Dedicated Bike Accident Attorney for El Paso, TX Residents
Experienced Bike Riding Personal Injury Lawyer for El Paso
Every year, thousands of people are injured and hundreds are killed in bicycle accidents. Bike riding is important for commuting, leisure, the environment, and general physical health. But it can also be dangerous, especially when drivers aren’t paying attention. If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident in El Paso, you need a personal injury lawyer who specializes in representing cyclists.
When you turn to the Cyclist At Law, Bill Shirer, you’ll get an attorney on your side who is not only an expert in personal injury law, but also a bike rider himself. He can offer you empathy and thorough help through the entire litigation process. He will tirelessly defend your rights and make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Determining Liability for a Bicycle Accident
You got into an accident. Who’s at fault — you or the driver?
The first thing to consider is whether you and the driver were following all the rules of the road. Was one of you negligent? Was one of you taking unnecessary risks or maneuvering haphazardly?
Second, there’s the amount of evidence involved. You may know that the driver was maneuvering dangerously, but do you have evidence to that effect? Testimony itself is evidence, but witnesses help.
Attorney Bill Shirer will help you build your case and prove who was responsible for your injuries. He will gather the evidence and witness testimonies that support the fact that the driver acted recklessly, negligently, or purposely.
Cyclist Laws in El Paso, TX
El Paso passed the law to add bike lanes in 2011, but some drivers may still not be used to driving around them. And bike lanes aren’t everywhere, either; sometimes, cyclists still need to share the road with motor vehicles. Other cycling laws relegate cycles to roads, streets, and areas that are specifically designated for bicycle riding — so, no riding on the sidewalk. Other than that, cycle laws in El Paso, TX are the same as those throughout the rest of Texas. Bicyclists need to stop at stop signs, yield to pedestrians, and ride with traffic flow.
Car Driver’s Rights and Responsibilities to Cyclists
Cars are required to give cyclists as much room as they would give a vehicle. They need to look out for cyclists when they are next to a bike lane, and they may not drive inside of the bike lane. Cars must yield to both pedestrians and cyclists alike at crosswalks. For the most part, cyclists while on the road are considered to be motor vehicles, which means that a car driver has the same responsibilities to a cyclist that it does to any other vehicle. But car drivers are urged to be cautious and consider that cyclists are far more vulnerable.
Cyclists’ Rights and Responsibilities
Cyclists are required to act as though they are in a motor vehicle while on the road. This means the appropriate yielding, stopping, and signaling. Cyclists need to follow the flow of traffic; they cannot go against traffic. And they should always be aware of where they are, what they are doing, and whether they could be causing a potential disruption. If a cyclist is following their rights and responsibilities and they are not being negligent or engaging in risky behavior, they are not likely to be considered liable for an accident.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
What happens if you get into a bicycle accident?
Assuming that the accident involves a car, you should first call the police or have someone else do so. Call emergency services if you are injured. Do not talk with the car driver directly, but rather, talk directly to the police or any emergency personnel who arrive on the scene. Make sure you get the information from the car driver. If you can, take photos of the accident, the vehicle, and your own bicycle. Carefully document what happened, make a police report, and get the number for that police report. When you get medical attention, make sure you get copies of the medical records and take photos of any injuries.
But not all bicycle accidents involve cars.
If you get into a bike-to-bike accident, you should operate similarly. Call the police, make sure any injuries are addressed, and document thoroughly — but be aware that liability may be more difficult to prove in a bike-to-bike accident. Likewise, a bike-to-pedestrian accident may involve more damage to the pedestrian. A bike-to-terrain accident may need the terrain carefully photographed and video-taped as well, as it’s possible the terrain was altered in such a way as to cause the accident.
If there’s serious injury or property damage on either side, you should call a Bill Shirer immediately. He will be able to give you advice on how you should proceed. Calling a lawyer will reduce the chances you could be incorrectly found liable and increase the chances of you being able to get your own financial damages paid. Talk to your lawyer before you talk to your insurance company. Your insurance company wants to save their money.
Elements of a Bicycle Accident Claim
How do you file a bicycle accident claim?
First, you’ll talk to Attorney Bill Shirer who will go over the details with you and determine both the likelihood of you winning and the cost of your damages. Insurance may also figure into this; your lawyer may need to consult with your insurance to determine how your insurance is operating as well.
