Who Is Responsible for a Bike Crash With a Car?
Vehicle drivers are often the cause of bike accidents. It some situations, however, it is not clear who is at fault, which is why it is essential to contact a bicycle accident lawyer after a crash. When you believe the other party is responsible, you should have an experienced attorney thoroughly investigate the crash who will gather evidence of the motorist’s fault and defend against allegations that you were responsible.
Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule. This means, if you are somewhat at fault for a crash, you may still be able to recover compensation. As long as you are 50% or less at fault, you can receive compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For instance, if an insurer or a court finds you are 10 percent responsible for the accident, you can only recover 90% of your damages. If it is determined that you are 51 percent or more at fault, then you are prohibited from receiving any compensation.
At Anderson Injury Lawyers, our bike accident lawyers have also represented drivers injured in crashes caused by cyclists and pedestrians injured because of negligent bikers. Whatever the situation, if you believe another person was responsible for your injuries, give us a call to learn more about how you can pursue what’s fair under the law.
A Car Pulls Out from a Side Street
The single most common type of bike accident occurs when cars pull out of a side street or parking lot and hit an oncoming bicyclist. Studies show that drivers tend to look into the middle of the road for oncoming traffic, but rarely do they check bike lanes or the sides of streets.
In this kind of accident, the driver is at-fault; bicyclists have the right of way and cars must yield to them.
A Driver Opens Their Car Door Into a Bicyclist
Even if a driver checks their side-view mirror before opening their car door, they might still not see a bicyclist. When a driver opens their car door and hits a bicyclist (or causes a bicyclist to hit the door), it’s the driver’s fault. The law states that no driver should open a vehicle door on the side of moving traffic until it’s reasonably safe to do so.
A Car Hits a Bicyclist Riding Against Traffic
As a driver pulls out of a side street to make a right-hand turn, they often look to their left (toward oncoming traffic) to check for when it’s clear. If a bicyclist is coming from the opposite direction, the driver could pull out into them and hit them.
In this instance, it could be shared fault, the driver’s fault or the bicyclist’s fault. Bicyclists who are riding on a main road with traffic are expected to follow the rules of the road (including riding with the flow of traffic), so riding against traffic would break this rule. However, if the bicyclist was on a sidewalk, those laws no longer apply.
A Car Turns In Front of a Cyclist
Cars turning right in front of bicyclists are another major cause of bike accidents. In many cases, drivers look for oncoming traffic before they turn right but it never occurs to them to check their mirrors to see if bicyclists are coming along the side. If a car turns into a biker and hits them, it’s the driver’s fault.
A Car Hits a Bicyclist Traveling in the Same Direction
Texas doesn’t have a statewide law governing the safe distance for a car to leave between them and a cyclist. When a car’s passing a bicycle, it’s up to their judgment how far is “far enough.” However, certain cities like Austin and El Paso have passed their own three-foot gap laws, meaning a car must leave at least three feet between them and a cyclist when passing them on the road.
Potholes and Bad Sidewalks Lead to Accidents: Suing the City
The Fort Worth Metroplex is not known to be pedestrian-friendly. Despite recent efforts by cities such as Fort Worth and Arlington to initiate projects intended to improve walking areas, most cities in North Texas heavily favor the automobile at the expense of the pedestrian. In fact, DFW ranks as the 10th most dangerous metro area in the nation in terms of pedestrian safety, according to Transportation for America.
Common accidents caused by poorly designed sidewalks include instances where there are no crosswalks available or where obstacles (such as fire hydrants or poles) in the middle of the sidewalk force pedestrians to walk in the street. This is particularly a problem for parents pushing strollers, joggers, elderly pedestrians and the disabled. It forces them off the sidewalk and into a position where they are much more likely to be hit by a distracted driver.
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