A bicyclist was recently struck and killed by a drunk driver near I-10 and The Dominion. The deceased was an older man, who had been in a marked bicycle lane, wearing a helmet and otherwise taking all the necessary precautions, but a woman driving a white SUV struck him from the side and he died at the scene. These types of bicycling accidents are not common, per se, but they are more common than they should be, especially since it is fairly obvious that a bicyclist is not going to be as well protected in a crash as the driver or passenger of an automobile. If you have been struck by a reckless or negligent driver, you may be able to bring suit against them to try and recover for any medical expenses you may sustain.
Texas Bike Laws Insufficient
Despite having such a large population, Texas does not have many laws in place which protect bicyclists specifically. A few are on the books – for example, Texas has laws against “dooring,” which is suddenly opening a car door without properly checking for cyclists or anyone else in the bicycle lane. Also, Texas does define a ‘vehicle’ in such a way as to include bicyclists, which grants them both the rights and duties of any other driver. However, many other regulations could be in effect, and Texas either chooses to ignore them or to leave them to the cities to pass individually.
For example, some states have what is called a safe passing law – requiring motorists to leave space, usually at least three feet, when passing a bicyclist, so the bicyclist does not have to correct course or react hastily to avoid the passing car. Texas has no safe passing law. Cities like San Antonio, New Braunfels, and El Paso have their own city ordinances for this, but enforcement may not be as widespread. The same pattern is true with laws regarding bicycle helmet use – no statewide requirement exists, though many cities have passed helmet laws both for children and adults.
If You Are Injured
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident due to someone else’s reckless or negligent conduct, you may be able to obtain compensation for your medical bills from them or their insurer. Generally, in Texas, every motorist or road user has a duty to exercise reasonable care when it comes to the other people on the road. Showing that someone’s conduct was negligent means showing that the person breached that duty – in other words, showing they did not exercise reasonable care and that that conduct was the direct result of the harm you suffered.
Keep in mind that in many cases, you will still have a chance to recover even if you were breaking a law or otherwise somehow might be partly responsible for your own injuries. Texas observes a common-law concept called comparative fault, meaning that even if you can be held partially responsible, you may still recover if your percentage of fault is lower than 50 percent. If, for example, you are deemed to have been 20 percent at fault for your injuries, you may still be awarded 80 percent of your costs if the court finds the defendant liable.
Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney
Bicycle accident cases can be difficult even if the driver involved is not under the influence. If you have been injured, contacting a knowledgeable bicycle accident lawyer can help ensure that your case is handled in a manner that gives you the best chance of recovery, as too often, lawyers and insurance companies can make these cases much more difficult than they need to be. The dedicated New Braunfels bicycle accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to sit down with you and try to help you decide the best path for you. Call us today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.