The Bettersworth Law Firm

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS! CALL NOW!

Call Us830-606-0404   888-392-0039

New Braunfels San Marcos San Antonio Sequin Austin
Recent blog posts

Pedestrians and cyclists are routinely the victims of traffic accidents in Texas, and while sometimes it is due to their own negligence, very often it is also due to the recklessness or negligence of drivers. Because non-drivers are at such a relative disadvantage on the road, many cities in Texas have enacted what are called vulnerable road user (VRU) ordinances, designed to safeguard those who might otherwise wind up with medical bills they can ill afford to pay.

Power Imbalances on the Road

Most jurisdictions define vulnerable road users as exactly that - people on the road that have less protection (usually physical, but also sometimes legal) such as pedestrians and bicyclists. The term can also be defined by age group or physical characteristics - young children and the elderly are often placed in the VRU category. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement that a VRU be classed as a pedestrian, as opposed to a vehicle - bicycles and motorcycles are considered vehicles under Texas law, and they are covered by many VRU ordinances.

Because drivers of cars and trucks are better protected and will often have more time to react in the event of a crash, VRU ordinances have begun to be passed in many major cities - in Texas, the first to appear were in Houston and Austin, although Midland, San Antonio, and Dallas have all either passed provisional bills or are in the process of doing so. As of this writing, five states have passed VRU ordinances, but Texas is not yet one of them, so the city ordinances provide important, if patchy, protection.

...

TX accident lawyerRoad improvements in late 2018 were meant to streamline traffic in Helotes, but residents at a town hall meeting on June 10, 2019, were airing some troubling concerns. More specifically, residents and local workers informed the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) representative present at the meeting that far from streamlining traffic, the finished construction project created what is essentially a blind curve at the intersection of FM 1560 and Bandera Road, as well as a near-blind intersection at FM 1560 and Riggs Road, nearby. If you are involved in an accident of this type, that can be attributed to poor city planning, it is possible to win compensation for your injuries, but it can be difficult without an experienced attorney to help.

Government Liability for Accidents Is Specific

Road accidents happen every day, and while most of them are due to the negligence of one or more drivers involved, there is a subset of car crashes that happen as a direct result of poor road maintenance or planning. Road maintenance issues like potholes, missing guardrails or signs, poor drainage, or unmarked drop-offs can sometimes even be a result of poor planning - for example, using the wrong grade of concrete or other materials can lead to an uneven surface to drive on, or it can upset the water table to the point where signs or lights cannot be installed.

There are also other potential road safety issues that can plausibly be laid at the door of the entity that handles the maintenance for that particular thoroughfare. For example, construction zones often create safety issues through lack of signs, lights, or other clear markings - TxDOT data reports just over 27,000 crashes in work zones in 2017. Another common cause of traffic crashes is debris on the road - for example, items falling off trucks or natural debris like rocks or dirt. The maintaining entity has a duty to clear the road as soon as possible, and sometimes this simply does not happen.

...

TX crash attorneyA front-end crash between an SUV and a motorcyclist has left one man dead and one woman with “potentially life-threatening” injuries. The driver of the SUV was attempting to avoid hitting a vehicle that suddenly stopped in front of him on East Oltorf, and instead swung into traffic, striking the motorcyclist. The young man was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries, while the woman’s condition is unknown as of this writing. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in accidents involving motorcyclists, as they have so much less protection to rely on in the event of a crash. If you have been injured in a crash with an automobile, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Motorcyclists Are at Greater Risk

Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that motorcyclists are roughly 28 times more likely to die in traffic crashes than automobile drivers or passengers. In Texas, fatal crashes involving motorcyclists made up approximately 10 percent of the total, even though motorcyclists only make up around 5 percent of drivers at any one time. There are multiple reasons for this, and very often, the fault does not lie with the motorcyclist.

Causes for motorcycle crashes are legion, but many of them revolve around inattention or ignorance on the part of an automobile driver. For example, one of the most common fact patterns in motorcycle accidents is for an automobile driver to turn left, not seeing the motorcycle in their blind spot. Another common scenario is being unaware of a motorcyclist’s presence at all, whether due to cycles’ small sizes or to another type of carelessness.

...

TX injury lawyerJust after midnight going into May 22, a motorcyclist was injured when he was struck by a vehicle heading westbound on Loop 410. While the driver appeared to be uninjured, the motorcyclist required hospitalization. As of this writing, nothing is known about his present condition, but San Antonio law enforcement stated that fault for the crash was unclear. Unless a determination is later made that the motorcyclist was predominantly at fault, they would do well to bring suit against the vehicle that struck them, because too many drivers are not held accountable for their carelessness in such accidents, and motorcyclists’ injuries can be extremely severe.

Fatality Rates Are High

2017 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimate that approximately 5,200 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes nationwide, which represents a 3 percent drop from the previous year. The same data estimates that motorcyclists are a whopping 28 times more likely to die in motor vehicle accidents than passenger car occupants. They make up approximately 14 percent of all road deaths, even though motorcyclists are only around 3 percent of those on the road at any given time.

There are multiple reasons for these trends. Some of them do have to do with rider negligence - the NHTSA estimates that almost 30 percent of cyclists killed in traffic crashes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of their crash. Others are more the fault of automobile drivers - for example, one of the most common crash patterns is when a car will try to turn left, having failed to check their blind spots for motorcyclists. Lack of awareness among automobile drivers is a major cause of motorcycle crashes.

...

TX injury lawyerOn February 1, a woman in a Toyota Camry struck a cyclist, knocking him off his bicycle near the area where West 35th Street becomes West 38th Street in Austin. She declined to remain at the scene of the accident, saying she had ‘somewhere to be,’ but provided a phone number. On May 23, the police determined that the number the woman had given was fake, and an arrest warrant for failing to stop and render aid was subsequently issued. If you are ever involved in a bicycle accident, this is perhaps the least appropriate thing you could possibly do, and it may very well result in your being convicted of a third-degree felony - it is critical to be aware of Texas law surrounding this type of crash.

Statistics Show Specific Trends

Bicycling accidents are common, but among reported accidents, it is possible to determine certain trends and prepare accordingly. For example, statistics from Share The Road Texas seem to establish a possible link between gender and age and likelihood of injury, with 81 percent of recorded crash victims being male, and roughly 60 percent being under the age of 25. While some young people are obviously more careful than others, some do tend to take risks while operating a vehicle, and it can, unfortunately, result in significant injury.

Speed is also a major factor. The data shows that more bicycle fatalities occur on roads with higher speed limits, as one might imagine, but more injuries actually occur on roads with lower limits. Bexar County posted the fourth-highest injury total for bicyclists in the years tracked, and while some of the total is due to sheer population, it can also plausibly be due to speed. Many cities impose 45 mph speed limits, but within Austin, speeds can get as high as 65 mph (or could until recently). The woman in the Camry was allegedly speeding when she struck the cyclist, which may compound her problems.

...

The sooner you call, the sooner we can build your case, secure evidence and get maximum compensation for your injuries.

Texas Trial Lawyesr Association State Bar of Texas San Antonio Trial Lawyers Association
Back to Top