Bicycle Accidents in Texas

gavel with logo overlay

Bicycle accidents and crashes can happen in an instant and cause devastating injury or death. A trip to the ER after a bicycle crash can leave you with a medical bill from the low thousands to the six figures. A ER CT scan of your brain or other body parts will always run in the thousands of dollars. And the ER doctor and the radiologist may bill you in addition to the facility. Even if you escape with minor injuries, the bill will be very painful.

Bicycle "accidents" are usually not an "accident". They involve fault, sometimes of the rider, sometimes of the operator of a vehicle and sometimes of another cyclist. At times other causes that are not anticipated come into play. A property owner may have something they shouldn't have impeding the view of the vehicle operator or the bicycle operator. This could be landscaping that needs attention, signage or other obstructions to the roadway or traffic controls. A commercial property owner may have "invisible" speed bumps that don't have any contrast with the roadway.

I have participated in over 20 organized rides and the Texas MS150 in 2017 and 2019. Hopefully the MS150 2021 will take place! After learning the ropes of the organized rides and the MS150 rides, I was surprised at my lack of knowledge of riding a bicycle. The experience of the MS150 training rides and the MS150 rides imprinted on my brain several keys as a rider: always anticipate; always anticipate a driver, an adult, a child, a golf cart operator or an animal will be a hazard. This will prevent a lot of crashes. Always wear a helmet. No exceptions. I've had three bad crashes over the years, and in the last one I'm confident the helmet saved my life and/or save me from a severe head injury. Always make your intentions known to other cyclists and motor vehicle operators.

Despite doing everything a cyclist can do to prevent a crash, they do occur and can be with horrific results. The Texas Transportation Code provides the rules of the road for cyclists. There are no state wide laws in Texas that say you have to wear a helmet. Some local municipalities have helmet regulations. If you are in a crash and your case ends up in front of a jury, some people sitting on that jury are going to be biased against you if you were not wearing a helmet even if the law doesn't require it. It won't be the end of your case, but it will be an obstacle to overcome with a jury.

Bicyclists have the rights and duties of other vehicles on the road. At night you need a white light on the front and a red light or red reflector on the rear. I always ride, day and night, with a flashing white light on front and flashing red light on the back. Even in the daytime, shadows can obscure people, objects and anything else from vehicle operators. The daytime lights will help prevent a cyclist from getting run over and if you do get hit will certainly place more responsibility on the vehicle operator.

Unfortunately many crashes are caused by vehicle operators that are negligent. Some are intoxicated. Some distracted. Some don't respect the cyclist, or worse, decide to see how close they can come to the cyclist because they don't believe the cyclist should be on the road. Some drivers simply don't see the cyclist for reasons that vary from negligence, driver distraction, driver inattention or another vehicle impeding the view. Drivers should not proceed if their view is impeded until it is safe to proceed.

Hopefully you will never find yourself or a family member the victim of a bicycle crash. As with any other injury, if the injury is significant, a call to an attorney may be a good decision. Hopefully all of your rides have the intended purpose of getting outdoors, exercise, clearing your head and staying healthy!