Bicycle Accident Attorneys in Montgomery, Alabama
You have seen the memorials along the road – a wreath placed at the location where a bicyclist lost his or her life, often through no fault of his own.
Motorists have been known to throw items at cyclists causing bicycle accidents. Cars swerve too close or drivers may shout out of the window. Instead of sharing the road as a car is supposed to do, for some reason there have been incidents of aggression directed at bicyclists.
It is also possible the driver of the automobile was simply driving distracted or driving under the influence when he caused a bicycle accident.
Being on a bike is no match for a 2,000-pound car and we know who is on the losing end of that equation. The biker may suffer traumatic head injury, broken bones, road rash, disfigurement, or even death.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a bicycle accident, Chip Nix would like to discuss the facts of your bicycle accident and injury. You may be eligible for compensation from the at-fault driver to help cover what you have lost including companionship, income, medical bills, property damage, pain, and suffering.
Sharing the Road
Bicycles are not just for recreational use. People in urban settings are using bicycles to get around knowing that they deliver a boost to one’s health.
It is no surprise then that the state reports that in Alabama in 2018 there were 209 bicycle crash injuries and nine fatalities. More than 85 percent of those bicycle crashes occurred on urban streets. Alabama has seen the average number of bicycle crashes increase 20% over the prior three-year period.
During the same time in the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that there were 857 bicyclists killed in crashes with cars. The fatalities involved mostly men with an average age of 47.
On the bright side, Alabama has among the lowest bicycle fatalities as part of total traffic fatalities, 0.7 percent, when compared to other southeastern states.
Our bicycle-friendly roadways ensure safety to riders by keeping them out of major thoroughfares. Bicycle-friendly communities, such as the City of Montgomery, recognized for its many safe bike routes and 156 miles of bicycle infrastructure, encourage ridership for health and as a way to promote the city as being community conscious.
About three-quarters of crashes occurred at intersections, and distractions often play a role, whether on the driver’s part or the cyclist’s part. Older cyclists, unfortunately, are many times the victim of a motorist hitting them due to speeding or aggressive driving.
Bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as automobiles. If both sides would follow the rules of the road, many of these deaths could have been prevented.
Bicyclists need to:
- Go with the flow of traffic
- Yield to traffic and follow traffic signals
- Obey all traffic laws – Just like a vehicle you must follow traffic signs, signals, and lane markings
- Stay alert to your environment – This is important to both motorists and cyclists
- Watch for parked cars – Doors suddenly opening or a car pulling out
- Take a bicycle lane when possible
- Wear a properly fitted safety helmet
- Avoid driving on the wrong side of the road
- Do not swerve in and out of traffic
- Follow traffic signals
- Wear reflective clothing at night and have lights on the bicycle
Helmets help prevent traumatic head injury. About 74% of bicycle fatalities involve some head injuries. Seek out a CPSC helmet (Consumer Product Safety Commission), properly fitted, snug, no side movement, and one which sits not lower than a finger or two above the eyebrows. Helmets are 63-88% effective in preventing traumatic brain injury.
Unfortunately, only 35% of all bicyclists wear helmets regularly, according to Alabama Public Health. Riders age 16 and younger are required by the state to wear a helmet.
Riders age 14 and younger experienced 17% of bicycle-related deaths and these may be at least partially prevented by the wearing of helmets.
Causes of Bicycle Accidents
Distracted Driving – Alabama law states a motorist should not send a text message or read any electronic message. If you have been found to be on your mobile device, you could be found liable for the damages suffered by the bicyclist.
Driving DUI – Intoxication accounted for 37% of bicyclist fatalities in 2017, reports NHTSA, whether on the part of the cyclist or the motorist.
Bicycle Visibility – Alabama law requires a light that can be seen from a distance of at least 500 feet and a red reflector visible up to 600 feet on the rear of the bike.
Who is At Fault?
Motorists owe a duty of care to the cyclists who share the road.
Unless you are fully paying attention, if you hit a bicyclist, a failure to see him may make you the at-fault driver and responsible for damages resulting from the collision.
Motorists need to:
- Alabama law states when you pass a bike, give the rider at least three feet of clearance
- Avoid driving distracted such as using the cellphone
- Avoid driving DUI or on drugs
- Watching approaching cyclist before opening the doors
- Avoid excess speeds when cyclists might be present
Your Experienced Alabama Bicycle Accident Attorney
A consultation with Mr. Nix can provide you the guidance you need during this difficult time.
We must determine the at-fault individual whose negligence led to this accident. It is not always the motorists’ fault. If the cyclist swerved in front of the car suddenly, the insurer for the driver will claim the collision is your fault, even if you, the bicyclist, suffered a major injury.
There is a complicating factor under Alabama law that pertains to bicycle accidents.
In Alabama, the doctrine of contributory negligence means if you contributed as little as one percent to the accident, you are prevented from any recovery from the other side. The other side will always blame you and contributory negligence is a doctrine that Mr. Nix has decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured.
Contact Mr. Nix to discuss your personal injury case. You may be able to be compensated for your damages that may include lost wages and pain and suffering, your medical bills and compensation for emotional trauma. In the case of a fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed.
Our office remains office and we will meet at your convenience. Call us at 334-203-6669 to we can get the conversation started.