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Why Does Bexar County Have So Many Fatal Bicycle Crashes?

Aug 26, 2020 Motorcycle & Bicycle Accidents, Vehicle Wrecks

Our community loves bicycles. However, our cycling habits come with a dark side: Bexar County has more fatal bicycle accidents than almost anywhere else in Texas. In this article, our San Antonio bicycle accident attorneys discuss the unique factors that make our roads so dangerous for bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.

San Antonio Has Seen a Dramatic Increase in Fatal Bike Crashes

How Can We Improve Bicycle Safety in San Antonio?

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While bicyclist safety has always been a concern, a rash of recent deaths (including the tragic loss of a 10-year-old girl in February 2020) has brought the issue to the forefront. San Antonio has the sixteenth highest rate for fatal bicycle wrecks in the United States. Between 2017 and 2018, the city’s number of car-bike fatalities doubled, and it’s still on the rise.

In addition to fatal bike crashes, our city reports too many car-bike accidents involving serious injuries. Our team has represented cyclists and other vulnerable road users with claims involving traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, internal injuries, and joint damage.

3 Reasons Why San Antonio and Bexar County Are So Dangerous for Bicyclists

1. Helmets Can’t Prevent Every Bicycle Injury

In a 2016 study, researchers found that wearing a helmet reduced a bicycle rider’s risk of a serious head injury by 69%. This means that even if a cyclist wears a helmet, they still face a significant (31%) risk of suffering a head injury. Further, many head injuries involve more than blunt trauma. During a car-bike crash, bikers are also subjected to rotational and other forces. Studies suggest that rotational forces are more likely to cause concussions.

Finally, a bicycle helmet cannot prevent injuries to your organs, spine, shoulders, knees, and other joints.

2. Busy Streets Create More Serious Car-Bike Crashes

Most of San Antonio’s fatal bicycle crashes happen on busy, congested roads and intersections. Studies suggest that most of San Antonio’s bike-car crashes occur on our busiest streets. In 2019, the majority of fatal bike crashes were on roads that rank as some of San Antonio’s most heavily used.

Unless we act soon, the problem won’t get any better. San Antonio estimates that the city’s population will grow by roughly one million by 2040. Local officials are already looking for ways to encourage less driving. Some of the proposed solutions involve dedicated bike lanes and improved public transportation. However, in the meantime, San Antonio’s cycling community needs to be prepared for a continual rise in crashes.

3. Distracted Driving Is on the Rise

Modern drivers are remarkably distracted. Whether they’re texting, checking their social media profiles, or eating lunch on the run, distracted driving is increasingly common. Every day, distracted drivers injure more than 1,000 people and kill nine. Unfortunately, bike riders and other vulnerable road users are particularly at risk.

Suppose a distracted driver is turning left at an intersection. They glance up from their phone to make sure there isn’t a car with the right of way. When they don’t see a vehicle, they start driving and hit a cyclist. Then, they claim that the bike rider “came out of nowhere!”

Distracted drivers often experience inattentional blindness. Our brains have limited capacity, and when you’re focusing intently on one thing, you may not notice “unexpected” items in your visual field.

The Crosley Law Team Secures a $1.5 Million Settlement for an Injured Bicyclist: Carl R.’s Story

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For example, in a 1998 study, people were asked to focus on a cross on a screen. Occasionally, other images would pop up on the screen, like a brightly colored rectangle and words. Many of the people never noticed these images — they were too focused on the cross.

When you’re driving, your brain is programmed to look out for other cars. However, you’re probably less aware of cyclists and pedestrians. When you’re texting and driving, your brain is less likely to identify these vulnerable road users, in part due to inattentional blindness. However, this “blindness” is negligence, and the distracted driver should be held accountable, especially if they cause a fatal wreck.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Car-Bike Crash

At Crosley Law, we’ve worked closely with families who have lost a loved one in a fatal bike crash. We understand your pain, anger, and confusion, and we want to help. Our San Antonio bike accident lawyers work closely with clients, providing them with the space they need to grieve and the answers and information they deserve.

After a fatal car crash, your family may have a variety of claims:

  • Wrongful death claims: Demand compensation for the family’s lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages
  • Survival claims: Filed on behalf of your deceased loved one, these claims compensate you for their medical bills, lost income while they were alive, and other losses

When you work with our team, we’ll take care of many of the details of these lawsuits, including opening an estate for your loved one, notifying the insurance companies of your claims, negotiating a settlement, and preparing your cases for trial.

“Sometimes, insurance adjusters try to take advantage of a family’s vulnerable state and offer unreasonably low settlements. Even a seemingly generous settlement offer may not fully account for your lifetime of losses and suffering. The injury attorneys at Crosley Law carefully calculate our clients’ settlements, often working with expert witnesses who can help us understand the full extent of your financial and emotional losses.”

We Can Help

Request Your Free Consultation

Sometimes, insurance adjusters try to take advantage of a family’s vulnerable state and offer unreasonably low settlements. Even a seemingly generous settlement offer may not fully account for your lifetime of losses and suffering. The injury attorneys at Crosley Law carefully calculate our clients’ settlements, often working with expert witnesses who can help us understand the full extent of your financial and emotional losses.

Crosley Law: Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorneys in San Antonio

To schedule your free consultation, contact Crosley Law today. You can call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000 or use the quick contact form on this page.

References

2019 annual report. (2020, June). Vision Zero San Antonio. Retrieved from https://www.visionzerosa.com/Portals/38/Files/SAVisionZero-AnnualReport2019_FINAL.pdf?ver=2020-06-29-115247-937

Burrell, M. (2020, February 20). 10-year-old girl hit, killed while riding bike to school. News4SA. Retrieved from https://news4sanantonio.com/news/local/10-year-old-girl-hit-killed-riding-bike-to-school

Carpenter, S. (2001, April). Sights unseen. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/blindness

Distracted driving, 2016. (2018, April). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/View.Publication/812517

Hennessey, K. (2020, February 21). Bicyclists are being killed among San Antonio’s most congested areas, study finds. San Antonio Current. Retrieved from https://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2020/02/21/cyclists-are-being-killed-among-san-antonios-most-congested-areas-study-finds

Kleiven S. (2013). Why Most Traumatic Brain Injuries are Not Caused by Linear Acceleration but Skull Fractures are. Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology, 1, 15. https://doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2013.00015

Olivier, J., Creighton, P. (2017, February). Bicycle injuries and helmet use: a systematic review and meta-analysis, International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 46, Issue 1, February 2017, p. 278–292, https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyw153

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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