Car Caused Bicycle Accident?

bicycle accidentA car caused bicycle accident can be life changing.

Personal bicycles, shared bicycles, and shared scooters have allowed urban commuters a more convenient, cheaper, and cleaner transportation method. Shared bicycles and shared scooters have also introduced more travelers on city streets. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), 84 million shared bicycle and shared scooter trips were taken in the United States in 2018. With this increase in travelers, there has been an increase in travel related injuries. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports there were nearly 330,000 non-fatal bicycle injuries and 1,024 deaths, most caused by motor vehicles, in the United States in 2017. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study in Austin for a three-month period in 2018, which revealed 190 shared scooter accidents leading to hospital care. This study did not count for urgent care or doctor’s office visits.

Common Causes of a Car vs Bicycle Accident

Bicycles:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicles cause 30% of all bicycle accidents. Some of the common causes of bicycle accident due to motor vehicles include:

  • Hitting the open door of a parked car 
  • Being struck by a passing motor vehicle
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle turning right
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle at an intersection
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle that fails to stop or yield
  • Motor vehicle drivers who are intoxicated 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who speed
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while drowsy
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while distracted
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while texting 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who enter the bicycle lane
  • Motor vehicle drivers who are unaware of bicyclists 

Scooters:

Shareable scooters are a new transportation method so there is limited data on the common causes of scooter accidents due to motor vehicles. However, because scooters are used in the same manner and same environment as bicycles, it would be reasonable to believe the common causes of scooter accidents due to motor vehicles would be similar to the common causes of a bicycle accident due to motor vehicles. Thus, here are some common causes of scooter accidents caused by motor vehicles:

  • Hitting the open door of a parked car
  • Being struck by a passing motor vehicle
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle turning right
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle at an intersection
  • Being struck by a motor vehicle that fails to stop or yield
  • Motor vehicle drivers who are intoxicated 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who speed 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while drowsy
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while distracted 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who drive while texting 
  • Motor vehicle drivers who enter a designated driving lane
  • Motor vehicle drivers who are unaware of scooter riders

How Speed Can Cause Bicycle Accident

Everyone can understand that a speeding driver is more likely to cause an accident than a driver who drives the speed limit. However, some people may not be aware of how bicycle or scooter speed can lead to an accident. Some shareable scooters can reach a top speed approaching 20 mph. While 20 mph may not seem fast for a motor vehicle driver, experts have determined even 15 mph is too fast for a shareable scooter to travel on sidewalks. As a result, Texas has proposed a statewide bill to ban riding scooters on sidewalks. However, this bill may pose more danger than the safety it creates. While, pedestrians on sidewalks will not have to deal with scooter riders, these scooter riders will be forced to ride on city streets. But these scooters, which may only reach a top speed of 20 mph, cannot keep up with ordinary motor vehicle traffic. Scooter riders will now be expected to travel alongside vehicles weighing thousands of pounds. Additionally, scooter riders do not require a license, training, or sufficient safety equipment to ride. This creates a recipe for disaster, as many riders will be subject to dangerous, careless, or aggressive drivers.

 Common Injuries of a Bicycle Accident 

Bicycle and scooter injuries cause by motor vehicles are some of the most devastating motor vehicle accidents. The simple reason is because bicycle and scooter riders do not have anywhere near the protection to sustain an impact with a motor vehicle. These are common bicycle accident injuries 

 

Laws Protecting Bicycle and Scooter Riders

Bicycle and scooter riders should know the laws that protect them. Generally, a bicycle or scooter rider has as much right to the roadway as traffic. 

Side-of-Road Laws

Side-of-road laws require cyclists and scooter riders to abide by certain laws while riding on public streets. For example, a cyclist or scooter rider must ride in a bicycle lane if one is present. Additionally, if a cyclist or scooter rider is unable to ride as fast as motor vehicle traffic, the cyclist or scoter rider must ride as far to the right side of the road as possible. However, a cyclist or scooter rider is not required to ride as far to the right side of the road as possible if one of these exceptions exists:

  • A cyclist or scooter rider is passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
  • A cyclist or scooter rider is able to keep up with traffic.
  • A cyclist or scooter rider is making a left turn.
  • The street lane is too narrow to safely ride side-by-side with motor vehicles.
  • A cyclist or scooter rider is avoiding hazards such as parked or moving vehicles, slower cyclists, pedestrians, animals, trash or debris, construction, street signs, barriers, etc. 

Safe Passing Law

Texas has yet to create statewide safe passing laws, but some cities such as San Antonio and Austin have passed safe passing laws. San Antonio’s safe passing ordinance requires motor vehicles to interfere with cyclists’ legal of the use of the road. This means cars must maintain a 3-foot safe passing distance from cyclists and commercial vehicles or large trucks must maintain a 6-foot safe passing distance from cyclists when road conditions allow.

Dooring Law

A dooring law is a law that requires a motorist to use reasonable care when entering and exiting their vehicle. Specifically, Texas has a dooring law that requires:

  • A person may not open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic, unless the door may be opened in reasonable safety without interfering with the movement of other traffic, or
  • A person may not leave a door on the side of a vehicle next to moving traffic open for longer than is necessary to load or unload a passenger.

Contact Stolmeier Law

Stolmeier Law is an experienced personal injury law firm. We have served personal injury victims in San Antonio and South Texas for over 35 years. We know what it takes to get you the most compensation possible for your injuries. So if you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries from a personal injury, Call Stolmeier Law.