Bicycles are popular in the city of Austin as forms of both recreation and transportation. Austin is a college town with many young people looking to get around conveniently and inexpensively, and bikes are perfect for doing so. Transportation by bike offers many advantages to the city as well, such as reducing the number of cars on the road that cause heavy traffic. However, people on bikes are susceptible to serious injury when involved in accidents. Cyclists and drivers of larger vehicles alike can contribute to safer road conditions for people on bicycles. Taking steps to keep yourself and others safe can prevent tragic results and costly legal claims.
Austin’s New Safety Initiatives
Although Austin has spent millions of dollars attempting to improve cycling infrastructure throughout the city, bicyclists still face many risks on the road. Unfortunately, heavy vehicle traffic still can endanger bicyclists who must share space with much larger vehicles.
In 2020, Austin voted to invest $460 million into bike lanes, trails, and sidewalks to improve cyclist safety and to accommodate alternative transportation in the city. The plan also includes a Vision Zero initiative aimed at preventing traffic accidents and fatalities. Vision Zero programs began in Sweden but have been successful in American cities as well.
In Austin, traffic deaths for 2021 are outpacing last year’s fatalities, and cyclists have been among the victims. The Vision Zero initiative seeks to prevent this.
While voters proved that cyclist safety is a priority for locals, the investment into infrastructure is only part of the picture. Drivers and cyclists still must use caution on the road to avoid causing tragic accidents.
How Drivers Cause Bike Crashes
Negligent drivers frequently cause bike crashes. Many careless behaviors often lead to these incidents. Drivers who speed, change lanes without signaling, violate traffic signals or drive while drunk, distracted, or fatigued all put cyclists in danger. Also, drivers often do not properly share the road with cyclists. There are times when it is necessary to yield the right-of-way to a person on a bike, and many drivers do not do this.
Drivers also frequently neglect to look for cyclists approaching from behind them when they are making right-hand turns. Motorists tend to overlook this common cause of bike-versus-car collisions.
If you approach a cyclist while driving, you need to remember to pass on the left and let the cyclist have at least three feet of space. Sometimes it might be necessary to wait until you have enough space to pass. Try to be patient and courteous to that cyclist when passing.
When Cyclists Cause Crashes
Sometimes, cyclists cause crashes, too. As a cyclist, it is essential that you use bike lanes when they are available. Riding next to vehicles, especially between lanes of traffic, will put you at risk of being involved in a collision.
When riding a bike, you should also remember that you need to follow state traffic laws. Like in driving, cycling while under the influence or distracted is dangerous. Crossing an intersection when you do not have the right-of-way could also lead to a devastating crash. If you ride your bike at night, you need to have lights and reflectors that will help drivers see you and avoid getting too close to you.
Comparative Negligence In Austin
When drivers get into car accidents with cyclists, the cyclist usually suffers the consequences. If you suffer injuries while riding a bike because of a driver, the law provides a way to recover damages. Damages may include several forms of compensation, such as the costs of medical bills, wages for missed time at work, future lost wages, and future medical costs.
Courts can, however, reduce the number of damages when the injured person is partly at fault. Also, in Texas, if you are more than 50 percent at fault for your own injuries, you will not be able to recover any damages because of the state’s modified comparative negligence law. If you are less than 51 percent at fault, you can recover damages from the person who caused your injuries.
For example, if you are biking and a car strikes you, and the court decides that you are 40 percent at fault for your injuries, you will be able to recover 60 percent of your damages. Imagine that your damages amount to $100,000. In that case, you would be able to collect $60,000 from the driver. Your 40 percent share of liability would result in a $40,000 reduction in damages. However, if the court were to find that you were 60 percent at fault for the accident, you would not be able to receive any money from the other driver.
Although Austin has put a lot of work into making the city more bike-friendly, more work is needed. Even with bike lanes and other measures, drivers and cyclists should still use a lot of caution whenever on the road.
Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys – Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys has helped countless injured Texans obtain financial recoveries against those who caused them harm. We understand how your Austin Bicycle accidents can severely impact your quality of life. Our Austin Bicycle accidents attorneys will help you understand your legal options and will fight hard to ensure that those who injured you are held accountable and made to pay you for your injuries, damages, and losses. If you have been injured, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for a free consultation. Get in touch with Glen Larson Law Injury Attorneys by calling +15128830277 or by contacting us online today.