With perfect weather, beautiful scenery, and not to mention high gas prices, it’s not surprising that cycling is one of the most popular means of transportation for Houston residents.
Bicyclists have to share the road with other motor vehicles, such as cars and trucks, and this can sometimes lead to bicycle accidents. Bicyclists hit by turning trucks is a repeating news story, which highlights the most serious deficiency in our system — driver’s education. Sometimes a truck driver passing a bicyclist prior to turning right causes these crashes, and in other cases the bicyclist passing the truck on the right may cause them.
Statistics of Fatalities in Large Truck Accidents
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) reported that a crash is labeled as a truck accident if the vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds. In the United States alone, approximately 500,000 truck accidents occur annually. Of the 500,000 truck accidents, the number of fatalities is almost 5,000 or close to 0.01%, which means that almost 1 out of every 8 vehicle accidents involve trucks.
Streetsblog USA has researched bicycle and pedestrian safety, particularly in urban areas. The proportion of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities involving large trucks to the proportion of trucks on the road is not one-to-one.
Nationally, bicyclist fatalities are more like 3 to 1 — three times as many bicyclists killed. In other words, 11 percent of bicyclist fatalities are the result of accidents caused by the 4 percent of vehicles on the road that are trucks.
But in larger cities, the statistics are more disproportionate. In New York City, for example, a truck kills about 32 percent — about one out of every three bicyclists that are killed –. And for pedestrians, it’s about one in eight.
At a state level, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, there were 2,687 accidents involving a bicyclist and 57 individuals were killed in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes in Texas.
Bicycle accident statistics, in particular, are difficult to calculate or track and most experts believe that the statistics themselves are low due to the fact that only a fraction of bicycle crashes causing an injury are recorded by law enforcement.
Typically, as in states like Texas, only bicycle accidents involving a fatality are reported. Given the increase of bicyclists taking to the streets of large Texas cities, it can be assumed that more bicyclists are injured each year, but not always reported, in an accident involving another vehicle, such as a truck.
There are several common causes of bicycle accidents in Houston. The four most common are:
- Driver error of the motor vehicle
- Dangerous roads
- Defect or malfunction of the bicycle
- Bicyclist error
There are many driving errors that can cause bicycle accidents. Because bicycles are much smaller than trucks, truck drivers do not always see bicyclists and, therefore, can crash into them. This is especially true when bicyclists travel in a straight line and trucks turn right onto another road.
There are also cases in which a bicycle can be defective and cause an accident. This can include brake failure, defective carbon frames or non-compliance with safety regulations, to name just a few. In these cases, it is possible that the bicycle manufacturer is at fault for the accident.
When a bicycle accident occurs due to one of these causes, and the bicyclist has suffered injuries as a result, it is imperative that the injured parties call lawyers that have experience with Houston bicycle accident cases.
In order to avoid becoming injured or killed while riding your bicycle, the Texas Department of Transportation reminds bicyclists and drivers to follow all the rules of the road, including proper signaling and stopping for lights. Bicyclists should always wear visible attire, in addition to a helmet, and drivers should make a greater effort to pay attention to bicyclists and make room on the road.
But even when wearing helmets, injuries sustained after a bicycle accident can be catastrophic. Without a large metal frame that surrounds them, and nothing between them and the ground if they fall, bicyclists have little protection. The most common injuries suffered due to bicycle accidents are:
- Trauma to the head, including traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Injury to the back and spinal cord
- Broken bones, especially the legs, arms, ribs, and pelvis
- Internal bleeding
- Damage to internal organs
If the driver of a motor vehicle is at fault during an accident with a bicycle, the bicyclist must turn to the motor vehicle driver’s insurance company to obtain benefits to cover the health care and other related costs or expenses for their injuries. Bicyclists can also use their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage if they have these types of coverage under their own automobile insurance policy. A local lawyer for personal injury cases can help a person recover such compensation.
To claim compensation, the bicyclist must be able to demonstrate that:
- The driver, the local government or the manufacturer of the product owes a duty of care to the bicyclist.
- They failed to fulfill that duty of care, and
- The bicyclist was injured as a result of that violation
The benefit of a Lawyer
When bicycle accidents happen, those involved should speak with attorneys who have experience with Houston bicycle accident cases immediately. An experienced Houston personal injury lawyer can file a claim to help you maximize the compensation to which you may be entitled to.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle accident and wishes to receive compensation for the injuries sustained as a result, you should speak with a Houston bicycle accident lawyer who can help you immediately.
Contact P&M Law and our experienced accident lawyers will fight to get you fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Please contact us at 832-844-6428 or text our attorneys directly at 832-438-3012.