Bakersfield Grapples with Recent Rise in Bicycle Accidents, Injuries

May 14, 2024 | Article by Chain | Cohn | Clark staff

Bakersfield Grapples with Recent Rise in Bicycle Accidents, Injuries

Bakersfield saw 70 crashes involving bicycles in 2023 resulting in 71 injuries and two deaths, according to new data analyzed by Law Office of Chain | Cohn | Clark.

The 70 crashes were a 30% increase from two years ago, when Bakersfield saw 54 crashes in 2021, which was a 34% decrease from 2019, which saw 82 bike-related crashes. The highest number of crashes involving a bicycle in the last 10 years was in 2016, when Bakersfield saw 88 bicycle crashes resutling in 85 injuries and three deaths.

In total, the last 10 years saw 723 bike crashes with 712 injuries and 24 fatalities in Bakersfield.

“Bicycle safety is paramount in Bakersfield Kern County, where we have some of the highest rates of accidents involving bicycles in the country,” said Matt Clark, managing partner and attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “During National Bike Month in May and throughout the year, it is crucial for cyclists and motorists to prioritize safety measures and follow traffic laws: wear a properly fitted helmet to reduce the risk of head and brain injuries, adhere to rules such as riding with traffic, use hand signals, and maintain to decrease the chances of collisions. Taking proactive steps to ensure the safety of all road users is a critical priority locally.”

Click the graph below for an interactive look at the Bakersfield bicycle accident statistics over the last 10 years, and continue reading below to learn more about local bicycle accidents, and what we can all do to prevent future crashes.


Each year in California, over 100 bicyclists are killed and over 10,000 are injured in collisions, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In 2022, there were 1,105 bicyclist fatalities and an estimated 46,195 injuries nationally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and it is important to pay attention to traffic signs and signals to reduce the risk of collisions while on the road.

Top Safety Tips for Bicyclists

  1. Wear a Helmet: Always wear a properly fitted helmet to reduce the risk of head injury. Helmets are crucial but do not provide complete protection, so ride cautiously.
  2. Be Visible: Use lights and reflectors, especially at night or in low-visibility conditions. Wear bright or reflective clothing to increase visibility to motorists.
  3. Obey Traffic Laws: Follow all traffic signs and signals. Ride in the direction of traffic and use hand signals to indicate turns and stops.
  4. Stay Alert: Avoid distractions such as headphones or mobile devices. Use all your senses to stay aware of your surroundings, particularly at intersections and driveways.
  5. Maintain Control: Ensure your bicycle is the right size and in good working order. Regularly check brakes, tires, and other components to maintain control, even in emergencies.
  6. Avoid Blind Spots: Do not linger in the blind spots of large vehicles like trucks and buses. Be cautious around these vehicles, especially when they are turning or stopping.

Top Safety Tips for Motorists

  1. Share the Road: Bicyclists have the same rights as motorists. Be prepared to yield and give them space, especially when passing. Maintain a minimum of 3 feet distance when passing a cyclist.
  2. Avoid Distractions: Do not use mobile devices, eat, or engage in other distractions while driving. Stay focused on the road and be aware of bicyclists and pedestrians.
  3. Be Patient and Cautious: Reduce speed when approaching a bicycle, especially in narrow lanes or areas with poor visibility. Do not honk as it may startle the cyclist.
  4. Check Blind Spots: Always check for bicyclists before making turns or changing lanes. Be extra cautious at intersections and driveways.
  5. Respect Bike Lanes: Do not park or drive in bike lanes. This can create dangerous situations for cyclists who rely on these lanes for safe trave.
  6. Be Extra Cautious Around Children: Children on bicycles can be unpredictable. Slow down and be prepared to stop when you see children riding bikes.

Lastly, never operate a bicycle or motor vehicle while impaired.

Of the 70 bike-related crashes in 2023 in Bakersfield, a majority, 44%, were broadside crashes, 49% of drivers received violations for being on the wrong side of the road, and 16% were the result of improper turning. Just 9% were crashes where the motor vehicle had the right of way.



If you are involved in a collision while riding a bicycle, it’s important to know the steps to follow to ensure that you receive fair response from the police and collect information you may need for future legal issues.

Immediately after a crash

  • Tell the driver to stay until the police arrive. If they refuse to stay or don’t provide ID, get their and the car’s description, vehicle’s license plate # and state of issue.
  • Call (or ask someone to call) 9-1-1, and ask for the police to come to the scene.
  • Get name and contact info for any witnesses. Ask them to remain on the scene until police arrive, if possible.
  • Ask for the driver’s license and insurance card. Write down name, address, date of birth, and insurance information.

When the police arrive

  • Ask them to take an incident report.
  • Get reporting police officer’s name and badge number.
  • If you’ve been doored, ask the officer to cite the motorist for dooring.
  • Ask the officers to speak to witnesses, if possible.
  • While a doctor’s report of your injury is important for insurance and/or legal action, you do not need to take an ambulance.

In the days after the crash

  • Contact witnesses to ask them to email you their version of what happened while it’s fresh in their mind. Email yourself a description of what happened with relevant information and capture as much detail as you can.
  • Take good photos of your injuries and any bike damage. Get an estimate from a bike shop before making repairs.
  • Request a copy of the incident report from the police.
  • Contact an attorney who has experience with bicycle accidents.



At Chain | Cohn | Clark, we believe we should all share the road, and be extra careful when driving around motorcyclist and bicyclists.

Our law firm has been a proud partner of Bike Bakersfield, whose mission it is to promote bicycling as a safe, fun and environmentally-friendly means of everyday transportation. Chain | Cohn | Clarkhas  served as a sponsor for Project Light Up The Night, where volunteers hand out hundreds of free bicycle lights in various locations throughout Bakersfield. The law firm also donated 100 safety helmets to east Bakersfield students during a Bike Bakersfield “Kidical Mass,” which featured bike repairs, safety demonstrations, and a group bike ride. Most recently, the law firm was proud to give 100-plus safety helmets away to students at Orangewood Elementary in the Edison School District during a bike safety event.

Chain | Cohn | Clark also helped launch a video campaign focused on the safe use and enjoyment for all of Bakersfield’s Kern River Parkway — a paved trail over 30 miles long that runs from southwest to northwest Bakersfield used for recreational use and commuting. The three videos highlight the rules of using the Parkway safely, how the entire family – adults with children and pets – can use the Parkway, and lastly, how the Parkway is “a trail to enjoy together,” as the campaign slogan states. The videos can be viewed on-demand at our firm’s YouTube page.


If you or someone you know is injured in an accident at the fault of someone else, or injured on the job no matter whose fault it is, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at