Each year in Texas, around 2,500 bicyclists are involved in accidents with motor vehicles. Hundreds of these crashes result in serious injuries, with many proving to be fatal. Just this month in Bexar County, a bicyclist was fatally injured by a driver who police say was traveling at a high speed, and who has since been charged with intoxication manslaughter. If you or a loved one is injured in a bike crash, you should understand your rights to recover compensation.
What Causes Texas Bike Accidents?
In many cases, an accident involving a car and a bicycle is the fault of the driver of the motor vehicle, due to their negligence in upholding a duty of care to others on the road. Driver negligence in a bike accident can take many different forms, including:
- Failing to yield the right of way - According to Texas law, bicyclists have the same rights and obligations as drivers of motor vehicles. As such, the rules regarding right of way are the same for bicycles and cars alike. When a driver fails to appropriately yield the right of way to a bicyclist at an intersection, a collision can occur.
- Passing too closely - Unlike many other states, Texas does not have a law specifying a safe distance that cars should maintain when passing bicycles on the road. However, if an accident occurs after a car gets too close to a bike, the driver may be considered negligent.
- Speeding - Driving at unsafe speeds, especially in school zones and urban and residential areas in which biking is common, makes it more difficult to avoid colliding with a bicycle that crosses the driver’s path.
- Drunk driving - Alcohol intoxication impairs a driver’s abilities to the extent that everyone else on the road, including bicyclists, may be in danger.
- Distracted driving - Because of their small size, bicycles can already be more difficult to detect than other motor vehicles. When drivers take their eyes off the road to use their phone or for any other reason, they are even more likely to miss seeing a bicyclist.
Injured bicyclists who can demonstrate driver negligence are often able to receive compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages. However, in order to avoid claims of contributory negligence, bicyclists should be sure to take all possible safety precautions when riding, including equipping their bikes with lights and reflectors, following traffic laws, and staying sober and alert.