We’re experienced bicycle accident lawyers in Mobile, AL
Bicyclists are an important part of our roadways. Cyclists choose to ride a bicycle for many reasons including commuting back and forth to work, fun, and exercise. Really, there are lots of reasons that bicycles are becoming more of a staple on our streets. However, vehicles have a difficult time sharing the road. Even motorcycles don’t get the respect that they deserve. We’re beginning to see an increase in bicycle accidents on roadways because of the growing popularity of bicycles. The sad part about most bicycle accidents is that they end with serious injuries or death. Cyclists don’t have adequate safety gear to stand up to a vehicular accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), states that between the years of 2000 and 2012, the United States saw a 64% increase in bicyclists traveling to work. Gas prices are always increasing, and riding a bicycle keeps you moving where other traffic is standing still. Many people recognize bicycles as an adequate means of transportation, especially when it comes to traveling within city limits. Some cities are adding special paths for bicyclists, but the majority of bicycle riders are traveling along busy roads. If you or someone you know has been injured by a bicycle accident you have no time to lose. Call the offices of Stevenson & Klotz to go over all of your options. You need an experienced Mobile, Alabama bicycle accident lawyer that can help you get the settlement that you deserve.
What are some of the dangers of bicycle accidents?
The truth of the matter is those bicycle accidents usually end in death, or at the very least the rider suffers severe injuries. Most cyclists only wear helmets while they are traveling, but this isn’t enough protection to handle the impact of a vehicle. So, the more bicyclists that are traveling down the road, the higher the rate of accidents.
Although accidents can happen on any roadway, they most commonly occur just outside of intersections. Bicyclists are twice as likely to have an accident on the roadway versus inside of an intersection. Every accident is different, but in almost all bicycle accidents the rider comes away with injuries. Indeed, most of the fatalities that occur on a bicycle are riders under the age of 25.
There are a significant number of injuries to children on bicycles. In most suburban areas, there are kids riding bikes through neighborhoods. Most kids aren’t looking out for vehicles while they are on their bicycles, and cars are notoriously bad at paying attention to bikes on the road. Bicycles are just hard to see, and they’re even more difficult to see when they are small. There are safety campaigns to increase awareness of bicycle accidents, but there are still a large number of accidents on the road. Since bicycles are rising in popularity, accidents will continue to rise.
What are the causes of bicycle accidents?
Bicycle accidents occur when someone is being negligent on the road. The at-fault party could be the bicycle rider, a car, or several vehicles. Most of the bicycle accidents occur because of the negligence of a car driver. Some of these situations are:
- Drivers that get too close to bicycles on the road
- Drivers traveling too fast for conditions
- Drivers speeding
- Drivers not yielding the right of way
- Distracted driving
- Drivers driving too aggressively
- Drivers not seeing the bicyclist before running into them
- Drivers not paying attention to the speed of the cyclist
- Drivers driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drivers driving while they are drowsy, or they’ve fallen asleep,
- And many more.
Bicyclists can also be at fault in their own accidents. Some of these incidents can include:
- Cyclists not yielding the right of way to cars and other traffic
- Cyclists choosing to cross the road illegally
Although there are fewer instances of bicyclists being at fault in accidents, they do occur. If you have been hit by a bicycle you are entitled to compensation for damages and injuries. You need an experienced attorney that can build you the strongest claim to get you the settlement that you deserve.
Common injuries that occur during bicycle accidents.
When a bicycle is involved in an accident with a vehicle, there is usually minimal damage to the vehicle. The cyclist is the one that receives the most damage. Generally, the bike is destroyed. Even if the bicycle doesn’t come into contact with a car, injuries can still be substantial. A helmet only protects a cyclist’s head, and in an accident, a cyclist’s entire body comes into contact with the ground. Some of the most common injuries in bicycle accident cases are:
- Road rash and other scratches
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Spinal cord trauma
- Soft tissue injuries
- And Death
Any victim of an accident has the right to be fairly compensated for their injuries. If your accident was at the fault of a negligent driver, then they are responsible for covering your injuries and other damages. In the event of death, the family is entitled to compensation. You can file these claims on your own, but you are risking the success of your settlement. Insurance companies know that victims are uneducated and will take lower offers. We see victims accept lowball settlements all the time. You already have to recover from your accident, and you shouldn’t be worried about how you’re going to pay for all your bills. Contact us today to start building your claim.
What is negligence?
You are responsible for driving in a way that avoids accidents. It is your job to watch out for other drivers on the road and to drive in a responsible manner. When someone has an accident because they aren’t driving responsibly, they are being negligent. So, a car that doesn’t see a cyclist on the road is responsible for any injuries that the cyclist sustains. It is generally more difficult to prove that the cyclist was at fault unless they weren’t crossing the road at the right place.
You don’t necessarily need to have a collision to be considered at fault. If you swerve too close to a cyclist, causing them to lose control and injure themselves, you’re liable. Your car didn’t technically touch the bicycle, but poor driving caused them to hurt themselves. This can also go the other way if a cyclist is riding to close to a vehicle. If you have to swerve to miss a cyclist and you run into another vehicle, then the cyclist is at fault. Proving negligence is a complicated process, which is why you need an attorney to fight for your rights.
