Archive for the ‘Bicycle Accidents’ Category

Bicycle Accidents a Risk in Warmer Weather

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, more people will enjoy bicycling in and around San Antonio. Unfortunately, as more people choose to ride their bikes this spring and summer, these bike riders are at risk of potentially being injured or even killed in a car accident.

Our San Antonio, TX injury attorneys know that bike riders face many potential perils as they take to the road and share space with cars, pedestrians, trains and other bicycle riders. In some cases, bike riders can protect themselves from danger by making smart choices to stay safe. In other instances, however, drivers will simply not share the road in a responsible and safe manner with bicyclists and the chances of an accident will be significantly increased.

Recent Bicycle Accident Reminds Bike Riders to Obey Driving Rules

One of the biggest dangers to bike riders is that some riders do no believe the rules of the road apply to them. For example, some bike riders will drive against traffic on the wrong side of the road; will stray into the street instead of staying on sidewalks or designated bike lanes; will fail-to-yield; or will skip stopping at stop signs and traffic signals. In one recent tragic case, even reported that a bicycle rider appeared to ignore closed gates indicating that a train was coming, going around the gates and trying to cross the tracks. This led to tragic consequences as the bicycle rider was killed by the train.

To avoid the self-inflicted dangers that come along with not obeying driving rules, bicycle riders need to remember that they are expected to follow the law when they are on their bikes. The bike is a vehicle too, just like a car, and bicycle riders should not break any traffic laws while riding their bike just as they wouldn’t break these laws when driving any other car.

Drivers Need to be Mindful of Bicycle Riders

While bicycle riders sometimes do dangerous things that lead to accidents, most accidents are caused by other vehicles on the road, which typically fail to yield the right-of-way to a rider. Often, drivers are at fault when a bike accident occurs between a motor vehicle and a bicycle. In some cases, drivers will also misjudge the speed at which a bicycle rider is going, so the driver may believe he or she has plenty of time to make the turn or cut the bike off when in reality this is not the case.

Drivers who are speeding, driving drunk, distracted by their cell phones or something else in the car, or who are overtired and falling asleep may also increase the chances of becoming involved in a crash with a bike rider. Any time a driver is not paying attention or is not in control of his vehicle, there is a chance that the driver could hit an innocent bike rider and become responsible for the harm caused. Drivers, therefore, will also need to be more cautious as the warmest months of the year approach and as more and more people take advantage of spring to get on their bikes.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

San Antonio Bicycle Accidents: Pay Attention

You may have noticed them on a recent Sunday as they pedaled alongside Loop 1604 – over 400 bicyclists with bright orange shirts, emblazoned with the words, “Can You See Me Now?”

San Antonio bicycle accident attorneys understand the cyclists were raising awareness after one of their own was recently struck by a vehicle from behind and severely injured.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, the 39-year-old mother-of-two and triathlete suffered a serious spinal cord injury when an older woman in a pick-up truck hit her on an Interstate 10 access road last month. She is currently still recovering at University Hospital.

In honor of her, the other cyclists organized a 20-mile ride, which they did through word-of-mouth and through a number of bicycling shops in the area. In addition to raising awareness, the group hoped to raise money to help cover their fellow cyclist’s medical expenses, as she had recently been laid off from her medical sales job and had no health insurance. It was estimated about $40,000 had been raised through the sale of the orange t-shirts, at $20 each.

It’s an extremely touching gesture – but one that many injured cyclists are not on the receiving end of. What’s more, it’s unlikely to cover expenses for the years of recovery she may have ahead of her.

Spinal cord injuries can be fatal. But even when they aren’t, they can result in severe and chronic pain, respiratory complications, bladder complications, bowel dysfunction, heart problems and paralysis. The extent to which the person suffers depends on the type of injury, whether it is complete or incomplete. An incomplete injury means that the ability of the spinal cord to deliver messages to and from the brain remains at least somewhat intact. When the injury is complete, it means the person has lost all sensory and/or motor function below the location of the injury.