You may or may not need to go to court to complete a bicycle accident claim, as frequently these claims are settled out of court entirely. If the other person has insurance that can cover the damages, then this is likely. It’s also possible that your insurance might cover issues, but your insurance isn’t always going to be on your side. This is why you need an attorney.
Either way, you will need to present your attorney with as much documentation as possible to make a successful claim.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in El Paso
Is it dangerous to be a cyclist in El Paso? In 2020, there were over 50 traffic fatalities in El Paso alone, including bicycle deaths. Texas and El Paso do not require helmets for adults, which can also lead to more serious injury or fatalities during crashes. In Texas, there were 16,000 reported crashes involving bicycles during a six-year period. That resulted in 362 fatalities reported during that time. Of course, not all bicycle accidents are reported, so it’s likely that the actual figures are higher.
Best Bike Trails in El Paso
Of course, one reason there are many cycling accidents is because cycling is such a popular pastime in El Paso. There are a number of fantastic bike trails:
- Lost Dog Trail Head. One of the best mountain bike trails in El Paso. Of course, mountain biking can be inherently dangerous, but a bike-to-bike collision on a mountain trail may still incur some liability on the part of someone who is negligent.
- Franklin Mountains State Park. Franklin Mountains State Park is one of the largest urban national parks within the country and provides some exceptional mountainous biking paths.
- Rio Grande Riverpark Trail System. An ecological park, the views at the Rio Grande Riverpark Trail System can’t be beat. It has both a bike path and a jogging path, though that might also lead to a bike-to-pedestrian collision risk.
Texas has quite a lot of natural beauty. Cycling isn’t just done for a great commute; taking a bike on these paths is a relaxing way to spend a morning.
Worst Areas for Bike Riding in El Paso
We know that El Paso has some great areas for biking and they’re only getting better now that cycling lanes are being created. But there are also some bad areas for bike riding in El Paso — areas that cyclists should avoid. In addition to that, there are generally areas that are worse for bikers:
- Unlit paths. Remember, even though you may be able to see everything around you, others might not be able to see you. Unlit paths have two major issues. First, you might not see something in the path that could cause you to crash. Second, someone else might not be able to see you.
- Busy highways. A cyclist can’t realistically keep up with fast traffic. Any area that you can’t keep up, you need to be to the side and in a dedicated bike lane or equivalent. You have the responsibility not to create a road hazard.
- High traffic. Traffic means that bumper-to-bumper accidents can happen. During traffic, cars may ride way too close to cyclists, which can also mean that a cyclist could get rear-ended. That may be inconvenient for a car but fatal to someone on a bicycle.
- Areas in bad repair. A single deep pothole can send a cyclist flying. Avoid areas with bad roads or be particularly vigilant when in areas that have a lot of holes and cracks.
Being aware of your environment is one of the most important things for any cyclist. And it’s one way you can avoid a bike accident. But there are also other ways that you can avoid a bike accident, too, as long as you are prepared.
How to Avoid a Bike Accident
Many bike accidents occur because people just aren’t paying attention. If you want to avoid a bike accident, follow these tips:
- Always leave enough space between you and other vehicles. Both cyclists and drivers need to be aware of where they are in location to everyone around them.
- Make sure you have enough visibility. Especially at night, you need to make sure that you can easily be seen by other drivers. If they can’t see you, they can’t avoid you.
- Try to only cycle in areas you know to be safe. Be wary of areas like highways or high-speed traffic where you could easily be overtaken or unable to maneuver in time.
- Be careful around parked cars. A frequent accident occurs when someone opens a door on a cyclist without checking to see if anyone is coming.
- Don’t forget about pedestrians. Cyclists can also easily cause accidents by running into pedestrians, who often aren’t looking for them or may not be able to react in time.
Drivers are supposed to be watching out for both cyclists and pedestrians, but cyclists must also follow the rules of the road and be vigilant.
Contact the El Paso Cyclist At Law
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident or are otherwise involved in an accident that could involve liability, it’s time to contact an El Paso personal injury attorney. Not only do you need to make sure you get your damages covered, but you also need to protect yourself from potentially being found to be liable. The Cyclist at Law, Bill Shirer, specializes in cycling law, and he can help you get the results that you need. Contact us today to get started.