In Texas, cyclists have the same rights as drivers and share similar responsibilities. And unfortunately, like motorists, cyclists too often die on Texas streets.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 48 pedalcyclists died in Texas in 2009. A “pedalcyclist” is someone who uses a bicycle, tricycle, or a tandem bicycle. Nationally, pedalcyclists represented two percent of all traffic fatalities in 2009, or 630 fatalities.
The Texas Driver's Handbook identifies three common bicycle accidents involving motorists. The most common accident occurs when a car turns left in front of an oncoming cyclist, often because drivers have overlooked cyclists or misjudged their speed.
The second most common accident between cyclists and motorists occurs when a car turns right across the path of a cyclist. Drivers should always check their blind spots before making a right-hand turn.
The third most common accident occurs when a car fails to yield the right-of-way to a cyclist at a stop sign. Some motorists don't realize that cyclists must obey the same rules of the road that they do and should be treated like oncoming traffic at an intersection.
Fortunately, there are several things that cyclists can do to make sure that they stay safe on the road. First, be sure to follow all road rules. Cyclists are as responsible for the rules of the road as motorists are and following them will help cyclists stay safe. Cyclists should be sure to ride with the traffic, not against it.
Cyclists should ride as near to the shoulder of the road as they can unless they are turning, overturning a pedestrian or vehicle or if unsafe conditions, such as weather or construction, prevent it. When turning, cyclist should use hand signals to help drivers anticipate their movements. Cyclists should always use lights at night, including a white front light and a red rear light, to make themselves visible to motorists. Lastly, cyclists should ride with at least one hand on the handlebars, just as drivers should keep their hands on the wheel.
If a cyclist is injured by a motorist in an accident, the cyclist may be able to recover damages for any injury caused by the crash. Generally, cyclists will have to prove that driver negligence or reckless behavior caused the accident. Driving in the bike lane, speeding and failing to stop at a stop sign can be used to prove a driver was negligent.
Cycling is an enjoyable activity that can be good for your health and the environment. To prevent cycling from becoming a pain rather than a benefit, follow the rules of the road and follow the safety tips above. Finally, if you are a loved one has been injured in an accident with a motorist, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.