What Causes Serious Bicycle Accidents?
Some causes of serious bicycle accidents are unexpected. Helmet laws are a good example. Many Greater Houston cities and counties have mandatory helmet laws, especially for children. But flimsy bicycle helmets offer little protection and give riders, and drivers, a false sense of security. Therefore, tortfeasors (negligent drivers) take unnecessary risks near helmeted riders, like braking quickly and turning sharply.
Simple driver error, like aggressive driving and operator impairment, causes most of the serious bicycle accidents in Texas. These driver errors often begin with a poor attitude. Deep down, many drivers don’t think bicycles belong on the road. They’re especially upset when a designated bicycle lane reduces the size or number of motorized vehicle traffic lanes.
When angry and careless tortfeasors strike and even kill bicyclists, emergency responders often don’t even issue citations. But a Sugar Land pedestrian accident lawyer not only stands up for these victims in court. An attorney obtains the compensation these victims need and deserve. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Poor driver attitudes cause many bicycle crashes, and so do the five kinds of driver impairment. They include:
- Alcohol: When road empties and traffic enforcement ceased during pandemic lockdowns, many motorists started drinking and driving again. This bad habit, like so many others, is easy to form and hard to break. The number of fatal alcohol-related bicycle collisions recently hit a twenty-year high.
- Fatigue: People choose to drink and drive. They also choose to drive while drowsy. Both activities are equally dangerous. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for many Texas drivers.
- Drugs: Marijuana is, by far, the leading cause of “stoned” driving in Texas. Like alcohol enforcement, POM (possession of marijuana) enforcement has dropped significantly. Some cities in Greater Houston have decriminalized marijuana possession. In other areas, police don’t aggressively enforce this law, because these cases are now very hard to prove in court.
A Missouri City personal injury lawyer is often able to obtain additional compensation in these cases. As mentioned, many impaired motorists know they shouldn’t drive, but they get behind the wheel anyway. Therefore, they arguably intentionally put bicycle riders at risk for serious injury.
As mentioned, motorists often drive aggressively around bicyclists either because they resent the fact the bicyclist is on the road or they believe the helmeted victim could survive a collision. We mentioned two kinds of aggressive driving, sharp turning and sudden braking, above.
A sharp turn in front of a cyclist could cause a wreck even if the tortfeasor’s vehicle doesn’t touch the bicycle. A sharp turn forces a bicyclist to make evasive maneuvers. Two-wheel bicycles are much harder to control than four-wheel motor vehicles. So, a sudden maneuver usually leads to a loss-of-control accident.
Frequently, tortfeasors brake suddenly because they’re speeding. Sudden braking doesn’t cure a speeding problem. At 30mph, most vehicles keep moving for an additional six car lengths after a driver applies the brakes. At 60mph, stopping distance multiplies to eighteen car lengths. Vehicle size, weather conditions, and other factors could increase stopping distance.
Connect With a Detail-Oriented Harris County Attorney
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Missouri City, contact the Henrietta Ezeoke Law Firm. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.