San Antonio Bicycle Accident Lawyers

San Antonio is a bicycle friendly community. About 2 percent of the city’s workers commute on bikes, which means that every day nearly 2,000 cyclists are on the city’s streets during rush hour.

Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are common in San Antonio. Riding a bicycle on the city’s roadways is more dangerous than driving a car, due to the potential for a dangerous collision with a vehicle. When a car and bike collide, the cyclist often projects off the bike and into the road. Depending on the rider’s height, his or her head will hit the ground at a speed ranging from 9.5 to 13.4 miles per hour. The bottom line is that, when collisions happen, cyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death because they don’t have an enclosed vehicle for protection. Learn more from our experienced San Antonio bicycle accident lawyers about how to recover compensation after your crash. 

According to Share the Road Texas, a bicycle advocacy organization, between 2010 and 2016 there were 16,807 crashes in Texas involving bicycles, resulting in 9,769 injuries, 5,646 possible injuries and 362 fatalities. Unfortunately, Bexar County ranks as one of the top ten counties in Texas for both total numbers of bicycle accidents and fatalities.

Even these striking numbers do not paint a full picture of the physical, emotional, and financial devastation a bike accident can bring on victims and their families. Losing a family member to a bicycle accident causes enormous emotional suffering, and also frequently the loss of that loved one’s income and support. Bike accident victims who survive with severe injuries often require long-term medical care and services. They lose time at work and struggle to return to a normal life. They also can end up buried under piles of bills they never planned for.

Biking is becoming ever more popular for the ease and affordability it provides commuters and for its healthy dose of exercise and decreased carbon footprint. When cyclists take to the road, however, the surrounding traffic obviously leaves them vulnerable. When motorists fail to observe the rules of sharing the road, they endanger the cyclists around them and cause serious accidents and injuries.

Bike accidents can be especially dangerous and traumatizing, and if a motorist’s negligence has caused you to suffer an injury, you need legal counsel from experienced San Antonio bicycle accident lawyers. Please contact the Law Offices of George Salinas to discuss your case. 

The Perils of Sharing the Road: Driver vs. Cyclist

San Antonio is a bicycle friendly community. About 2 percent of the city’s workers commute on bikes, which means that every day nearly 2,000 cyclists are on the city’s streets during rush hour.

Unfortunately, bicycle accidents are common in San Antonio. Riding a bicycle on the city’s roadways is more dangerous than driving a car, due to the potential for a dangerous collision. When a car and bike collide, the cyclist often projects off the bike and into the road. Depending on the rider’s height, his or her head will hit the ground at a speed ranging from 9.5 to 13.4 miles per hour. The bottom line is that, when collisions happen, cyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death because they don’t have an enclosed vehicle for protection. Unfortunately, Bexar County ranks as one of the top ten counties in Texas for both total numbers of bicycle accidents and fatalities.

Crashes and Injuries In San Antonio

Source: www.txdot.gov

Why Do Bicycle Accidents Happen 

Collisions between cars and bikes are commonplace in San Antonio, and usually the driver is at fault for the accident. Below we discuss some of the most common accident scenarios:

  • When a car pulls out of a side street, alley, driveway, or parking lot exit to a cyclist’s right, it is often impossible for the cyclist to avoid colliding with the side of the car. The vehicle pulling out is required to yield the right of way to the cyclist.
  • A car passes a bicyclist, then cuts the cyclist off when making a right turn. A driver is required to leave a safe distance when passing a bicycle.
  • The driver of a parked vehicle opens a door in front of a bicyclist, and there is not enough time for the biker to stop or swerve out of the way. This is a violation of the cyclist’s right of way.
  • A motor vehicle driver rear-ends a cyclist. Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance behind a bicycle.

Drivers are always required to leave a safe distance when they pass a bicycle. San Antonio has adopted a safe passing ordinance, which specifies a minimum of three feet for cars and six feet for commercial or large trucks.

In San Antonio Cyclists Have the Same Rights and Responsibilities as Drivers

Cyclist vs Vehicle Accidents in San Antonio

Under Texas law, an individual operating a bicycle has all the same rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a vehicle.

Cyclists have a right to be protected from aggressive driving practices and traffic violations that threaten their safety. Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Cutting off drivers
  • Driving on shoulders, medians, or sidewalks
  • Failing to obey traffic regulations or signs
  • Not using a turn signal while changing lanes
  • Illegal passing
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Road rage

Cyclists also must abide by certain laws meant to ensure their safety, including the responsibility to:

  • Obey all traffic signals and signs
  • Ride as near as practical to the right curb or edge of the roadway
  • Ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it

Bicycle Accident Risk Factors

The road’s risk factors for cyclists are significant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that bike trips account for about 1 percent of all U.S. road trips, but that bikers are at much greater risk of enduring crash-related injuries or of becoming crash fatalities than drivers.

