San Antonio Bicycle Accident Attorney
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.
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 experienced legal counsel. Please contact the Law Offices of George Salinas to discuss your options today.
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.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you’re undoubtedly scared and confused, but our legal team is here to help.
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
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
- 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.
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.
Take Control of the Situation
Accidents 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 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
After 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.
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"He helped me understand every stage of my case and fought hard for me. I was proud to have him on my side."