Bicycle accidents take place often in San Antonio. These collisions can be devastating for cyclists, causing severe injuries such as bone fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Motor vehicle drivers are often at fault for these collisions for mistakes such as failing to see bicyclists or ignoring rights-of-way. Statistics show that about 96 percent of fatal bicycle accidents involve an automobile. Here, our personal injury lawyers discuss how often bicycle accidents involve automobiles.
Bicycle Accident Facts and Figures
Every year, Texas is one of the states with the highest number of bicycle accidents, injuries and deaths in the United States. According to the most recent statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation, 71 cyclists lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2018. This was almost a 25 percent increase from 2017. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 846 bicyclists killed in traffic accidents throughout the country in 2019.
The NHTSA’s Traffic Safety Facts Sheet states that out of 783 pedal cyclist deaths, 753 involved single-vehicle accidents with automobiles. This is the equivalent of 96 percent. Most of these cyclists (82 percent) were struck by the front of the car. Forty-four (44) percent of automobile accidents in which a cyclist was killed involved light trucks. The majority of fatal bicycle accidents took place in urban areas (75 percent).
Why Do Drivers Collide With Cyclists?
Drivers often engage in dangerous and careless practices while driving, especially in the digital age. This can result in devastating accidents with vulnerable cyclists. Some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents are:
- Distracted driving
- Texting and driving
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Reckless driving
- Following too close to a bicycle
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Making an unsafe left-hand turn
All drivers have a responsibility and a legal obligation to safely operate their motor vehicles. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore the rules, behave carelessly or overestimate their ability to multitask.
How Can You Avoid a Bicycle Accident?
Collisions with automobiles put you at risk of catastrophic and fatal injuries as a cyclist in San Antonio. You may be able to reduce your risk of colliding with an automobile with a few tips:
- Ride a bike that is the correct size; it will be easier to control.
- Make sure that your bicycle has all of the required equipment, including working brakes.
- Obey all applicable traffic laws and signs, including stop signs.
- Make yourself more visible by wearing bright and reflective clothing.
- Stay as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible except when making a left turn.
- If you can, plan a route that will keep you away from traffic.
- Always pay attention to your surroundings and keep your actions predictable for drivers.
As a driver, it is also important to be proactive in preventing collisions with cyclists. There are things that you can do to decrease your risk of striking a biker:
- Pay attention to the road and do not drive while distracted, texting or intoxicated.
- Drive defensively – be focused and alert to the vehicles around you.
- At an intersection, make sure a cyclist sees you and comes to a full stop before proceeding.
- Take extra care to check for oncoming cyclists before making a left-hand turn.
- Follow traffic laws and regulations, including speed limits.
- Respect a bicycle as you would a motor vehicle.
- Maintain at least three feet between you and a cyclist while following and passing.
- Do not shout or honk at a bicyclist.
- Before opening your driver-side door, check for cyclists in the bicycle lane.
If you get into a bicycle collision in San Antonio, contact a bicycle accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free consultation. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and legal options, especially if you suffered serious injuries in the crash. A bicycle accident attorney can represent you throughout the legal process.