St. Louis Bicycle Accident Attorney On Your Side
Bicycling is a great way to stay in shape, get around the busy city of St. Louis, and minimize your carbon footprint. However, bicyclists are at much greater risk of serious injury or death than drivers and occupants of passenger vehicles. Drivers ignore the rules of the road or fail to give bicyclists enough space, often leading to tragedy. If you are hurt in a cycling accident, you need to discuss your options with a St. Louis bicycle accident attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. Contact Finney Injury Law now to find out how we can help.
Bicycle Riding Laws in Missouri
As a bicyclist, it’s important that you know local bicycling laws for your own safety. Statewide, there is no law regarding the use of helmets, but several counties do have helmet laws in place. Cyclists must stay off of sidewalks in business districts. While riding on sidewalks in other areas, cyclists must yield right of way to pedestrians.
While on roadways, bicyclists have the same rights as drivers. Many drivers either do not know this or think that bicyclists are too slow to be on the road, and as a result, engage in aggressing driving behaviors. Legally, Missouri cyclists can operate at speeds lower than posted limits. Although bicyclists can drive on the shoulder if they choose, they are not required to do so. They can use main roadways if they wish. Cyclists cannot operate on interstates.
In addition to having the same rights as drivers, cyclists have the same responsibilities and obligations as drivers. They must follow the same laws, which includes driving in the same direction as traffic, obeying traffic signals and stop signs, and use equipment that increases visibility and allows them to ride safely.
What Are the Causes of Bicycle Accidents in St. Louis?
Bicycle accidents are an unfortunate reality for those who choose to ride their bikes on the roadways. While many factors contribute to these accidents, a significant portion can be attributed to drivers of vehicles. Whether you are a daily commuter or a weekend warrior, every time you hop on your bicycle, you face potential dangers. Despite being protected by the same privileges as drivers, some motorists make it their mission to intimidate cyclists. It’s not uncommon for drivers to zoom past bikers, tailgate them, or even turn abruptly in front of them without a second thought.
Bicycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Unfortunately, it also comes with risks, as bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to accidents on the road. Traumatic injuries can result from collisions with motor vehicles, and in the aftermath of an accident, the physical and emotional toll can be immense. Chronic pain, loss of income, and overwhelming medical expenses can add up quickly, making a difficult situation even harder to navigate. Thankfully, a skilled St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer can help. At Finney Injury Law, we understand the challenges arising after a bicycle accident. Our team is committed to providing compassionate and knowledgeable guidance to help you get the resources you need to recover and move forward. There are many causes of bicycle accidents, including the following:
- Distracted driving is a problem for everyone on the roadways. Distracted drivers may not see bicyclists, motorcyclists, or pedestrians because they are talking on their cell phones, texting, eating a meal, turning around to see what the children and pets are doing, trying to set a GPS device, talking to a passenger, or simply fiddling with car controls. Just a few seconds of distraction on the part of a driver can result in an accident with serious injuries to the bicyclist who has virtually no protection.
- Fatigue is also more and more common among drivers. As a nation, we simply do not get enough sleep. Going for eighteen hours without sleep is roughly equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .05, and going for twenty-four hours without sleep leaves you operating in the same manner as a legally drunk person with a BAC of 0.08 percent. Being fatigued behind the wheel can be bad for bicyclists, which are more difficult for an overly fatigued driver to see.
- Failure to leave a proper “buffer” between the vehicle and the bicyclist is a common cause of bicycle accidents. Drivers who tailgate bicyclists, as well as those who pass within less than three feet, are creating an extremely dangerous situation in which a cyclist is more likely to be hit—and injured.
- Drivers who exceed the speed limit are also making the roads more dangerous—not only for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians but also for other drivers. Exceeding the speed limit increases the time it takes for the driver to stop while limiting the amount of time they have to make a driving decision.
- Constantly changing lanes with no signals and no warning of any kind is a particular danger to bicyclists. Drivers who weave in and out of traffic are less likely to be able to take evasive action to avoid hitting a bicyclist.
- Making a turn without properly looking for bicyclists is an avoidable cause of bicycle accidents at intersections. Even when a driver has a green light, they have an obligation to look for bicyclists before they turn.
- Failure to yield to bicyclists is a form of reckless driving that puts bicyclists in harm’s way. Merging lanes, intersections, and roundabouts can all be dangerous to bicyclists when drivers fail to yield.
- Drivers who run stop signs or red lights can cause dangerous, even deadly intersection accidents, both in cities and in more suburban areas.
- Impairment, whether from drinking alcohol or from illicit or prescribed drugs, can cause a driver to have slowed reaction times and poor judgment. An impaired driver is a danger to everyone on the road, especially to vulnerable bicyclists.
- Hit-and-run accidents are all too common for bicyclists. When a driver hits a bicyclist, they likely know they are in trouble. If they were driving while impaired or distracted, or driving on an expired license or without insurance, they might not stick around to see how badly you are hurt. This can be a difficult situation; if the police are unable to locate the hit-and-run driver, you cannot sue that driver’s insurance for damages. Try to get a description of the vehicle and driver, talk to anyone who might have witnessed the accident, or even post on social media to see if anyone saw the accident and can help.
What Types of Injuries Are Common Following a Bicycle Accident?
