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Do bicycles always have the right of way?

It’s not hard to imagine who wins when a car and a bicycle collide on the streets of Long Beach. The toll that bicycle accident victims have to endure can be severe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that in 2005 alone, bicycle accident injuries resulted in projected lifetime costs of over $5 billion. Some may think that such accidents could be avoided if motorists would simply respect the rules of right of way. Yet a closer look at this principle may reveal some surprising facts.

The assumption held by many is the bicyclists always have the right of way. The law, however, does not automatically grant the right of way to anyone. Rather, it simply outlines who is required to yield. The only group of travelers to whom right of way must always be yielded is pedestrians. Bicycles are viewed as vehicles under this principle, making bicyclists subject to the same standards as motorists.

Thus, it is the bicyclist who is expected to yield when merging into lanes of traffic, as well as when turning left in the face of oncoming traffic. When approaching an intersection at the same moment as a car traveling from an intersection direction, the bicyclist should yield the right of way if he or she arrived at the stop after the car. When both arrive at the same time, the “Yield to the Driver on the Right” rule should be followed. Conversely, this also means that bicycles should also be treated the same as other vehicles on the road and yielded the right of way in the same manner one would for another car.

While the aforementioned facts are not meant to be viewed as legal advice, they may bolster one’s claim of negligence following a bike accident

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