Collisions between cars and bikes, then, are commonplace in San Antonio.

Drivers are always required to leave a safe distance when they pass a bicycle. San Antonio has adopted a safe passing ordinance, which specifies a minimum of three feet for cars and six feet for commercial or large trucks.

Even with enhanced safety interventions such as bike helmets and bike helmet laws, active lighting and reflective gear, and improved and more plentiful bike lanes, the roads are so dangerous for cyclists that you must remain hyper-vigilant.

Most bicycle-related injuries stem from trauma to the head and upper or lower extremities. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Musculoskeletal trauma
  • Nerve damage

Injuries sustained in bicycle accidents often take a long time to heal, and they may even lead to permanent disability. In case of serious or catastrophic injuries, losses are calculated with regard to monetary value, which can be a complicated process, as recovery may take months, years, or even a lifetime. Any potential personal injury case needs to reflect not just the lost wages and immediate expenses, but also your injury’s impact on your ability to make a living in the future. With extensive experience in personal injury law, the legal team at the Law Offices of George Salinas can help you and your family seek justice following an accident.

Take Control of the Situation

Bike Accident Attorney in San AntonioAccidents happen. If you are the victim of a roadway accident, you should take certain steps to ensure that you protect your legal right to compensation. Having solid evidence can help ensure the success of your personal injury claim. Following an accident, make sure to:

  • Contact law enforcement and request that emergency responders evaluate all injuries
  • Document as many details as you can. A police accident report is a valuable document, so make sure to ask for one.
  • Take notes of the vehicle’s license plate number, color, make, and model. Also take note of the direction the vehicle left in and any physical characteristics of the driver
  • Take pictures of your injuries, your bike, skid marks on the road, and any other relevant property damage.
  • Ask witnesses to stay and speak to law enforcement.
  • In a hit and run situation, witnesses can strengthen your case and possibly help authorities track down the driver.

What Can Bicyclists Do to Stay Safe?

Cyclists should take the following precautions to ensure their safety:

  • Always ride with the traffic.
  • Stop and look in both directions before entering a roadway or intersection.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Remember, drivers may not see you when you pass.
  • Ride defensively.
  • Avoid erratic and unpredictable moves.
  • Use dedicated cycling lanes where they are available.

Bicycle Crash Statistics 

The CDC further relays that more than 1,000 bike fatalities and nearly 467,000 bike injuries took place in 2015. Serious bike accidents happen. In fact, after Florida and California, Texas was third in bicycle fatalities in 2015. When you take to the streets of San Antonio on your bike, remember that it’s dangerous out there.

Though biking leaves you vulnerable to the misconduct of other drivers, the weather, and road conditions, you can take steps to bike more safely:

  • Always wear a well-fitting bike helmet, even though neither the state of Texas nor the city of San Antonio currently has a bike helmet law.
  • Wear fluorescent clothing—which affords greater visibility—when biking during daylight hours.
  • Wear retro-reflective clothing for visibility when biking at night.
  • Employ active lighting on your bike, including a white light in the front and a red light at the rear.

Cyclists Have the Same Rights and Responsibilities as Drivers

Under Texas law, a person operating a bicycle has all the same rights and duties applicable to a driver operating a motor vehicle.

Cyclists have a right to be protected from aggressive driving practices and traffic violations that threaten their safety. Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Cutting off drivers
  • Driving on shoulders, medians, or sidewalks
  • Failing to obey traffic regulations or signs
  • Not using a turn signal while changing lanes
  • Illegal passing
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Road rage

Cyclists also must abide by certain laws meant to ensure their safety, including the responsibility to:

  • Obey all traffic signals and signs
  • Ride as near as practical to the right curb or edge of the roadway
  • Ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it
  • Stop and look in both directions before entering a roadway or intersection.
  • Use hand signals.
  • Remember, drivers may not see you when you pass.
  • Ride defensively.
  • Avoid erratic and unpredictable moves.
  • Use dedicated cycling lanes where they are available.

