Huntsville Bicycle and Pedestrian Injury Lawyers
Fighting for bike riders and pedestrians throughout North Alabama
Walking and getting around by bicycle are pleasurable activities for many people across Alabama. For people without cars, they’re often the most practical way to get to school, work, stores, and neighbors. Bicycle riders and pedestrians have the right to expect that cars, trucks and all vehicles will be on the lookout for them.
At Martin & Helms, our Huntsville injury lawyers represent individuals and families who have been seriously injured by the negligence of others. If you were hurt while walking around Huntsville or Decatur, or injured while riding your bike in North Alabama, we want to help. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Pedestrian deaths are on the rise
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in 2016 in America. Pedestrians over 65 accounted for nearly 20% of those deaths; another 20% were children under 15 years-of-age. The People Powered Movement reported that in 2015, there were 45,000 reported bicycle accidents in the United States.
Common reasons pedestrians are struck
Pedestrians are often injured while they are crossing an intersection cross-walk. Drivers who are looking to beat the light or to make a turn often forget that they need to look for pedestrians as well as other vehicles.
The CDC states the alcohol causes about half of all pedestrian fatalities.
- 33% involved pedestrians whose blood alcohol content was above .08.
- 13% involved drivers whose BAC was above .08
Children are also at risk for being struck by vehicles. Many children play baseball and other games in the street. If they play in a field and a ball flies out into the street, children will run out to get the ball without checking to see if a car is coming. Drivers need to be on the lookout for children especially in residential areas.
Common reasons bicyclists are injured
Unlike pedestrians, bicyclists often ride in the same lane as a car – especially on one-lane roads or rural roads. Some of the reasons bicycle riders are injured include:
- Distracted driving
- Driver’s failure to yield to the cyclist
- Drivers failing to see cyclists while making a right-hand or left-hand turn
- “Dooring,” which is when a driver throws open a door and hits a cyclist
- Visibility issues at night, in poor weather, or because of poor road designs
- Defects or debris in the roads themselves
- Defective bike parts
Alabama requires that all vehicles that attempt to overtake bicycles must have a separation distance of three feet or more from the bicycle. This requirement applies if the bike rider is on a roadway marked with a bicycle lane, or a road with a speed limit of 45 mph or less without “a double yellow line separating cars from oncoming traffic indicating a no passing zone.” Additional requirements may apply.
It is also illegal to open a motor vehicle door on the “side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic.”
Types of pedestrian and bike rider injuries
Cars, trucks, and other vehicles are simply too heavy and too powerful for most pedestrians on foot and bike riders. When collisions occur, death is a strong possibility. Survivors often suffer:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Internal crush injuries
- Muscle, ligament, and tissue damage
- Injuries to the eyes and face
- Road rash
- Cuts and bruises
Many injuries are permanent. Many injuries require a lifetime of medical care and a lifetime of pain and suffering.
Hit and run accidents
One of the major concerns in pedestrian and bicycle accident injuries is that the driver may drive off after the accident. When this happens, experienced lawyers work with investigators and the police to find witnesses who can identify the vehicle and find these unconscionable drivers.
Bicycle safety laws in Alabama
Just as drivers must respect the rights of bicycle riders, bike riders are required to follow Alabama laws and common sense bicycle riding procedures too. If a bike rider is partially at fault – in any way and in any amount – the bike rider may lose his or her right to file a claim against the driver. That is one more reason why you need to speak with an experienced bike and pedestrian injury lawyer.
Some of the requirements bike operators need to follow in Alabama are:
- Anyone under 16 years-of-age who rides a bicycle must wear a helmet. While you are not required to wear a helmet if you are 16 or older, it is generally considered safer to wear a helmet to protect you if you fall.
- You must ride as far to the right as possible.
- You must follow the traffic laws. This means, for example, you can’t ride through a red light even if no cars appear to be coming.
- Bikers are not allowed on the sidewalks
- You can’t drink alcohol and ride a bicycle
- You can’t hold onto a vehicle in front of you to go faster
- At night, bike owners must use visible white lights in front and red reflectors in back – so they can be seen at safe distances.
Common sense bicycle tips include inspecting your bicycle, making sure the seat is the right height for your body, making sure the handlebars are the right height, using bike carriers for groceries and books, and other precautions.
If you are injured while riding your bike or walking around, you may suffer injuries that can take years to heal, if they ever fully heal at all. Martin & Helms represents the catastrophically injured throughout North Alabama in claims for damages such as:
- Medical expenses, including costs associated with rehabilitation, therapy, and adaptive technologies
- Lost wages and loss of future earning potential
- Property losses
- Pain and suffering
In addition, if your loved one has died in a collision, we can help you claim punitive damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Talk to an experienced pedestrian and bike accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident
Delay can hurt your claim. At Martin & Helms, our Huntsville bike and pedestrian injury lawyers work with investigators to examine the scene of the accident, speak with you and all witnesses, examine your bike, and talk to any police officers who were called to the accident scene. We work with your doctors to understand your medical condition and your pain. In death cases, we guide families through this tragic time. For aggressive help from attorneys who have been working for the injured for more than 20 years, call us today. You can reach us at 256-539-1990 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment with us in Huntsville or Decatur. We represent clients across North Alabama on a contingency fee basis.