It is always better to prevent a bike accident in Texas than to try to recover from one after the fact. A bicycle accident can inflict injuries on a cyclist that last for life. In 2020, 79 bicyclists in Texas were killed in traffic accidents and hundreds of others were injured. The best way to protect yourself from harm as a bicyclist is to be aware of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in your city. This can help you recognize risks when you see them and take action to avoid a collision.
Drivers are obligated to pay close attention to the road at all times. Unfortunately, distracted driving has become an epidemic on U.S. roadways. Distractions connected to cell phones, infotainment systems, personal grooming, food and drinks, radios, and GPS are rampant and have dramatically increased the number of car accident injuries and deaths per year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 3,142 lives lost because of distracted drivers in 2020. Many of these victims were bicyclists and pedestrians.
Bicyclists have the same rights to the road as motor vehicle drivers, and they need space to safely navigate. Texas law states that drivers must keep at least three feet of distance between their vehicles and bicycles. When drivers become impatient or reckless, they may encroach on this space and endanger the cyclist’s life. Following or passing too close to a bicycle increases the risk of sideswipe accidents, such as a driver’s side mirror striking a bicyclist, as well as rear-end collisions.
Speeding is one of the most common causes of all types of motor vehicle accidents, not just bicycle accidents. Speeding is defined as driving too fast for conditions. This doesn’t necessarily mean driving above the speed limit. If the posted limit is too fast in bad weather, a driver has a responsibility to drive below the limit. A speeding driver is less likely to be able to stop in time to avoid hitting a bicyclist or react safely to changing roadway situations.
Many bicycle accidents take place at intersections in Texas, often when a motor vehicle driver is attempting to make a left-hand turn. Many drivers underestimate the speed or misjudge the distance of a cyclist in the opposite lane. This leads to them making a left turn in front of a biker and either striking the side of the bicycle or forcing the cyclist to hit the side of the vehicle. In other cases, a driver turning left may not keep a proper lookout and fail to see an oncoming cyclist entirely.
Motor vehicle drivers should know and obey all roadway rules, including yielding the right-of-way to bicyclists, when applicable. Bicycles should be treated with the same respect as standard motor vehicles. At a stop sign, for example, a bicyclist who arrived at the intersection first would have the right to proceed across the road before a motor vehicle driver. Failing to yield and breaking other traffic laws invites bicycle-vehicle collisions.
State data shows that 958 victims were killed in 2020 due to drivers under the influence of alcohol. A drunk or drugged driver is unable to make safe decisions behind the wheel. Intoxication can cause reckless behaviors, slowed reflexes, poor judgment and bad decision-making. It can also have a physical effect on a driver, such as blurred vision and muscle weakness. These effects increase the odds of a driver making critical errors or losing control of his or her vehicle and striking a bicyclist.
If you were recently injured in a bicycle accident in Texas, contact an attorney to determine the cause of your crash. If someone else is responsible, they may have to pay for your related bills and losses.