The term motor vehicle collision calls to mind cars, trucks and other, well, motorized vehicles. But this category includes cyclists as well. In these unfortunate instances, cyclists do not have 2000 pounds of steel around them and the risk of severe injury may increase dramatically depending on factors. It is important for any Californian cyclist on the road or even on sidewalks to practice safety–for their own sake and others. However, just because a cyclist lacks a seat belt or airbags does not void potential fault in a collision.

California negligence, as summed up on FindLaw, dictates that everyone is responsible for their willful actions as well as any injuries to others that result from them. “Want of ordinary care” implies that a distracted cyclist is just as much at risk of contributing to a collision as any distracted driver. Since California is a comparative fault state (meaning all parties in a case can sue for appropriate damages), it is important to understand the details so that all fault can be determined.

The Department of Motor Vehicles details in an online brochure, several details to increase cyclist safety but these also serve as a great source to reference when determining potential situations where cyclists can be determined at fault in a collision. Keeping clear of parked cars, wearing reflective material at night and using the correct turn signals can keep a cyclist safe, but failing to do these may be considered when a judge or jury determines overall fault.

When bodily safety is on the line, prevention is key. But when the worst happens, it is vital to get to the bottom of which party was negligent for what.