Common Bike Accident Injuries

While every bike accident is unique, several serious injuries are often associated with such accidents, and most stem from trauma to the head and upper or lower extremities. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Broken bones, or dislocated joints, or musculoskeletal trauma - With an impact, a biker is often thrown against a hard surface, and broken and fractured bones are a common consequence. Such injuries often lead to significant pain and discomfort, are slow to heal, and can have long-lasting negative effects, including chronic pain or a permanent disability.
  • Blunt force trauma - When cyclists are thrown from their bikes, the resulting non-penetrative injuries can substantially bruise and rupture internal organs, and these injuries are sometimes irreparable. Blunt force trauma can lead to life-threatening conditions.
  • Traumatic brain injuries - Bicycle accidents frequently result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can be especially difficult and dangerous. Such injuries usually occur when the rider experiences a sudden blow or jolt to the head, neck, or body, which then leads to some degree of brain malfunctioning. TBIs can range from mild to severe (a concussion, for example, is a milder form of TBI), but the precipitating accident doesn’t have to be extreme to result in a traumatic brain injury. TBIs often go undetected until they later result in serious health problems, are difficult to treat, and can have tremendous negative physical and emotional consequences.
  • Nerve damage.

Injuries sustained in bicycle accidents often take a long time to heal, and they may even lead to permanent disability. In case of serious or catastrophic injuries, losses are calculated with regard to monetary value, which can be a complicated process, as recovery may take months, years, or even a lifetime. Any potential personal injury case needs to reflect not just the lost wages and immediate expenses, but also your injury’s impact on your ability to make a living in the future. With extensive experience in personal injury law, the legal team at the Law Offices of George Salinas can help you and your family seek justice following an accident.

Common Causes and Fault in Bicycle Accidents

Again, every bike accident is unique to the circumstances of the specific accident, but some instances of driver negligence regularly lead to bike accidents:

  • Pulling out from a side street - When motorists pull out of side streets or parking lots, they typically check for oncoming traffic in the road’s center, but frequently fail to survey the side road or bike lane. The vehicle pulling out is required to yield the right of way to the cyclist. It is often impossible for the cyclist to avoid colliding with the side of the car, and bicyclists often pay the price for this negligence.
  • Opening car doors into cyclists - Drivers who obliviously open their car doors into traffic endanger cyclists in their midst violate cyclists’ right of way—and these drivers risk hitting or being hit by a passing biker. Parked motorists are charged with checking for oncoming traffic (including bikes) and with not opening their traffic-facing doors until it is reasonably safe to do so.
  • Turning right in front of a bike - When drivers make right-hand turns, they naturally check for oncoming traffic from the left but may forget to check the bike lane to the right. This can cause a motorist to turn a vehicle into a biker who’s on the right.
  • Passing a bike that’s moving in the same direction - Because Texas hasn’t adopted a statewide law governing the necessary safe distance for passing bikes on the road, drivers do not always stay far enough away from bikes when passing, and passing too closely endangers bikers. Drivers are always required to leave a safe distance when they pass a bicycle. San Antonio has adopted a safe passing ordinance, which specifies a minimum of three feet for cars and six feet for commercial or large trucks.
  • A motor vehicle driver rear-ends a cyclist. Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance behind a bicycle.

The roadways themselves can even play a significant role in causing bike crashes. When roads, bike lanes, and bike paths aren’t kept in safe, working condition, bike accidents can ensue. In such instances, the city’s responsibility becomes an important factor.

San Antonio Bicycle Accident FAQ

What Can Cause a Bike Accident?

In one recent year, 45,000 bicycle accidents took place in the United States. Bike accidents frequently take place because an automobile driver suddenly pulls in front of an oncoming cyclist. These accidents occur, in part, because many cities around the country do not have designated bike lanes—forcing cars and bikes to share the same space. Collisions between cars and bikes often result in severe bodily harm for the rider, since their entire body can face the full impact of the crash. In fact, cyclists account for around 2 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths per year.

But, automobiles are not the only reason bike accidents occur. Bikes are less stable than their four-wheel counterparts and are more vulnerable to hazards in the road. Potholes are a prime example. Serious falls can occur if a cyclist catches their tire in a pothole while traveling at high speeds. Other obstructions in the road, such as debris or ice, can also cause bike riders to lose control and crash.

How can motorists prevent bike accidents?

They need to pay attention to driving and only driving. They cannot allow distractions, alcohol or drugs, or impatience to get in the way of driving safely. They need to look for bicyclists and give them the space they need to ride safely on the road.

If a driver hurts you after failing in these or other duties, call our San Antonio bike accident lawyers right away for help seeking the compensation you deserve.