According to Alabama law, if the cyclist is at fault in the accident, they are liable for any damages. In some states, you can recoup a percentage of your damages depending on how much you were at fault. However, in Mobile, a cyclist is only entitled to compensation when they aren’t responsible for the accident. So, if a bicyclist is riding down the road and swerves to avoid a branch, this accident is probably the fault of the bicyclist. If you are even one percent negligent you are entitled to nothing. Thankfully, we are experienced at handling bicycle accident cases. So, we can fight this negligence law to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve. To have a better defense, you need to be as safe as possible while you are riding on the roadways.
How can I be safer while riding my bicycle?
You never know when you are going to have an accident, but you can be prepared. Considering that a cyclist has the most to lose in these accidents, safety gear and defensive driving are of the utmost importance. Motorcycle riders use the same approach to stay safer on the roads. Cyclists account for 2% of all traffic deaths according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. If you’re prepared, you can reduce the chances of being involved in an accident.
There is a large percentage of bicyclists that ride their bicycles while they are impaired. Since it is illegal to drive a car while drinking, cyclists choose to ride while drinking. Even though a bicycle isn’t a motor vehicle, it is still unsafe to ride while intoxicated. You jeopardize the lives of everyone on the road if you choose to ride while drinking. We recommend that you only ride your bicycle when you are sober. You have impaired judgment when you drink, and it’s hard to prove that you weren’t responsible for your accident if you have drugs or alcohol in your system. However, there have been a lot of drivers of cars that have won settlements because the bicycle rider was intoxicated. Remember, a cyclist only needs to have 1% responsibility in an accident to lose all rights to compensation.
What ways can you increase your safety on the road?
- Always wear your safety gear
- Make sure that your bike is safe to travel on the road
- Put reflective stickers and lights on your bicycle, so you can be seen
- Always ride in a responsible manner
- Study defensive driving techniques for bicycle riders
Safety gear can be the difference between life and death
- Your helmet needs to fit. Your helmet is one of the most important pieces of your safety gear. If your helmet is too large it can cover your eyes or slip off in the event of an accident. Your helmet should be snug and close to your head. You might have to try on a few different types of helmets before you find a helmet that will work for you. You can research online to make sure that you select a helmet that is safe for the road. Remember, helmets are only helpful if they are worn correctly. There are also many instances where helmets aren’t enough to prevent serious injuries. Ride responsibly and don’t just depend on your helmet protecting you.
- Wear additional safety gear. You can also wear elbow and knee pads while you ride your bike. Most adults only wear a helmet, but these additional pads can minimize your injuries. Children should always wear this safety gear while they are on a bicycle.
- Wear a reflective vest. It’s hard to see things while you are driving at night, and someone riding a bicycle doesn’t really stand out. However, if you have a reflective vest on it is easy to spot a bicyclist with headlights. We recommend putting a reflective sticker or flashing light on everything that you can. If you plan on riding in the early morning or at dusk, you need to increase your visibility.
Get the right equipment
Just like owning a car it is important that your bicycle is safe for the road. There are many different types of bikes, and some models are better for traveling in the city. You can research online to see which style bikes are best suited for roadways. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association recommends:
- Riding a bike that fits your body. This might sound funny, but bicycles come in different sizes. If your bike is too big for you, it can be harder for you to control. When you sit on the seat of your bike your feet should touch the ground. Make sure that you do this test with your seat at the lowest setting.
- Maintain your bike. Just like a car, all of your bicycle’s parts need to be in working order. You won’t be able to drive safely if your brakes aren’t working. There are bike shops that can provide tune-ups for your bike, just research shops in your area.
- Use reflective gear. We mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again. A red reflector on your bike makes you stand out on the roadway. Cars are used to seeing red brake lights, so they will recognize your presence on the road. In Alabama, it is illegal to ride without reflective gear on your bicycle. So, put these reflective pieces on your bike to increase your safety and obey the law.
A section of Alabama law also requires you to have a white lamp on your bicycle. This white light needs to be visible at a distance of at least 500 feet. The red reflector on your bike must be affixed to the rear. This red piece of safety gear must be visible from 100-600 feet.
Obey all laws on the road
You must obey all traffic laws while you are on your bicycle. If you are unfamiliar with these laws, you can get a book of road rules from your nearest driver’s license office. You can also research these rules online. If you aren’t obeying these laws and get in an accident, then you will be considered responsible
Ride defensively and responsibly
Nobody is going to look out for your safety like you will. So, make sure you are aware of cars on the road. Do not ride with music, because you won’t be able to hear your surroundings. Always assume that cars can’t see you. Finally, make sure that any items on your bike are secure and that your shoelaces are tucked into your shoes.
We know that being involved in a bicycle accident can be difficult for all parties. Make sure that you contact us immediately so that we can answer your questions. It’s important that we begin investigating your bicycle accident as soon as possible.