How Is Fault Determined When a Car Hits a Bicyclist?

Texas roads witness a constant flow of cars and bicycles, creating a shared space that is often harmonious but occasionally fraught with risks. When these two modes of transport collide, questions of fault and responsibility immediately arise. Understanding how fault is determined when a car hits a bicyclist in Texas is not only essential for legal matters but also for fostering a safer environment on our roads. Whether you’re a cyclist, driver, or simply an advocate for road safety, this information is vital for creating awareness and promoting responsible road-sharing practices.

At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we’ve been serving the Austin, Texas, community for decades, and our experienced team of bicycle accident attorneys understands the nuances involved in cases where cars collide with bicyclists. Our commitment to ensuring justice and securing fair compensation for our clients is unwavering. We are dedicated to helping you navigate the legal complexities, determine fault, and work tirelessly to protect your rights. Let us be your advocates in seeking the justice and compensation you deserve.

How Is Fault Determined When a Car Hits a Bicyclist?

Texas is a state known for its vast landscapes and diverse population, making it a hub for both drivers and cyclists. However, with the increasing number of cars and bicycles sharing the road, accidents involving cars and bicyclists have become a common occurrence. Determining fault in such cases is crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings. 

Texas Bicycle Laws

Before we discuss fault determination, it’s essential to understand the bicycle laws in Texas. 

Right of Way: According to Texas law, bicyclists have the same rights and duties as drivers of motor vehicles. This means that bicyclists are entitled to their share of the road and must obey traffic signals and signs, just like motorists.

  • Passing distance: Texas law requires drivers to maintain a safe passing distance when overtaking a bicycle. This distance is defined as at least three feet, or if it’s impractical to provide three feet, the driver must slow down and pass when it’s safe to do so.
  • Riding on the right: Bicyclists are generally required to ride as far to the right as practicable, but there are exceptions, such as when preparing for a left turn, avoiding hazards, or when the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle.
  • Helmet laws: Texas does not have a statewide helmet law for adults, but some cities may have local ordinances requiring helmets.

These laws provide a foundation for assessing the actions of both cyclists and drivers involved in an accident.

Fault Determination Factors

When a car-bicycle accident occurs, several factors are considered in determining fault:

  • Right of way violations: If either the driver or bicyclist violates the other’s right of way, it can be a key factor in determining fault. For instance, if a driver fails to yield to a bicyclist at a stop sign or red light, the driver may be at fault.
  • Negligence: Determining negligence involves assessing whether either party acted recklessly or failed to exercise reasonable care. Examples include a driver texting while driving or a bicyclist running a stop sign.
  • Witness statements and evidence: Eyewitness accounts, physical evidence at the scene (skid marks, debris), and surveillance footage can play a significant role in establishing fault.
  • Police reports: Law enforcement officers who respond to the scene will often compile a police report, including their assessment of fault based on evidence and witness statements.
  • Expert testimony: In some cases, accident reconstruction experts may be called upon to provide expert testimony to help establish fault.

Various elements are considered when determining fault after an accident. The best move you can make is to contact an experienced bicycle accident lawyer with the expertise to ensure you have the best chance of recovering fair compensation.

Comparative Fault in Texas

Texas follows a modified comparative fault system, which means that if both the driver and bicyclist share some level of fault, their respective recoveries are reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if a party is found to be more than 50% at fault, they may be barred from recovering any damages.

Insurance Considerations

Texas is an at-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. In Texas, the at-fault driver’s insurance should cover the damages caused to the bicyclist. If the bicyclist has their own auto insurance or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, it may also come into play.

Contact an Experienced Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

In Texas, as in many places across the country, the collision between a car and a bicyclist can lead to complex legal and personal challenges. Understanding the intricacies of fault determination in such cases is crucial for all road users. By following traffic laws, respecting each other’s rights, and promoting responsible road-sharing practices, we can collectively reduce the number of car-bicycle accidents on our roads. It’s a shared responsibility that extends to both drivers and cyclists.

At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we’re not just lawyers; we’re advocates for safer roads. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of a car-bicycle collision, don’t hesitate to contact our dedicated team of bicycle accident attorneys. We’re here to provide the legal expertise you need to navigate these challenging situations, determine fault, and protect your rights. Your safety matters, and we’re here to help. Visit our website to set up a consultation through our contact form, or contact us at (512) 454-3751.