Fort Worth Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Experienced Bike-Riding Personal Injury Lawyer for Fort Worth
The City of Fort Worth wants people to ride bicycles, and has even laid out the plan to attract more cycling commuters by publishing their goals:
- Fort Worth wants to triple the number of bicycle commuters.
- The city wants to promote measures to reduce cycling accidents by 10%.
- The City of Fort Worth wants to earn the designation of being a Bicycle Friendly Community through the League of American Bicyclists.
Because it wants to be a bike-friendly location, the city promotes bicycling and safety measures, and it plans to create more trails and bike paths for residents to use and enjoy. Unfortunately, accidents can still happen, and if you are involved in an accident, you may need to speak to a bicycle attorney.
Cyclist At Law Bill Shirer isn’t just an attorney. He rides, races, and represents people who ride and race. With almost three decades of experience practicing personal injury law and even more experience on a bike, he understands what you are going through and how to help you with your case. He has dealt with every kind of accident a cyclist could have, and he keeps up with the rapidly changing laws that could affect your case. Contact him immediately if you were involved in a bicycle accident in Fort Worth.
Determining Liability for a Bicycle Accident
Determining liability can be difficult and is very specific to each case. While even a minor accident with a vehicle can cause serious damage to a bicycle and a person, cyclists are still held responsible if they are the ones who caused an accident. In order to figure out who is at fault, the trier of fact may look at the angle of the sun that day, what each individual was wearing, how fast the cyclist was going, and many other factors. If you speak to attorney Bill Shirer as soon as possible after your accident, he can help you to preserve evidence that you may need later to prove your case.
Cyclist Laws in Fort Worth, TX
Under Texas laws, bicycles are classified as vehicles. That means that for the most part, bicyclists have to follow the same rules as drivers. Some laws, like those for operating while intoxicated and distracted driving, only apply to motor vehicles, though. In Fort Worth, you are expected to know and follow both the state laws and the local ordinances. The laws do not contradict each other, but the local law may be more specific. There are basic laws about riders following all the traffic rules and additional rules about bikes being required to have reflectors. Fort Worth even has rules regarding bicycle parking.
Car Driver’s Rights and Responsibilities to Cyclists
Anyone operating a vehicle on a public road must carry insurance so that, if they cause an accident, they will be able to pay for the damages caused. Drivers are required to follow all traffic rules and pay attention, but they also have an added duty to watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. Because smaller vehicles and individuals are harder to see, drivers must focus their full attention on driving, and you may be able to prove liability if you can prove that the driver was doing something that distracted him or her from the road. Drivers should have learned early that they can cause serious damage to others and that they need to be respectful when they are on the road.
Cyclists’ Rights and Responsibilities
Make sure to wear reflective clothing and use reflectors and lights on your bike so that you are always visible, day or night. Even though it is not required for adults, a cycling helmet can protect you from serious head injuries. Don’t use headphones or talk on the phone while riding because it can distract you and get you hurt. Signal early before turning or changing lanes so that others on the road know in advance what you are doing. If you can, keep from holding up traffic by blocking a lane, but also keep from going too fast in a slower area.
What to Do After a Bicycle Accident
The aftermath of a bicycle accident depends a lot on the circumstances, such as where you were when the accident happened, what traffic was like, what time of day it was, and even what kind of terrain you were on. The first thing you need to do after making sure you are safe and out of traffic is to call the police and make sure you get a report. Exchange information with the other driver, including insurance information if you have it. Get the names of any witnesses and take pictures if possible. Preserving evidence is vital to your case if you go to trial. An officer is actually a good source of information, as officers will collect information about all the different aspects of the accident, such as time of day and what kind of damage there was.
Elements of a Bicycle Accident Claim
In order to be compensated for injuries after an accident, you may need to file a claim. For most claims, you have a two-year limit for filing, after which it will be too late. In some cases, that time may be even shorter. Even if you choose to represent yourself, you will still be held to the same standard as an attorney, so if you miss a deadline, you will still lose your case.
