Table of contents
- The Increase in Bicycle Accidents and Deaths in Texas
- What Are the Most Common Injuries That Occur From a Bicycle Accident?
- Bicycle Laws That All Cyclists Should Be Aware Of
- Can I Claim Compensation If I Was In a Bicycle Accident?
- Bicyclist Accidents FAQs
- Additional Resources:
When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, the entire world seemed to come to a screeching halt. Public spaces, such as workplaces, gyms, public transportation, and office buildings completely shut down, leaving people stuck at home. But one thing people could still do was pick up their old bicycle or buy a new one to take to the streets and exercise.
According to the United States Bureau of Economic Analysis, $8.3 billion was spent on bicycles and bicycle accessories in 2021. Bicycles proved to be a fun, safe, and effective way for people to get exercise, hang out with family, and take advantage of the quietness that blanketed the earth during this time.
The sudden increase in cyclists caused many cities across the United States to make more bicycle-accessible lanes and sidewalks. This in turn led to more people buying bicycles. But as the pandemic began to end and people began driving more, bicycle accidents increased.
There is an obvious disconnect between bicycle access and bicyclist safety in major cities. Roads, such as the ones in major cities in Texas like Dallas, may have bicycle lanes and sidewalks, but they are predominantly built to support cars. This, the increase in bicyclists on the road, and drivers being unaware of how to safely maneuver around bicyclists has led to an increase in accidents and deaths across the United States and Texas.
The Increase in Bicycle Accidents and Deaths in Texas
Every year, about 2% of motor vehicle deaths in the United States are bicyclists. In 2021, there were a total of 966 bicyclist deaths in the United States. The state of Texas had 92 of these deaths. This was a 12% increase in fatalities from 2020.
What Has Caused the Increase in Bicycle Crashes?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the biggest causes of bicycle accidents has been the increase of bicyclists on the road with both drivers and cyclists being unaware of behaviors that can keep them safe. Plus, while many may claim to know that a bicyclist has the same rights and responsibilities on the road as a driver, they often don’t act like it.
Some drivers fail to give cyclists enough room when passing them, causing the cyclist to lose control of their bike as they try to get out of the driver’s way. On the flip side, many cyclists assume that they have the right of way and may try to pass between cars unsafely.
Cyclists and drivers both have a responsibility to each other to ensure that they follow all traffic laws, respect each other, and ensure that they are doing all they can to protect others and themselves while on the road. Here are a few tips to keep both drivers and cyclists safe while on the road and to help decrease the risk of accidents.
Steps Cyclists Can Take to Avoid Accidents and Injuries:
- Always wear a helmet when you ride.
- Use a bell to alert drivers and other cyclists to your presence.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs.
- Ride in bike lanes or on sidewalks when available.
- When riding on a street or in the bike lane, always ride with the flow of traffic—never try to ride against it.
- Look out for car doors.
- Make sure that drivers are paying attention or are aware of your presence before you try to go through an intersection.
- Make sure to wear reflective clothing at nighttime.
- Don’t wear headphones or earbuds when you ride to ensure that you can hear and be aware of all that is happening.
Steps Drivers Can Take to Avoid Accidents With Bicyclists:
Drivers can take steps to make the roads safer for both drivers of automobiles and cyclists by practicing the following:
- Double-check traffic at intersections before turning or pulling out into the street.
- Always check your vehicle’s blind spots for cyclists before turning or changing lanes.
- Signal well before you turn so that a cyclist can see and knows your intentions.
- Make sure you know what the hand signs mean from a cyclist.
- Avoid passing a cyclist before you turn at an intersection.
- Give cyclists extra time to cross intersections.
- Slow down and allow plenty of space when passing by a cyclist, about four feet.
- Don’t honk your horn at a cyclist unless necessary.
- Look around for cyclists before you open your door.
What Are the Most Common Injuries That Occur From a Bicycle Accident?
Bicycle accidents are often horrific due to there being little to no protection from the bike. While helmets can be used to protect the head, the rest of a cyclist’s body is exposed as opposed to a driver being protected by the body of the car. These are the most common types of injuries that come from a bicycle accident:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Severe fractures
- Road rash
- Soft tissue injuries
- Wrongful death
Bicycle Laws That All Cyclists Should Be Aware Of
A bicyclist is 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 the right-of-way when required, and follow all other applicable laws. Texas has a few laws that apply only to bicyclists, which are:
- Cyclists shall ride as close to the right curb as they can when riding on a roadway. They are allowed to move away from the curb when turning left or passing another vehicle.
- A cyclist may not carry more people 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
- All bicycles must have a working brake.
- Any cyclist that wishes to ride at night must ensure that their bike is equipped with a lamp in front and a red reflector in the back.
- Since DUI charges specifically apply to motor vehicles, a cyclist cannot receive a charge for driving while intoxicated. However, they can receive a public intoxication charge.
Can I Claim Compensation If I Was In a Bicycle Accident?
If you or a loved one are injured in a bicycle accident, you will need to act quickly. The insurance companies will be pressing you to accept compensation that is less than you deserve. The experienced bicycle accident attorneys at the Hernandez Law Group, P.C. will not let that happen. We know all too well that the number of bicycle accidents and deaths has risen in Texas, and we are doing everything in our power to spread awareness while ensuring those who are injured or whose loved one was wrongfully taken from them are protected. We do this by helping you get the compensation you deserve.
Contact our attorneys today for more information on our services or to schedule a free no-obligation consultation to go over the specifics of your case. With highly qualified attorneys such as Juan Hernandez, who is one of 2% of Texas attorneys Texas Board Certified in Personal Injury Law, you can rest assured that you are in good hands.
Bicyclist Accidents FAQs
Typically, the driver of the vehicle is at fault in these accidents. But if the bicyclist swerved in front of the car or other such action, they may be found at fault.
If you are in an accident with a bicyclist and you are at fault, the victim will usually approach your insurance company to recover damages caused by the accident. If they cannot reach a settlement agreement with your insurer, they can take the case to court.
Three common accidents are as follows:
1. Rear-end Collisions
2. Opening the Door to a Car and Hitting a Bicyclist
3. Right Turn Accidents
Yes, most of the time your car insurance will cover instances where you get into an accident with a bicycle. This typically falls under the uninsured motorist coverage of your car insurance.