San Antonio residents and visitors love to ride parts of our city by bicycle. Unfortunately, many bike riders experience preventable injuries in car-bicycle crashes. Below, the bicycle lawyers at Crosley Law Firm explain how San Antonio is improving bike safety—and what still needs to be done.
Bicycle Crash Fatalities Are Increasing in the United States
Over the past several years, bicycle fatalities have increased in the United States. In 2015, bicycle fatalities increased by 12.2%, while total traffic fatalities increased by only 7.2% nationwide. The demographics of bicycle crash victims have also changed. While children are still vulnerable, 88% of bicycle fatalities now involve adults.
Some of the factors contributing to increased bicycle fatality rates include:
While distracted driving is underreported, a significant number of fatal car-bicycle accidents involve a distracted driver or bike rider.
Drunk driving and bike riding
Alcohol causes or contributes to 37% of bicycle-related deaths.
Lack of helmet use
Approximately 54% of bicycle fatalities involved someone riding without a helmet.
Ignored traffic laws
Many drivers and bike riders are ignorant about how bicycles and cars should share the road, causing injuries when they fail to yield, ignore traffic signals, or make an improper turn.
In response, cities across the U.S. are improving their roads, changing their bicycle laws, and educating cyclists, including San Antonio, Texas.
RELATED ARTICLE: Bicycle Traffic Laws: Who Has the Right of Way?
San Antonio Is an Emerging Leader in Bicycle Safety
Crosley Law Firm is proud to report that San Antonio takes bicycle safety seriously. The city is part of the Vision Zero Network, a group of cities committed to reducing bike, pedestrian, and other vulnerable road user fatalities to zero. It also participated in the federal government’s Safer People, Safer Streets Initiative and Mayor’s Challenge.
Since 2000, the city has added at least 208 miles of bicycle lanes, trails, routes, and other infrastructure. In 2010, San Antonio also passed two bicycle ordinances:
Safe passing ordinance
While passing, cars must stay at least three feet from a vulnerable road user (such as a pedestrian or bike rider). Trucks must remain six feet away. Tom Crosley was an early advocate for San Antonio’s safe passing ordinance.
Bicycle light ordinance
All bicycles must have a front white light and rear red light or reflector when operated at dawn, dusk, and night.
Next, the city introduced its Master Bicycle Plan to encourage bicycling and protect vulnerable road users. San Antonio is also directing funds towards increased bicycle safety education, additional community outreach, and a bicycle sharing program.
RELATED VIDEO: Are There Any Special Laws That Apply to Bicyclists?
San Antonio’s Bicycle Laws Don’t Go Far Enough
While San Antonio has made major strides towards improving bicycle safety, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. The personal injury lawyers at Crosley Law Firm believe the City of San Antonio should introduce:
Mandatory helmet laws
Texas does not have a state law that requires adults to wear bicycle helmets. Because helmet use reduces your risk of a serious head injury by at least 42%, we strongly support mandatory bicycle helmet laws. And we encourage everyone to use properly-fitting protective gear while biking.
Side guards on city trucks
About half of fatal truck-bicycle accidents start with a side strike. Side guards help prevent bike riders from being swept underneath trucks and being crushed and/or dragged. Many large cities, such as New York, Seattle, and Boston, require side guards on their municipal trucks and buses.
Increased enforcement zones
According to bicycle and pedestrian crash data, approximately 33% of fatalities occur on only 1% of San Antonio’s roads. Targeted enforcement actions in these areas could save lives by minimizing violations of bicycle and traffic laws where they matter the most.
Programs that increase bike ridership
There really is safety in numbers. When drivers are accustomed to sharing the road with bicycles, they tend to anticipate vulnerable road users and take more precautions. A 2016 study of 52 cities shows that those with the highest rates of bicycling had the lowest numbers of car-bicycle fatalities.
Why Is Crosley Law Firm So Passionate About Bicycle Law?
In 2005, Wayne Campbell was taking his regular morning bicycle ride when a truck turned right into a quarry, striking and killing him. The police report noted that Mr. Campbell may have run a stop sign, but the only witness was the truck driver. The truck driver did not get a ticket or face criminal charges—even though he did not have valid driver’s license.
Mr. Campbell’s wife and children contacted Tom Crosley. They discovered that the truck had multiple safety violations, including a loosely-connected right-turn signal. Then, the truck admitted he had to veer left before making his right turn due to the quarry’s narrow driveway. Tom argued that this maneuver and the faulty right-turn signal might have caused Mr. Campbell to believe the truck was turning left. The facility and the trucking company settled the Campbell’s claims out-of-court.
While representing the Campbell family, Tom was curious about his client’s love of long morning bicycle rides. He started cycling and quickly fell in love with the sport. Because of his experience with bicycle crash claims, Tom always used protective equipment and planned his routes based on their safety.
Still, in 2010, Tom was riding his bicycle when an older driver ran a red light and collided with him. He almost died. Again, the driver did not face criminal charges.
It was clear that Texas needed to do more to protect vulnerable road users. Tom became an advocate for safe passing laws on both the state and city levels. His lobbying helped pass San Antonio’s safe passing law in 2010. He also has presented at bicycle advocacy conferences, including the 2016 Texas Trails and Active Transportation Conference.
What Should I Do if I’m Injured in a Bicycle Crash?
After a serious bicycle crash, it’s important to act quickly. You will likely have serious physical injuries that require immediate medical attention, such as brain trauma, organ damage, or broken bones. You should also contact law enforcement and cooperate with their investigation.
RELATED ARTICLE: Common Bicycle Injuries — And When to Speak With a Lawyer
Once you’ve dealt with these pressing issues, you should contact a bicycle injury lawyer at Crosley Law Firm. Depending on your circumstances, you might have multiple claims for compensation. Our experienced bicycle injury attorneys can help you identify your potential causes of action and protect your legal rights.
Crosley Law Firm: Aggressive Bicycle Crash Lawyers
San Antonio bicycle accidents can involve multiple lawsuits, competing insurance policies, and complicated medical issues. At Crosley Law Firm, we apply cutting-edge, trial-tested strategies to protect our clients’ rights. To schedule a free consultation, complete our simple, online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
A right to the road: Understanding & assessing bicyclist safety. (2017). Governors Highway Safety Association. Retrieved from https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2017-09/2017BicyclistSafetyReport-FINAL.pdf
Bicycle plan 2012. (2012, October 10). City of San Antonio. Retrieved from http://www.sanantonio.gov/SABikes/BicycleMasterPlan/SABikePlan
National speed fatality map highlights tragic losses. (2016, November 17). Vision Zero Network. Retrieved from https://visionzeronetwork.org/resources/speed-fatality-map/
San Antonio severe pedestrian injury areas report. (2017, November). City of San Antonio. Retrieved from http://www.sanantonio.gov/portals/0/files/tci/Vision-Zero-SPIA-Report.pdf
Traffic safety facts: Bicyclists and other cyclists. (2017, March). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812382
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.