Recovery, if possible, is often long, painful and expensive.

When such injuries are due to the negligence of others, at-fault parties must be held accountable.

In this case, the cyclist has already undergone surgery and faces many more months of difficult rehabilitation.

At the time she was struck, the cyclist had been training for her second Ironman triathlon, which includes biking, running and swimming. This was a cyclist who knew what she was doing, and had been carefully following the rules of the road.

The driver of the truck was an 82-year-old woman, who hasn’t been initially cited by law enforcement officials. The crash happened just outside of San Antonio limits, where an ordinance instructs drivers to keep a safe distance when they are passing certain “vulnerable” road users. This includes cyclists. Cars are supposed to stay at least three feet away, while commercial vehicles have to give them at least six feet of space.

It’s unclear what that is going to mean for any potential criminal case, but it certainly appears there may be a strong basis for a civil lawsuit.

San Antonio has a history of such crashes. Just two months ago on West Avenue, a 17-year-old driver struck and killed a 55-year-old bicyclist. It’s estimated that the teen had been driving at speeds of over 60 miles per hour. That case is still under investigation.

Other cyclists who joined the solidarity ride reported having been struck also, or having extremely close calls. One cyclist reported he missed work for two months after being hit by a truck several years ago.

“We need to get the word out about the need for safety,” he was quoted as saying.

If you’ve been injured in a San Antonio bicycling accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.

San Antonio Bicycle Fatality Highlights Riding Risks

A 17-year-old driver faces possible charges after killing an avid cyclist in a San Antonio bicycle accident.

The rider was struck about 3:20 p.m. near West Avenue and West Silver Sands Drive. The Express-News reports the man in his 50s appeared to be an avid cyclist, based on his clothes, helmet and shoes. Witnesses told police the truck was weaving in an out of traffic at a high rate of speed before the crash. And the driver may have run a red light. After striking the cyclist, the truck smashed through a road sign and hit a utility pole before traveling another 50 yards and coming to a stop.

Bicycle accident attorneys and veteran riders understand the risks. Most often, these crashes are caused by a distracted driver or a driver who fails to yield the right of way to a cyclist. These riders have the same rights to the road as the operator of a passenger vehicle. Unfortunately, those rights are too often ignored by the motoring public, resulting in serious or fatal injury.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 600 riders are killed and 50,000 are injured in motor-vehicle crashes each year. In 2010, a total of 42 riders were killed in Texas. Only California and Florida reported more cycling deaths. With the increasing popularity of cycling for recreation and fitness, middle-aged men are among the most common victims. Often a family’s primary wage earner, a serious or fatal accident can be devastating. These accidents claim the lives of relatively few women — 84 females were killed in bicycle accidents in 2010, the most recent year for which nationwide statistics are available.

Nearly one-third of all fatal bicycle accident occur between the hours of 4 and 8 p.m.

The media reports in this case the driver could face a manslaughter charge.

The city’s San Antonio Bikes webpage offers valuable resources for riding enthusiasts. San Antonio has made tremendous progress in extending its cycling infrastructure in recent years — adding over 175 miles of bike lanes, multi-use lanes and bicycle routes, according to the city’s 2011 Bicycling Master Plan. The city’s size (515 square miles) and relatively low population density (only Fort Worth has fewer residents per square mile) make improving infrastructure an ongoing challenge. However, with these improvements comes an obligation to rider safety — particularly at intersections and in other areas where cyclists are forced to interact with the motoring public.

San Antonio rates 41st among 51 major U.S. cities when it comes to number of residents biking and walking — however it ranks 44th when it comes to bicycle safety. Clearly, there is much more work to do.  Cycling SanAntonio reports Bike Share facilities are also proving popular with residents and tourists alike. These programs have proven a great way to reduce downtown congestion in a number of cities nationwide. But more bikes — and more novice bikers — all but guarantees an increased risk of accidents. Please stay safe out there and give our cycling friends a break.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.