. Jane Roe
  • Case Description: Bicyclist struck from behind by distracted driver
  • Result: Confidential settlement

Read details

John Doe was riding a recumbent bicycle during a cross-country bicycle trip. He was outside of Spokane, Washington, on a two-lane rural highway, riding with another individual. They were riding side by side when a van approached from behind. They went single-file for the van to pass. Jane Roe was driving a car in the same direction on the rural highway. Her child, who was in a car seat in the back, was fussy due to dropping his sippy cup. Roe reached back to grab it and hand it to him, taking her eyes off the road. As John Doe started to move back into side-by-side riding, he was struck and killed by Jane Roe’s car. John Doe was a father who for the last 10 years had raised his son by himself. His son was 16 years old at the time his father was killed.

John Doe argued that Jane Roe was a distracted driver and her distraction caused Doe’s death. Roe argued that Doe went back into the roadway when it was unsafe to do so and that the physical evidence, including scratches in the pavement, put Doe four feet into the road when the impact occurred.

  • Case Type: Personal injury / Bicycle accident
  • Case Title: Bill Bicyclist v. Buick Driver
  • Case Description: Bicyclist doored while riding along city street
  • Result: $350,000 settlement

Read details

Bill Bicyclist, in his early twenties, was riding his bike. A Buick driver who had parallel parked along the street failed to notice Bicyclist. The Buick driver opened his driver’s door directly in front of Bicyclist. Bicyclist hit the partially open door, which speared Bicyclist’s chest. Bicyclist suffered a sucking wound that required surgical repair and a week of hospitalization. Bicyclist was left with a substantial scar on his chest but was otherwise expected to make a full recovery.