Should I call 911 even if no one has any injuries?

Yes. You may find it difficult to think clearly after an accident. Even if you do not think you have a serious injury, you should still call 911. A severe injury may not be apparent immediately following the accident, as pain from the accident may not set in until hours or even days afterward. Also, right after an accident, you are likely disoriented and cannot adequately and accurately evaluate yourself. Have an emergency medical professional assess your condition at the scene.

Additionally, the police can document the accident and its aftermath. The police will often make an accident report. The report documents observations from the scene of the accident, the procedure involved, and the opinions of the police officer regarding what happened. This report can be valuable later on. Portions of the report may be entered as evidence in a legal proceeding and used to help prove fault to your insurance company. It is one of the most reliable ways to help adequately document the accident.

Finally, police officers and first responders may document the accident in other ways. For example, they may take photographs and speak with witnesses. These records may be helpful if you do decide to take legal action. Officers and medical personnel may also testify in court.

Do I have to take legal action right away?

No. The consequences of the accident may take days to manifest. It is difficult to predict the severity of injuries, the costs of medical bills, and emotional trauma that could follow a serious bike accident. Do not decide to take legal action in haste.

However, the injured party does not have an unlimited amount of time to make a decision. Texas law imposes a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. Such statutes require the injured party to file a claim within two years of the accident.

An experienced bicycle accident attorney could advise you of the options available, and help you make an informed decision.

Should I talk with a bike accident attorney even if I only suffered minor injuries?

Yes. Speak with a bike accident attorney as soon as possible. Again, you may not realize the extent of your injuries until some time has passed since the accident. You should also note that, if you decide to file an insurance claim, being represented by an attorney can help increase your chances of getting a better deal.

Additionally, if other parties experienced injuries to their person or property, you might be on the receiving end of a legal claim after an accident. Regardless, consulting with a personal injury attorney after an accident is the best way to help protect your rights and interests.

Who can I sue?

The answer to this question is more complicated than people may think. The answer is, potentially many different people or entities. To have a chance at succeeding, a plaintiff must connect the actions of the other party/parties to their injuries. The most straightforward example is a driver that hits you with their vehicle; but, it may not end there. Other defendants in the action may include the automobile manufacturer and the bike manufacturer. If poor road conditions caused your accident, the civic entities responsible for road maintenance may also hold liability. 

What are damages?

Damages are a type of compensation awarded by the court for a wrong suffered. In personal injury law, the court may assign a monetary value to damages. Nobody can tell you exactly how much a case is worth in terms of damages, even for an experienced attorney. However, courts usually calculate damages after considering many factors. They may consider the amount of pain and suffering the defendant endured, in addition to the value of damaged property, hospital bills, and lost wages.

In certain situations, damages may exceed what may be necessary to compensate the plaintiff. These are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and send a message that their behavior was unacceptable. The court will only award these damages in extreme situations, such as if the court determines that certain conduct was particularly dangerous to society.

What is negligence?

Negligence is a violation of a duty that results in an injury. Many bike accident lawsuits are brought under a theory of negligence. To bring a claim for negligence, an injured party must demonstrate that the other party owed them a duty of care, they violated that duty, an injury resulted from the violation, and the injury was the direct result of that violation. For example, if you are crossing the street on your bike and a distracted driver runs a stop sign and hits you, you may argue that the driver has committed a negligent act.

What is my case worth?

Predicting a case’s value is an imprecise science. Attorneys generally look at a variety of factors to determine how much compensation a client should pursue. They can look at the severity of the client’s injuries in addition to hospital bills and lost wages. The party or parties you sue are also an important factor. One lone individual may not have significant assets, while a state government has deeper pockets. Additionally, the court will consider the egregiousness of the wrongful conduct. The court will look at totally reckless behavior, such as drunk driving,  differently than a simple traffic violation.

Who Bears Responsibility for Bicycle Accident Injuries?

Bicycle accidents result from any number of situations, and so there is a wide range of parties who may be responsible for causing them. In bicycle accident matters, we typically represent clients whose loved one was killed in a bicycle accident, and clients who suffered severe injuries in a bike accident, as a result of the wrongful actions or negligence of third parties.

For example, we may represent a client whose family member died when a driver turned left in front of the bike rider without checking the blind spot or rear view mirrors, causing a devastating collision. We may represent bicyclists who have been “doored” by careless drivers. And, we may represent a rider who lost control of her bike because of a defect in the bike caused by the manufacturer.

