Bicycle Accident Attorneys in San Antonio
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.
Why 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.
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
Risks of Riding a Bicycle
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
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 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.
Speak to a San Antonio Bike Accident Attorney Today
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.
If you were injured in a bicycle accident, it is important to have 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, please give us a call at (210) 225-0909 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, or contact us online.