While a bicyclist can sustain any type of injury when hit by a vehicle, head injuries are among the most common type of injury for bicyclists. Facial lacerations and injuries are also common in bicycle accidents, including a fractured jaw, blindness or eye injury, lost or broken teeth, a broken nose, or permanent scarring and disfigurement. Musculoskeletal trauma and soft tissue injuries are very common following a bicycle accident. Broken legs, torn ligaments in the knee, a dislocated shoulder, a sprained or broken wrist, or broken ribs and internal bleeding are all common injuries resulting from being hit by a vehicle.
Bicyclists who are struck with extreme force could suffer a back injury, even a damaged spinal cord which could result in paralysis. Aside from extremely serious injuries, many bicycle accidents are fatal for the bicyclist. It is important to speak to a knowledgeable St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer from Finney Injury Law immediately after your accident.
How Often Does a Bicycle Accident Result in a Head Injury?
According to the National Institute of Health, among children and adolescents under the age of 20, an average of 247 traumatic brain injury deaths and 140,000 head injuries are related to bicycle accidents each year. Head injuries can range from scrapes on the head to fractures of the skull—either of which can result in a brain injury. A concussion is a closed head injury, and the more serious form of concussion is a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can keep the victim from ever leading a normal life again, including working and making a living. A severe traumatic brain injury can not only cause neurological deficits, but can also result in mental and emotional problems. Bicyclists whose accident resulted in a serious head injury should talk to a highly skilled St. Louis bicycle accident lawyer from Finney Law Office as quickly as possible.
Common Types of Bicycle Accidents
Most bike accidents involve a motor vehicle. Common types of accidents include:
- Car door accidents. Drivers are supposed to check for traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists before they open their driver-side door. When they open their door in front of a cyclist, the cyclist may run into the door and be thrown from their bike.
- Accidents that occur when bicyclists ride against the flow of traffic. A substantial number of accidents occur when bicyclists do not drive in the same direction as traffic. This can make it impossible for drivers to prevent accidents.
- Left cross. When a car and bicycle approach an intersection from opposite sides and the car turns left, they may strike a cyclist going straight. These accidents often occur because of a driver misjudging the bike’s speed or not seeing them at all.
- Right hook. When a car is turning right, bicycle accidents can occur in several ways. The driver may pass a cyclist and turn right in front of them, forcing the bicyclist to swerve to avoid a collision. If a car and bike are waiting for a light to change and the driver turns right as the light changes, they may strike the bicyclist.
How Drivers Can Protect Bicyclists
Drivers have an obligation to be aware of their surroundings and prevent bicycle accidents. When accidents occur, bicyclists are far more likely to sustain severe or fatal injuries than drivers. Drivers should yield to bicyclists as they would another car and avoid underestimating a bicyclist’s speed. Underestimating a cyclist’s speed can cause a driver to pull out in front of the cyclist and cause a crash. Drivers should be conscious of bicyclists around them; many drivers don’t see cyclists because they are looking for other cars. When turning right, drivers should look to the right and behind, not just to the left. Additionally, drivers should give bicyclists plenty of space and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
Safety Tips for Bicyclists
By following a few key safety tips, cyclists can minimize their accident risk and protect themselves. While riding, make sure you are following the rules and signage of the road. Use a bell or announce yourself before passing pedestrians, both for your safety and for theirs. Be aware of the vehicles driving around you and put distance between yourself and any motorist who seems to be driving erratically or aggressively. Look out for cars that are turning or backing out of driveways, as they may not be looking for cyclists.
Katy Trail State Park Accidents
Katy Trail, which runs across must of Missouri, is a major destination for cyclists from all over the country. However, the trail intersects with urban and countryside roads. The trail runs through cities like St. Charles, Augusta, and Jefferson City, so cyclists should take extra care when coming to an intersection. This trail is also widely used by joggers, and cyclists must be careful while passing. In 2010, a jogger on Katy Trail died after being struck by a bicyclist. As is the case during any ride, cyclists should be aware of their surroundings and where they stop. A cyclist suffered injuries during a break in their ride when a rock toppled from a nearby cliff and hit them on the head.
How Can You Benefit from Hiring a St. Louis Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near You?
When you have been hit by a driver while on a bicycle, it is likely that your injuries are severe. Healing from your injuries may take weeks or months, or you may never totally heal and could be left with a permanent disability or disfigurement. You need a strong legal advocate in your corner who will fight for you every step of the way while you have the time you need to heal from your injuries. You may never be able to return to work, so you want your attorney to strongly advocate for lost future wages so you can remain independent. At Finney Injury Law, we will answer all your questions in a comprehensive manner, working hard to build a case on your behalf that will result in full and fair compensation. If your case needs to go to trial, we are strong civil trial lawyers who are always fully prepared.
Hiring a St. Louis Bicycle Accident Attorney
It is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a biking accident. Drivers are quick to blame cyclists, often believing that cyclists do not have the same rights as drivers or that cyclists must always yield to motorists. Riders are injured by drunk drivers, inattentive drivers, and aggressive drivers every single day. A bicycle accident lawyer will gather evidence, go after the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation, and fight for your right to compensation. Finney Injury Law gets clients’ results through careful planning, detailed investigation, and aggressive representation. Our goal is to hold the liable party accountable and ensure that a bicycle accident does not leave you with an unfair financial burden.
We’re ready to talk to you and help you explore your options after a St. Louis bicycle accident. Contact our team of St. Louis personal injury trial lawyers by filling out our contact form or calling us at 314-293-4222 to schedule your free consultation.