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NHTSA lays down bicycle safety initiatives

In California, more and more people are biking on the streets either for fun, for exercise or as part of their commute. Bicyclists are given the same rights as drivers, but drivers' disregard of those rights, or negligence on the part of bicyclists, can lead to accidents. Bicyclist deaths made up 2.2 percent of all traffic deaths in 2016, and over 70 percent of these incidents took place in urban areas.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that defensive driving is key. Bicyclists should ride in the same direction as traffic, obey all traffic control signals and markers, look ahead for hazards like pebbles and potholes and always act on the assumption that other drivers don't see them. Distracting behavior like texting and listening to music should be avoided. Bicyclists should also stay visible and keep from riding on sidewalks.

Pedestrian deaths remain high according to GHSA report

Pedestrian deaths during the first six months of 2017 rose by 15.8 percent in California and the other six states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. Road safety experts have generally blamed the recent surge in pedestrian deaths on cellphone use and distraction, but the GHSA figures suggest that marijuana consumption may also be playing a significant role. According to the GHSA, pedestrian deaths actually fell by 5.4 percent during the first six months of 2017 in states where the recreational use of marijuana remains illegal.

The GHSA report suggests that pedestrian deaths remain worryingly high. Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that the number of pedestrians killed on America's roads rose by 9.5 percent in 2015 and 9 percent in 2016, and the 2017 pedestrian death toll appears to be in line with these figures. The GHSA says that motor vehicle accidents killed 5,984 pedestrians in 2017. Figures from NHTSA are expected later in the year.

Does your loved one's death warrant a wrongful death claim?

After the sudden death of your loved one, your mind may not let you rest. You likely have much grief to handle, and on top of your emotional struggles, you may also be trying to come to terms with the fact that another person's negligence caused the fatal injuries that led to your family member's sudden passing.

Because it can certainly prove difficult to gain closure for such a situation, you may consider your options for ensuring that the person who caused the fatal car accident comes to justice. Though criminal charges may have stemmed from the incident, you may want to seek compensation of your own though civil legal action. If so, you could find it helpful to gain information on wrongful death claims.

Settling out of court after a truck accident

Commercial truck accidents can lead to serious injuries, but civil law in California gives victims the opportunity to seek compensation. While they can file a personal injury claim against the company that hired the trucker, victims must be prepared to spend a lot of time and money in the process. Thankfully, there is a less stressful, less time-consuming way for victims to receive damages -- it's called alternative dispute resolution.

With ADR methods like mediation, negotiations and arbitration, victims can try for an out-of-court settlement with the trucking company's team of lawyers. ADR has many benefits: it creates a confidential environment where both sides can be candid with each other about who's to blame and how much the settlement should be, and it can more easily lead to an amicable resolution.

Professor says driverless cars are too human to be safe

California motorists share the roads today not only with other drivers but sometimes with driverless cars. Self-driving cars manufactured by different companies are in testing, and some have been involved in accidents. Now a professor in computer science has gone on record stating that as long as humans are programming self-driving cars' computers, the cars are bound to make the same mistakes that human drivers do.

The professor from Arizona points to a fatal accident that happened in that state in March as an example of the human-like fallibility of driverless cars. The accident happened when a pedestrian who was crossing the street in the dark was struck by a self-driving car. The car's detection system could not see the pedestrian in the darkness until it was moving too fast to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting her.

Uber autonomous car tests screeching to a halt in California

Uber's authority to operate self-driving vehicles on the streets of California ends on Saturday. The company reportedly won't renew the permit, at least not immediately.

Perhaps it's for the best. In the wake of the fatal collision in Tempe, Arizona, earlier this month, it may be the only sure way to bolster pedestrian and bicyclist confidence that they won't suffer bodily injury or death due to someone's recklessness or the shortcomings of Uber's computer hardware or software. As readers will surely recall, a 49-year-old woman died when an Uber test vehicle hit her as she crossed a street.

Learn about your workers' comp rights before you are injured

Regardless of the industry in which you earn your living, you may be a victim of an occupational injury or illness. Knowing that your employer provides workers' compensation coverage could offer comfort. However, it might be a good idea for you to familiarize yourself with the rules, regulations and deadlines of the system before you suffer an injury.

The California workers' compensation program provides financial relief for any injury or illness you should suffer while doing your job. It could be the result of an on-the-job accident or a condition that developed over months or years of making the same repetitive motions.

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