In both busy cities and small towns across the countries, bicyclists can encounter potential road-related dangers whenever they head out. Here in Austin, Texas, where the Howry, Breen & Herman, LLP main office is located, we see all sorts of dangers for local cyclists each day, as well as the aftermath of bicycle accident claims we help manage. Even if you live in a completely different state, you probably know what we’re talking about, which is why we hope a brief discussion of five of the trickiest situations bicyclists face when riding can help you stay out of danger.
Five of the most common yet problematic issues on the road for bicyclists are:
- Potholes: Every driver hates potholes because they increase the risk of losing control of their vehicle when running them over. It is not a stretch of the imagination to think that bicyclists hate potholes for the exact same reason. Except when a car jostles over a pothole, the driver can usually do a minor correction and be fine, whereas a bicyclist can be bucked right off their bicycle if their tire hits the pothole in the wrong way or at a high speed. To better avoid potholes, it helps to pay attention to reports from local highway authorities. If you do get hurt by a pothole, then those same authorities might be the party you can sue for damages.
- Dooring accidents: How many times have you gotten out of a car without thinking to check the mirror for someone approaching? Although this lapse of mind might seem innocuous, it is exactly how dooring accidents happen. When riding your bicycle, watch for parked cars immediately adjacent to your lane or where you are riding. People can pop out of their doors without warning, especially when inside a car parked at a shopping center or near a building’s entrance.
- T-intersections: As any motorcyclist can tell a bicyclist, T-intersections are dangerous when you are using a smaller-than-average vehicle around less-than-attentive drivers. Oftentimes, motorists at T-intersections will make blind turns from the top of the T to the base, so off the main road and onto the intersecting street. They do not check for approaching bicycles that will be right in their path. You can help protect yourself from such driving negligence by wearing bright clothes and placing reflectors on your bike. Basically, anything that increases your visibility can decrease the risk of a T-intersection accident.
- Roundabouts: In America, roundabouts are not nearly as common as they are in many other countries, which makes them more dangerous. Drivers who are not familiar with how to properly enter and exit a roundabout put other people who are sharing the road in serious danger, especially bicyclists. Many bicyclists stay safe from roundabout accidents simply by choosing a route that avoids roundabouts in their cities altogether. If you must use a roundabout, then use heightened caution and avoid sudden, unpredictable movements.
- “Lane-splitting” accidents: When traffic is stopped or moving slowly, it can be tempting to overtake vehicles while on your bicycle by “lane-splitting,” or moving between the cars. Be careful if you try to filter through traffic in this way, though. A catastrophic bicycle accident can happen in an instant if a motorist decides to try to change lanes to a “faster” one, and you are right in their blind spot. In such an accident, liability would probably be split between you and the driver, so pursuing full compensation would be difficult.
If you have any questions about what to do after a bicycle accident in Austin, Texas, then our attorneys would like to hear from you. We can help determine liability, calculate your damages, file your claim, and much more. Contact us online or dial (512) 430-4844 today.