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California Bicycle Accidents


MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754


Many California communities have made it a point to be bicycle friendly. Davis prides itself on its bike paths, while San Francisco has reduced fatal bike accidents by adding protected bicycle lanes. Oakland and Long Beach are becoming safer for bicycle riders every year. Even large cities like Sacramento, San Jose, and San Diego have been praised for their commitment to providing safe roadways for bicyclists.

Unfortunately, when adults commute to work and when children ride to school on a bicycle, staying within a bicycle lane isn't always possible. Many streets have unprotected bike lanes or no separate lane of any kind for bike riders. Even when bike lanes exist, riders are at risk when they enter intersections or ride past a car that is exiting a driveway.

We applaud all community efforts to make streets safer for bicycle riders. Unfortunately, statistical trends suggest that bicyclists continue to be at risk in all California counties.

California Bicycle Accident Statistics

The California Office of Traffic Safety counted 133 fatal bicycle accidents in California during 2019. That fatality rate was a significant reduction from 2018, when 155 bicycle riders were killed in traffic accidents. Based on preliminary data, the OTS is projecting 153 fatal bicycle accidents in 2020.

The increase in California's bicycle accident fatality rate in 2020 is a bit higher than the national trend. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects a 5% increase in bicycle accident fatalities between 2019 and 2020.

Statistics for traffic accident injuries always lag behind statistics for fatalities. In 2017, the most recent year for which OTS has completed an analysis, 11,178 bicycle riders were injured in California bicycle accidents.

The largest number of California accident injuries involved bicyclists who were between the ages of 15 and 24. Bicyclists between the ages of 25 and 34 accounted for the next highest group of bicycle accident victims.

The California counties with the greatest populations have the most bicycle accidents, but the correlation isn't perfect. The counties with the largest numbers of bicycle accidents are:


Injuries 2019

Fatalities 2019


Los Angeles






San Diego



Santa Clara



San Francisco












San Bernardino



Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are the fourth and fifth largest counties in California, but they have the eighth and ninth highest rate of bicycle injury accidents. That statistic suggests that the counties do well at making their roads safe for bicycle riders.

Santa Clara is the sixth largest California county, but it has the fourth highest bicycle injury accident rates. Santa Clara County seems to be less successful at making its streets safe for bicyclists.

While San Francisco County has made bicycle safety a priority, the state's twelfth largest county has the fifth highest rate of injuries from bicycle accidents. On the other hand, it has one of the lowest fatality rates. The high number of accidents may be due to the large percentage of the county's population that depends on a bicycle as a primary form of transportation, while the low fatality rate might reflect the city's efforts to discourage high-speed accidents.

On the other hand, Kern County had only 149 crash injuries involving bicyclists, but the county had 9 fatalities. Kern County historically has a high rate of fatal bicycle accidents compared to its population.

California Bicycle Accident Injuries

While California requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, it does not require adult bicyclists to do so. Minors must wear bicycle helmets on public streets or bicycle paths.

Studies that analyze whether bicycle helmets prevent injuries have had mixed results. There is no dispute that a typical bicycle helmet is not as effective as a typical motorcycle helmet. On the other hand, motorcyclists ride at much higher speeds than bicyclists, making them more likely to suffer a brain injury when their head strikes the pavement.

Just as helmet-wearing football players sometimes suffer concussions after being tackled, bicycle riders sometimes suffer concussions while wearing bicycle helmets. Still, a review of five high-quality studies found that helmets reduce the risk of serious brain injuries resulting from impact with a car or the pavement by at least 63%.

Helmets provide no real protection against spinal injuries. Like traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage can have catastrophic results. Other serious injuries that commonly result from bicycle injuries include broken bones, joint damage, dental and jaw injuries, facial scarring, and torn muscles or ligaments. Even road rash can be serious, and perhaps fatal, if it becomes infected.

California Bicycle Accident Lawyer

When bicyclists of any age are injured by a negligent driver, California Bicycle Accident Attorney Michael Rehm can help the injury victim pursue compensation. Michael Rehm is available to evaluate the facts and advise victims about the compensation they may be entitled to receive. For a free, confidential consultation, call (800) 978-0754 to speak directly with Attorney Rehm.

MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754

Southern California Areas Served:

Phone: (619) 787-3456 Areas Served: San Diego, Vista, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, El Centro, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Clarita, Glendale, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pomona, Torrance, Pasadena, El Monte, Downey, West Covina, Norwalk, Burbank, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, Riverside, Corona, Moreno Valley, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Temecula, Bakersfield, Clovis, and everywhere in between.

Bay Area Areas Served

Phone: (831) 431-0986 Areas Served: Santa Cruz, Aptos, Capitola, Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, Seaside, Carmel, San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, Livermore, Concord, Richmond, Walnut Creek, Antioch, San Rafael, Novato, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Napa, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Fairfield, Vallejo, Vacaville, Dixon, Solano County, San Benito, Daly City, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos, San Bruno, Pleasanton, Union City, San Leandro, Milpitas, Pittsburg, Danville, Rohnert Park and the entire Bay Area.

Northern California Office & Areas Served

333 University Avenue; Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95825 Phone: (916) 233-7346 Areas Served: Sacramento, Elk Grove, Antelope, Citrus Heights, Carmichael, the friendly confines of Land Park, Folsom, Yolo, Woodland, West Sacramento, Davis, Placerville, South Lake Tahoe, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Auburn, Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Yuba City, Marysville, Wheatland, Colusa, San Joaquin County, Lodi, Manteca, Stockton, Tracy, Lathrop, Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Stanislaus County, Humboldt County, Arcata, Mckinleyville, Fortuna, Eureka, Butte County, Oroville, Paradise, Chico, Mendocino, Ukiah, Colusa, Shasta County, Redding, Calaveras, Yreka, Amador, Jackson, Lassen, Susanville, Plumas County, Quincy, Nevada County, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Truckee, Lakeport, Sonora, Madera, Crescent City, Trinity, and all of Northern California.