Someone who is legally liable is basically responsible for something. There are four requirements you need to prove to hold someone liable in a civil action:
- There must be a legal duty to perform in a certain way or use reasonable care. Anyone who is out in public riding or driving is basically taking on that responsibility of being responsible for any damage they may cause by being careless. As a cyclist, you are responsible for knowing and following the bike laws and for being generally aware and careful of other individuals you may encounter. Drivers may be considered to have a higher duty of care because they are more protected in their vehicles.
- The party at fault must have somehow failed in that duty of care. For example, someone may be held liable for causing an accident because that person ran a stop sign and crashed into an individual who had the right-of-way.
- The person seeking compensation must be able to prove that there was some sort of injury or loss that they can put a money amount on, such as doctor bills, pain medicine, lost wages, damaged equipment, or pain and suffering.
- The negligent act must be the cause of the injury or loss. That is one reason you should seek treatment immediately after being in an accident because you do not want the party who caused the accident to be able to say that your injuries did not happen until the day you finally decided to go to a doctor for help.
Bill Shirer can help you sort through the evidence and prove the facts of the case so that you can get the compensation you deserve. Contact him today for help with your case.
Bicycle Accident Statistics in Fort Worth
There were over 160,000 accidents involving bicycles between 2010 and 2016 in Texas alone. Among those accidents, there were 10,000 injuries and 362 fatalities. About one in four of those accidents involved children under 15, and a lack of helmet-wearing was one of the biggest factors in bicycling fatalities. About two out of every three injuries occur on city streets where there is more traffic — and the higher the speed, the more likely there is a fatality. Intersections are among the most common locations for bicycle accidents for a variety of reasons.
Best Bike Trails in Fort Worth
There are many great trails and routes to ride in Fort Worth. Here are the top five:
- Trinity Park offers everything a family could want, from beautiful scenery and a playground area to restrooms and misting stations. Located on University Boulevard off I-30, the route allows you to meander along by the Trinity River and offers stunning views of downtown Fort Worth. You can even rent bikes here.
- Trinity Trails River Trail Parkhead is so popular that it is better to cycle there during the week. Weekends can get crowded. The trail offers many options, including a 13-mile round trip to Benbrook Park and a 30-mile round trip to Gateway Park. With lots of extensions, you can choose a different route when you visit so the route will always seem new.
- Clearfork Food Park offers something extra: food trucks with tasty food. The park is located off Merrimac Circle and gives you the chance to have lunch or dinner after your ride by the river.
- Another location that offers bike rentals is Trinity Park Duck Pond, and the location is great for people who want to walk or ride in the midst of nature. Visitors can also see squirrels, geese, and turtles when they visit.
- Overton Park also lets you have a taste of nature without leaving the city. There are trails, trees, and river views, and people go regularly to ride, walk, or just relax.
How to Avoid a Bike Accident
Just as motorists learn to practice defensive driving in driver’s education class, cyclists can minimize the possibility of being in an accident by following the same principles. Pay attention to what everyone else is doing, and don’t cycle if you don’t feel up to it. If you see someone slow down at a stop sign, keep watching to make sure the driver really stops. Many accidents happen because drivers may be careless and in a hurry, leading them to not notice people on bikes. Make sure that other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians see you by wearing bright clothing and using a light and reflectors at night. Any time you are changing lanes or turning, be extra careful and check out traffic in every direction. Look all the way around yourself so that you can take note of any impediments in the road. Stay visible and pay attention to your surroundings. Learning your route before you go somewhere can help you pay better attention to the road.
Even when you are in a hurry, be patient. It is better to reach your destination than save a few seconds by ignoring a stoplight or stop sign. Following traffic laws will help to keep you safe, but don’t worry about other people who are ignoring the laws. You are the only one you are responsible for when you are out on the road.
Contact the Fort Worth Cyclist At Law
Have you or a loved one been injured in a cycling accident? If so, you may be working against a time limit if you want to recover damages from the person who caused the accident. Cyclist and bike accident attorney Bill Shirer can help answer all your questions about whether you need to file a claim and what your options are. The clock starts ticking as soon as the accident happens, so it is important not to wait. Call Cyclist at Law Bill Shirer today for a free consultation.