Bicycle Accident Lawyer
On March 29, 2016, a driver ran over an Austin bicyclist and dragged her nearly a half mile before her bike became untangled with the undercarriage of the pickup truck. The driver fled the scene, but thanks to eyewitness accounts, police were able to find and arrest the driver the next day.
This horrific ordeal left the cyclist with severe injuries, and doctors had to amputate one of her legs. Other recent hit-and-run crashes proved fatal for cyclists – a Fort Worth father who had just started a new job was run down in a construction zone, and a Haltom City cyclist was struck by a drunk driver.
More and more Texans have been commuting via bicycle in recent years, and that’s also led to an increase in car-bicycle collisions – not just because there are more bicycles on the roads, but because of drivers who are inattentive, aggressive, or engaging in other irresponsible behavior.
Very few bicycle-car collisions are “accidents” – they’re crashes, usually caused by either cyclist or driver error. And one cyclist in Boulder, Colo., says that drivers who cause deadly bicycle crashes have a history of being hostile to cyclists. To raise awareness of this threat, he started a website called Close Call Database, where cyclists can report events such as being run off the road, yelled at, honked at, and other harassment.
Police had cited the man years earlier for running two cyclists off the road, and he had also been previously charged with reckless endangerment for forcing a cyclist into oncoming traffic.
Road rage appears to be a factor in some Texas crashes, too. In 2015, a motorist in Austin was arrested after an incident that began with him honking at a cyclist, pulling up alongside the cyclist and yelling at him, then pulling in front of the cyclist and braking, causing the cyclist to crash into the back of his truck.
The Right of Way
It’s no secret that major cities in Texas have plenty of frustrating traffic jams – conditions which could make motorists more intolerant of cyclists in the roadways. But in some parts of Austin, there are no bike lanes, and along some downtown streets, bicyclists are not allowed to travel on sidewalks.
Austin city code grants cyclists the right to ride in the right hand lane of a multi-lane road. If the right lane is a parking lane, cyclists may ride in the middle lane, and on a road with no lanes, cyclists are allowed to be on the roadway, staying close to the right edge of the road.
Even when cyclists follow traffic rules, drivers sometimes lose their temper, assuming bicycles should not be in the roadway. Some people say the key to reducing crashes between cars and bicycles is changing driver attitudes.
Bicyclist Crash Studies
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015 found that in the period between 1998 and 2013:
- Bike injuries among adults increased 28 percent.
- Adult hospitalizations from bike injuries increased 120 percent.
- The increase in injuries for people older than 45 increased by 80 percent – the most significant jump in injuries among all age groups.
Most cyclists understand the importance of wearing a helmet in preventing severe and fatal head injuries. But other types of injuries may be harder to prevent. A study released in 2016 examined the impact of shoulder injuries in bicycle crashes by reviewing the cases of 157 people who sought emergency room treatment for shoulder injuries from bike crashes. Researchers found 84 percent of those patients suffered a direct blow to the shoulder, and the most common injuries were clavicle fractures, dislocated joints, and torn rotator cuffs, all of which could cause long-term complications. Researchers noted that no safety gear exists explicitly for protecting a cyclist’s shoulders in a crash.
Cyclists can do their part to prevent crashes by wearing bright clothing, outfitting bikes with lights and reflectors, and observing traffic rules. And in the city of Austin, riders can take safety courses designed to enhance their skills or to prepare them for emergency scenarios.
Contact One of Our Bicycle Accident Attorneys Today
Attorney Chip Evans has worked tirelessly to help Texans who have been injured due to another person’s actions. If you’ve suffered an injury in a bicycle crash, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the responsible parties. Find out what we can do for you. Request your no-obligation consultation today by filling out our online form or calling the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm at 1-855-414-1012.