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Who is at fault in my bicycle/car accident?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was exiting a shopping center parking lot onto a busy street. I stopped before the sidewalk. I was looking to the left. When there was an opening in traffic, I hit the gas. A bike popped out in front of me from nowhere and I hit her. Apparently, she was riding on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic.

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Attorney answers 7


This is a tough situation that has to be evaluated with more information. There is always a component of comparative fault in these situations. But, it is almost impossible in some cases to see a bicyclist "pop out" on a sidewalk.
Believe it or not, the laws vary greatly from town to town and city to city. I recently wrote an article on this EXACT TOPIC!!!
I will include a link below which you will find helpful to determine if there is probable fault or liability.
Best of luck to you!!!


Short answer – it depends. More information is needed to evaluate the case. Further, even if you were found to be at fault, based on the facts presented there may be some percentage of fault assigned to the cyclist. If you have insurance, you should submit the claim and have the insurance defend you. Good luck.

This information is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and any attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only.


You will need to look at the local ordinances for the city you were in. Generally, it is not illegal to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in the opposite direction of traffic. Turn the matter over to your insurance and let them handle the battle,


Lawyers on Avvo shouldn't try to determine fault from a short posting. You should report it to your insurance company to resolve. We have insurance for this reason.


Ask yourself this, what could you have done to prevent the accident? What could the bicycle rider done to prevent the injury? The one who could of done something about it is generally the one more at fault. This is just a simple rule of thumb, as city traffic rules sometime trump this, but I offer this to you as a general way to think about liability. With that said, report it to your insurance and let them handle it.

Attorney Stacy E. Pepper is licensed in all State and Federal Courts in Mississippi. He is a founding Partner in the law firm of Pepper & Odom, P.C. Nothing posted here constitutes any attorney client relationship and is meant for educational purposes only. Office hours are 8:00 a.m till 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Phone: 601-914-9219 Facsimile: 888-456-2160


I agree with Mr. Lassen. Determining fault in a bicycle accident is something that should be done on a personal level with an experienced attorney to review and advise you further. If you have insurance, you should report the claim to them. Best of luck with your car accident.


There are always two sides of the story in a car or bicycle accident. One or both parties may be at fault, however, it depends on the details of your particular case. You should contact a California Personal Injury attorney for help in this matter.

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