Fort Worth cyclists are now facing greater risks on the road than ever before. The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that bicycle accident fatalities increased by 12.2% in 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reports that, while bicycle riding only accounts for about one percent of travels in the United States, bicyclists face a higher risk of injury or death than motor vehicle occupants. By identifying and mitigating the specific risk factors for accidents, bicyclists can avoid becoming injury victims. When accidents do occur, injured cyclists have the right to be compensated for their injuries and losses by a negligent driver who caused the accident.
How Bicycle Riders Can Protect Themselves on the Road
The best way to protect cyclists is to prevent bicycle accidents altogether. Safety starts before ever approaching the road. Prior to operating a bicycle, always make sure it is in safe working condition. Wear a helmet and other protective gear to reduce the injuries that are sustained in an accident. Children should be carefully fitted to ensure that their helmet and safety gear are properly fit to their size. Watch carefully for obstructions in the road. Being smaller and lighter than cars, bicycles are more susceptible to debris in the road. Always be cautious of your speed. The best way to avoid a collision is to allow enough time to react to obstructions, traffic, and other road conditions.
The GHSA also reports that bicycle accidents are often the result of a vehicle driver who does not see the bicyclist. In turn, bicyclists are more likely to see drivers, but too often assume that the driver will yield the right of way. Bicyclists should therefore take measures to ensure they are seen in the roadway. Bells and lights should be used as needed to alert drivers to the presence of a bicyclists. Reflective clothing, tape, head lights, and bike reflectors should be used at night and during other times of poor visibility. Bicyclists should never assume that a driver will yield the right of way – even when the driver is legally required to do so. Slow down, make eye contact with the driver, and only proceed with caution when the driver has come to a complete stop. Bicyclists should also use extra caution in parking lots. Drivers have often diverted their attention to the task of backing up or parking, and this can make it even more difficult to see nearby bicyclists.
Often when bicycle accidents do occur, cyclists have the legal right to be compensated for their injuries and losses. A driver who violates Texas motor vehicle statutes may be found legally responsible for causing the accident, and thus may be found legally responsible for compensating the injury victim. Such a violation might include driving faster than is reasonable and prudent for present conditions (Texas Transportation Code §545.351), or failing to yield the right of way to a bicycle as would be required for another vehicle (Texas Transportation Code §551.101). An experienced Fort Worth bicycle accident attorney will protect your rights after any type of auto accident.