One of our roles as attorneys for bike accident victims is to identify all third parties who may potentially be liable for our clients’ injuries. Having identified those parties, we work with our clients to develop a legal strategy that will hold the responsible parties accountable while meeting our clients’ immediate and long-term needs.

What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered After a Bicycle Accident?

Insurance may help pay for some bicycle accident victims’ expenses, but we have found that many other costs do not fall under insurance coverage. We aim to work with our clients not only to receive the insurance payments they’re due, but also to recover other forms of damages that insurance often will not pay, such as:

  • Lost wages due to time off work to recover from the injury or to care for an injured family member
  • Lost future earnings of a victim who died
  • Long-term care and rehabilitation services
  • The pain and suffering resulting from the accident and the difficulty of living with injury or the loss of a loved one
  • Property damage

In appropriate cases, we may also pursue punitive damages under Texas law that are meant to punish the party responsible for the accident and to prevent the behavior that caused the accident from happening in the future.

Because the full scope of the damages you might be able to recover after a bicycle accident will depend on your specific case and the circumstances involved, it can be important to begin working with an experienced bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident. The sooner you contact an attorney, the broader your potential legal options for recovering compensation may be.

How Do Those Liable for Bicycle Accident Injuries Try to Avoid Paying?

Bicycle accident victims often die or are so badly injured that they cannot effectively speak for themselves. Responsible parties also sometimes try to blame bicyclists for being on the roads at all, even though on most roads bicyclists have as much right to be there as anyone else.

Because of this unfortunate bias against bicyclists, the parties responsible for causing bike accidents often try to claim immediately that the biker “came out of nowhere” and that the accident “wasn’t my fault.” Insurance companies will seize on these arguments as a reason for denying or limiting claims payments. Bicycle accident victims and their families can protect themselves from these arguments and tactics by speaking with an experienced bicycle accident attorney.

Why Hire a San Antonio Bicycle Accident Attorney?

At the Law Offices of George Salinas, our attorneys work with clients whose lives have been devastated by a bicycle accident, either because it caused the death of a loved one or left the victim severely injured. We have a long track record of negotiating with insurance companies and pursuing responsible parties who may owe compensation to our clients. The compensation we aim to recover for our clients can often include the cost of medical and related services, our clients’ pain and suffering, and loss of the victims or other family members’ income.

When a bicycle accident in the San Antonio area has disrupted your life, call the Law Offices of George Salinas to find out how we might be able to help.

Working With Us in Bicycle Accident Matters

At the Law Offices of George Salinas, we understand and empathize with the difficulties bicycle accidents can cause. We take pride in communicating clearly and often with our clients, as the comments on our Testimonials page attest. We believe that working closely with our clients means, first, listening to their stories and understanding what they need in order to return to living a normal life.

If You’ Were Injured in a Bike Accident, Contact an Experienced San Antonio Bicycle Accident Attorney

San Antonio Bicycle Accident Attorney George SalinasAfter a severe crash, the last thing a victim or victim’s family wants to worry about is the cost of a lawyer. The Law Offices of George Salinas is happy to offer free initial case consultations. Don’t let your financial fears keep you from reaching out. Don’t be afraid to talk to us about your situation and ask us if your or your loved one’s bicycle accident case may be appropriate for a contingent fee arrangement.

If you sustained a serious injury in a car-bike accident, you will likely have to deal with the driver’s insurance company. In most cases, insurance companies will attempt to limit how much compensation they must pay. Working with an experienced attorney will help prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of you and your situation.

Bike accidents can cause serious injuries with ongoing and unpredictable negative health consequences, and these personal injury claims are often complicated to process. Don’t, however, simply take a settlement out of expediency—your claim matters, and you deserve just compensation. 

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident in the San Antonio, Texas area, or have a loved one who has died in biking accident, get a strong legal advocate on your side.

At the Law Offices of George Salinas, our legal team knows how to fight for your rights, and we will work aggressively to help put your life back on track. We are ready to help you. Whether you prefer talking on the phone, coming into our office in San Antonio, or need us to come to where you are, contact us today at (210) 528-1443, or online, for your free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.

Client Testimonial

"I must say my overall experience with George was great. No matter what issues I had he went above and beyond for our family..It's hard to find a lawyer you trust but I'm going to say he has definitely changed my mind .I will always be grateful for his representation and his compassion for our case. Please don't hesitate to have him by your side. His paralegal is very involved as well..Keep up the good work."

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Patricia M.

November 2019

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