As world citizens, it’s our duty to preserve the environment for future generations, and ourselves, and many people in Texas are taking this step by making their vehicle of choice a bicycle rather than a gas-consuming motor vehicle. The impact of gas emissions on our environment is overwhelming, and it is more important now than ever to decrease your carbon footprint by cutting down on emissions. Every year, motor vehicles produce more than 30 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, more than 80 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and about half of the nation’s nitrogen oxide emissions. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about half of all Americans live within five miles of their work place, so why not get up a little earlier and take a refreshing ride to the office? Not only is cycling a green decision, but it’s also a healthy alternative, especially since our country is stricken with an obesity crisis. However, as more cyclists take on the road, there is likely going to be a rise in bicycle-related accidents.
Biking is a relaxing, healthy form of activity, but just like any time someone operates a vehicle, machine or contraption, there is always danger looming overhead. That’s the world we live in. Here are a few scenarios of how a cycling accident could occur. A health-conscious businessperson has begun to ride his or her bike to work every day. An individual may be training for Race Across America. A child, whom more than half of cycling accidents happen to, has decided to take a bike ride a neighborhood friend.Even though these cyclists may be responsible and cautious, that doesn’t mean they’re safe from harm. They may be wearing a helmet, protective gear and bright active wear, and practice correct hand signals. But an inattentive driver can erase those precautions in a second.
A bike helmet and safety equipment is always recommended, but it is not a federal law, so when you start pedaling, you are automatically taking a risk. Dallas enforces cyclists of all ages to wear helmets, and is the only city in Texas that requires everyone to wear one.
In 2011, two-thirds of bicyclists killed reportedly were not wearing helmets. However, negligent drivers are also part of that picture. Head trauma is the most common consequence of a cycling accident. But broken bones, dislocated shoulders, torn ligaments and road burns are dangersthat cyclists face as well.Surgery and even skin graphs are sometimes necessary to keep an injured cyclist alive and allow them to continue to lead a functional life once they’ve healed. But healing isn’t just physical for someone who has been involved in a traumatic accident. Psychological and emotional distress is not out of the ordinary. There are many steps to recovery.
Your Rights as a Cyclist
While Texas law guarantees cyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle drivers, cyclists are often blamed for accidents. Even though the city of Plano, for example, has implemented bike routes on streets throughout the city, including bike trails and proper signage, accidents still happen. But remember, as a cyclist, you have as much right as any motor vehicle driver to be on the road.
Cyclists are not bound to neighborhood streets and bike lanes. You encounter them on major roads such as highways and even Interstates, so other motorists must share the road with them, and that includes sedans, SUVs, 18-wheelers and Mack trucks. Unlike persons in vehicles, cyclists have little to no protection. A helmet can only do so much. A driver or passenger in a vehicle has the safety net of a seatbelt and an airbag. A cyclist, on the other hand, has no shield, and is in most cases, the one who is seriously injured. A driver will most likely walk away unscathed, with mere scratches or tiny indentations on their vehicle. But a cyclist isn’t usually that lucky. In the U.S. alone, a cyclist is fatally injured every six hours.
Some examples of negligent driving involving a cyclist include when a driver fails to yield to a cyclist crossing the road and hits the cyclist. A driver may tailgate a cyclist and cause that person to run off the road or into an oncoming lane of traffic. The bright sun could impede a driver’s vision and cause the driver to lose control of the car, thus hitting a cyclist. Someone may be transporting goods in the bed of its truck and the door may fly open, causing its contents to spill out on the roadway, hitting a cyclist. A driver could be texting, accidently change lanes and run into a cyclist. The possibilities are endless. And the consequent pain and suffering can be, too. That’s where The VanDeLoo Firm comes in.
Attorney for Cyclist Accidents
If you or someone you know has been involved in a cycling accident, follow these instructions: Seek medical attention if needed. Take note of the scene, write down the driver’s information, seek out any witnesses and take photographs of the scene. And do not sign any papers or make any statements without your lawyer present!
If you think you may have a bicycle accident claim, contact the VanDeLoo Firm, which serves clients in the Plano, Frisco, Allen and McKinney areas.Founder Amy K. VanDeLoo will fight for every dollar you deserve. If you have questions about compensation for your medical bills, lost wages at your place of employment or property damage for your bike, contact our offices today for a free consultation.
5700 Granite Parkway, Suite 200
Plano, Texas 75024