Bikes are great for getting around and exercising, but they are not free from accidents. Here, a Houston bike accident lawyer explains how most bike accidents happen.
Like every other kind of road accident, bike accidents are bound to happen in Houston. However, learning about their causes will help us do better in avoiding them. There are a vast number of ways that bike traffic accidents can occur. But some of these reasons are more rampant than others—for example, drunk driving. If you suffer any injuries from a bike crash, an experienced bicycle accident attorney Houston will guide you on your next steps.
Bike riders do not enjoy the protection that the body of a car or truck provides their drivers. There are no airbags or seat belts when a bicycle crash occurs to buffer the effects. Therefore, bike riders are more vulnerable to neck injuries, head injuries (traumatic brain injuries), spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other severe and common injuries.
However, Texas bike laws are clear on the rights of bike riders. They enjoy equal privileges as other vehicles. So, what causes bikes to get involved in traffic crashes?
What Are the Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Houston?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 78% of most bike accidents happen largely in urban environments. There is a reason behind every bicycle crash. We look at some of the common reasons bike collisions happen.
You require mental and physical stability to control a bicycle successfully. If you have had some alcohol, it’s best to stay away from bike riding until the intoxication clears. To ensure this, always ensure that you do not consume any or too much alcohol too soon before.
In 2019, a study by the NHTSA revealed that of every four bike accidents, one involved a drunk rider. Other motorists aren’t left out either. A drunk driver could crash into a bike rider on the road. Therefore, enlightenment campaigns on the effects of alcohol on the road require continued and more intense attention.
Riding a bike in the fourth largest U.S city requires undivided attention. The larger the population, the higher the number of motorists who will share the road with you. Therefore, ensuring that the road has your attention will reduce the chances of collision.
Thankfully, Texas bike riding regulations accommodate provisions that discourage distracted driving. According to Texas law, it is illegal for a bike rider to cover both ears. If you have to use an earpiece for calls or music, ensure that you do not use both ears. If not, you could stop your bike or wait till you arrive at your destination before you use one.
Again other motorists play a part in causing bike accidents. A distracted driver could also crash their vehicle against a bicycle rider and even cause bicycle accident fatalities.
Houston roads get pretty dark between 6 pm and 9 pm. The NHTSA has discovered that more bike accidents happen during this time. Apart from the darkness, weather conditions can also reduce visibility for bicycle riders.
Also, how visible are you to other motorists? Ensure that you wear bright or reflective clothing when riding at night.
Bike riders could be moving too fast, whether out of excitement or urgency. Especially for young riders, the thrill and need for speed could be irresistible. However, safety should come first on the road.
You may never know when a dog or child could suddenly run across the road. Riding at high speeds will increase the chances of a bike crash.
The speed of any vehicle is a primary factor in the severity of a bicycle crash. Both bike riders and other motorists have a crucial role in reducing the growing cases of injured cyclists and fatalities.
Unsafe road conditions can make careful bike riders look careless. Bumpy roads could cause some of the most severe cyclist injuries, especially for cyclists new to the road. Also, when motorists try to swerve around bad spots at high speeds, they may crash into bicycle riders.
Avoid drowsy riding or driving as much as you can. Never ride when you should be taking a nap. Drowsy riding/driving causes horrible collisions and is a cause of some of the most terrible bike accidents. A drowsy and negligent driver could lose control of their car or truck and run into a cyclist.
Disregard for Traffic Signs and Laws
Even the most avid cyclists become more susceptible to accidents when they violate traffic laws. A common traffic law violation is riding against the flow of traffic. Other motorists have also hit oncoming cyclists when they violate this traffic rule.
Other traffic violations include disregard for traffic lights and driving without protective equipment like a bike helmet. Texas laws make bike helmets compulsory for bike riders under eighteen. Several municipalities maintain this regulation even for adult riders.
Many bike riders underestimate the need for bicycle helmets which reduces the impact of head injuries. Knee pads, elbow pads, and other safety gear prevent fractured bones.
Also, bikers and motorists will more likely avoid crashes if they pay attention to street signs and road markings. Texas laws also require bike riders to ride bicycles that fit their size and use headlamps and reflective clothing at night. Also, ensure that you stay on bicycle lanes, if available.
How Long After a Bike Accident Can You File a Claim?
In every state, there is a Statute of Limitations for bike accidents. Bike accident victims have a period allowed by law within which they can make a bicycle accident claim. Any claims beyond this period will be invalid.
In Houston, apart from some exceptions, bike crash victims have two years after the incident to file a bicycle accident injury claim.
What Do You Do After a Bicycle Accident?
There are several actions that bike accident victims should take at an accident scene. If you, unfortunately, get injured in a bicycle crash, here’s what you should do.
Call for Help
Dial 911 to call for help. The emergency dispatcher will ask you a few questions, which will include your location. Afterward, they will contact an emergency medical team close to your location. The dispatcher may also contact the local police in the vicinity.
When the emergency medical team shows up, do not decline treatment. Accepting treatment on the scene and afterward is important to the success of any possible injury claim you may file.
The insurance company of the fault party may argue that you declined treatment because you sustained no injuries. It is always wise to subject yourself to medical examination even when you are sure that you are perfectly fine. Many times, injuries may not show signs until moments after an incident.
Cooperate With the Police
The police have a duty to investigate every accident. Interviewing eyewitnesses and accident victims is one way they can develop an accident report. Feel free to respond to their questions.
Make sure not to downplay the severity of the accident or any injuries you may have sustained. The opposing team will scrutinize any statement you give to the police to decide whether you deserve fair compensation.
Document the Crash Scene
Record the accident scene if you aren’t severely injured and have a smartphone on you. Take photos, videos, and voice recordings. Ask someone to help you if you have sustained severe injuries and can’t do this yourself.
Get to Know Eyewitnesses
Eyewitnesses will solidify your injury claims. Meet any eyewitness on the scene and get their contact information. All you need are their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Witness statements are part of the valuable evidence.
Contact a Houston Bike Accident Lawyer
Contact a law firm to speak with an experienced Houston bike accident lawyer. You may not need to pay any initial lawyer fees, because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
A Houston bicycle accident attorney will guide you through the claims process and advise you on what claims you can apply for. These include economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include medical expenses, lost earnings, and future expenses. If your loved one or family member, unfortunately, lost their lives in a bike crash, you can file a wrongful death claim on their behalf. In such an instance, you will also get funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, diminished quality of life, and physical pain. If your relative got injured in a bicycle crash, you could file for loss of consortium.
Note that to get these compensatory damages, you must present documentary evidence. The preceding includes the police report, medical records, bills showing the cost of medical care, pay stubs, and receipts of out-of-pocket expenses relating to the accident.
A Houston Bike Accident Lawyer May Be Able to Help You Recover Compensation
At McDonald Worley, you will find a Houston bicycle accident attorney who understands your need for compensation. You have lost a lot from your accident, and the least you deserve is justice and fair compensation. That is why we are thorough and aggressive in our fight for financial compensation.
We will pursue your compensation till the end while you recover. Now is the best time to speak with an experienced Houston bike accident lawyer and start the legal process for financial recovery in motion. Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney.