Riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to get around. It’s quicker than walking and healthier and more earth-friendly than driving.
But riding a bike can also be dangerous, especially for cyclists who ride in the road as opposed to bike-only paths.
If you are involved in a bicycle accident in our state, our Houston bicycle accident lawyers can help you file a claim and will work hard to improve your chances of recovering your full compensation award. Please call today to learn more and get started.
Bicycle Laws in Texas
Before you start cruising around on your bicycle in Texas, it’s important to know Texas’s rules regarding bicycles.
Not only can following these rules help to keep you safe by reducing your risk of an accident, but following the law is also in your interests should you be involved in a crash. If you breach the law and this contributes to the accident, this could be used against you to reduce the value of your claim (more on this below). Some important bicycle laws that you should know include:
- You have the rights and responsibilities of all other motor vehicle operators;
- You must travel in the same direction of traffic;
- You must use hand and arm signals;
- When riding at night, a red reflector or rear red light and white light on the front of the bike is required; and
- The bike must be equipped with brakes.
Note that while Texas does not have a statewide bicycle helmet law, some cities or counties do have mandatory helmet laws.
Driver Behaviors that Lead to Cyclist Deaths
When drivers operate their vehicles in a negligent and careless manner, bicyclists are at risk of being injured in a crash. Examples of driver behaviors that lead to cyclist deaths include:
- Driving while intoxicated or impaired;
- Driving while excessively fatigued;
- Running stop signs or red lights;
- Turning or lane-changing without double-checking for cyclists (or pedestrians) first;
- Failing to provide bikes with enough following distance;
- Driving while distracted; and
- Violating any posted traffic rules or signs.
If you have been in a crash caused by a negligent driver in Texas, our bike injury attorney can help you to pursue a claim for damages and recover the compensation award that you deserve.
Steps to Take After a Bicycle Accident in Texas
Being involved in a bicycle accident can certainly be a traumatic experience, and if you’re feeling a little shell shocked immediately afterwards, that’s normal—no one expects you to be functioning normally right after a crash. But as soon as you can, you should start the process of filing an accident claim and taking steps to preserve your right to compensation. These steps include:
- Get as much information as possible. It’s important that you collect as much information as possible about how the accident occurred and who’s to blame as you can. Much of this information can be collected right at the scene. If injuries do not preclude you from doing so, be sure to get the driver’s name, contact information, and insurance information; the names and contact information of any witnesses; photographs of the accident scene; a copy of the police report; and any other important information. You should also write down what you remember about the accident and how you think it happened as soon as possible.
- Get the medical care you need. The next thing that you should focus on is getting the medical attention you need. Not only should you get medical attention, but you should follow your doctor’s orders and be sure to keep thorough records of all care received and medical bills.
- Start the insurance process. Even if you were riding your bike, you may have coverage for your injuries under your own car insurance policy, and you will certainly be covered if you have health insurance. But if the driver involved was to blame, then you should file a claim against that driver’s liability insurance. You must provide the insurer with notice of the accident as soon as possible after a crash, as the insurer has the right to investigate the accident, too.
- Call a lawyer. Dealing with the aftermath of a bicycle accident on your own can be traumatizing. To help you along the way and to offer support and legal guidance, don’t overlook the value of working with an experienced bicycle accident attorney.
Proportionate Responsibility in Texas
As mentioned above, if you breach a bicycle-related law and this breach causes or contributes to the accident and your injuries, or if you commit another act of negligence that contributes to your accident, this can be used against you to reduce the value of your claim.
This is because Texas recognizes a rule of proportionate responsibility, which bars plaintiffs from recovery in the event that their degree of fault is more than 50 percent, and which diminishes the value of recovery in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault if fault is 50 percent or less.
For example, if you are hit by a car and suffer $100,000 in damages but are found to be 20 percent to blame because a) you weren’t wearing a helmet and b) your bike wasn’t equipped with a light, then you will only be able to hold the driver liable for $80,000 worth of your damages.
Hire a Houston Bicycle Accident Lawyer
When you hire a bike accident lawyer from the Milano Legal Group Accident Attorneys, you can take confidence in the fact that you are hiring a legal professional who cares about you and will work hard on your behalf.
Our lawyers work on a 100 percent contingency fee basis, which means that we don’t get paid if you don’t. To learn more about working with us and how we can serve you, please call us today or send us a message requesting a free case review.