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Bicycle Accident Lawyer in Texas
Vehicle collisions are always dangerous – especially when cyclists are the victims of these accidents. In 2017, 783 cyclists were killed in vehicle-bicycle collisions. In Texas alone, there were 2,687 vehicle-bicycle accidents, which resulted in 57 fatalities.
If you or a loved one were the victim of a bicycle accident, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney right away. Cyclists often suffer from serious injuries after being struck by cars, and they deserve compensation for their medical bills as well as their pain and suffering. The attorneys at Juan Hernandez Law will help you get the compensation you deserve after one of these serious accidents. And if your loved one was wrongfully killed as a result of a bike accident, we’ll help you get compensation for funeral costs, your mental anguish, and other damages.
How do Most Vehicle-Bicycle Collisions Occur?
Vehicle-bicycle collisions can occur for a number of reasons, and they’re most often due to the negligence of the car driver. The most common causes of motor vehicle collisions with cyclists include:
- Left turns. When turning left without an arrow, diligent drivers should watch out for cars coming from the opposite direction; in addition, they should also be watching out for cyclists. Whether on the street, in a bike lane, or on the sidewalk, when a cyclist is crossing the lane that the driver turning left is turning into, the cyclist has the right-of-way. When left-turning drivers don’t watch for bikes, cyclists can get seriously injured by a T-bone accident.
- Right turns. When turning right, drivers should watch out for cyclists riding close to the curb or in a bicycle lane to the driver’s right. Sometimes, accidents happen when impatient drivers overtake bicycles and try (but fail) to turn right before the cyclist has a chance to drive straight ahead. Other times, the collision occurs because the car’s driver was not paying attention.
- Pulling into the crosswalk. Sometimes, a car turning right will pull forward into the crosswalk so they can watch for an opening. Before doing so, a driver should always watch out for cyclists. If a bike rider is crossing or preparing to cross along the crosswalk at a high speed, they may not have enough time to fully brake before slamming into the side of the vehicle.
- Opening the door. Some streets allow vehicles to parallel park along them. In these cases, the driver should always watch for approaching cyclists before opening their door to exit the car. It’s unfortunately common for drivers to fail to do so, thus causing cyclists to slam into their car doors.
- Rear-end collisions. In general, bikes are slower than vehicles. Cyclists can also brake faster than vehicle drivers. When a driver fails to pay attention or keep a safe following distance, they may end up rear-ending a cyclist.
Most Common Bike Accident Injuries
Since cyclists have little-to-no protection when riding their bikes, being hit by a car usually leads to catastrophic and debilitating injuries. Some of the most common bike accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Severe fractures
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
Can a Biker be Liable for a Car-Bicycle Accident?
Yes, a biker can be liable for a car-bicycle collision. Since bicycles are considered vehicles, they are subject to the same traffic laws as cars. Liability for a car-bicycle collision is determined by figuring out who had the right-of-way. Since laws regarding stop signs, stop lights, safe following distance, and other rules of the road apply to both vehicles, either the car or the bike may be found at fault for the accident.
After a bike accident, it’s important to contact one of our personal injury attorneys. We’ll help you determine who is at fault for the accident – the driver or the cyclist. Even if fault is shared, you can still receive partial compensation for your damages if you are less than 50% at fault for the accident. This is known as modified comparative negligence, and it is a consideration in all Texas negligence cases.
Bicycle Laws in Texas
Cyclists are subject to the same laws as the operators of other vehicles in Texas. This includes requirements to stop at stop lights and stop signs, yield right-of-way when required, and follow all other applicable laws. The exception is when the law specifies that it applies to motor vehicles.
Texas has a few laws that specifically apply to cyclists:
- A cyclist shall ride as close as possible to the right curb when riding on a roadway. Exceptions to this rule include circumstances in which a cyclist is turning left or passing another vehicle.
- A bicycle may not be used to carry more persons than it was designed to carry.
- A cyclist may not ride while carrying an object that prevents them from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.
- A bicycle must have a working brake
- For a cyclist to ride at night, the bike must be equipped with a lamp in front and a red reflector in back
- Since DUI charges specifically apply to motor vehicles, a cyclist cannot receive such a charge. (However, they may receive a public intoxication charge if biking under the influence.)
Texas does not, however, have specific laws requiring the use of helmets or regarding the use of sidewalks vs roadways or bike paths for cycling. Some cities have additional laws that pertain to bicycles and cyclists; Dallas, Fort Worth, Amarillo, and Abilene are not among these cities.
How to Avoid a Bike Accident
Despite the fact that most bike accidents are caused by the car driver’s negligence, it’s still a good idea for cyclists to take steps to avoid collisions. These safety tips can help bike riders avoid some of the most common causes of bike accidents:
- Wear a helmet
- Use a bell to alert drivers and other cyclists to your presence
- Obey traffic signals and signs
- Ride in bike lanes when available
- When riding on the street or in a bike lane, always ride with the flow of traffic (not against it)
- Look out for car doors
- Make sure that drivers are paying attention to your presence before proceeding through an intersection
- Wear reflective clothing at night
- Don’t wear earbuds or headphones while cycling
Contact Juan Hernandez Law P.C.
After a bike accident, it’s important that you act quickly. As time passes, evidence disappears and the insurance companies will continuously pressure you to accept a settlement that is way less than you deserve. The attorneys at Juan Hernandez Law P.C. will help you file your lawsuit, deal with the insurance companies, and litigate your case.
Juan Hernandez has received board certification from the Texas Board of Legal Specialization to practice personal injury law. This is a certification that only 2% of Texas attorneys have elected to get. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with our team of legal experts. We have offices in Dallas, Amarillo, and Abilene.