Shreveport Bicycle Accident Lawyer
It’s clear that bicycle riders are far less protected than vehicle occupants in an auto accident. Cyclists don’t have safety belts, airbags, or a 1,000+ pound metal body surrounding them. Bicycle riders are even more exposed to an impact than motorcyclists, who at least have the advantage of a stronger vehicle frame, sturdier clothing and higher-quality helmets. Bicycle accident victims are severely at risk for suffering catastrophic injuries in a crash, including brain injuries, spinal injuries and wrongful death. The damage done, medical care and rehabilitation required, and quality of life following a bicycle accident can be so severe that an extensive amount of compensation is necessary to help an injured cyclist and family members deal with the pain and disruption a serious bicycle accident has brought into their lives. At Rice & Kendig, our Shreveport bicycle accident lawyers understand this need and have decades of experience preparing claims, negotiating settlements and trying cases to juries to achieve significant financial relief for injury victims who sorely need it. Call our office for a free consultation after a bicycle accident in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana, and let us help you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Louisiana is a Dangerous State for Bicycle Accidents
Bicycle riding is risky and dangerous everywhere, but Louisiana consistently ranks as one of the most dangerous states in the nation for bicycle accidents. Many drivers here openly express hostility toward cyclists. Some laws have been passed to protect bicycle riders, but other proposals have failed. Then there is the high rate of drinking and driving car accidents in Louisiana, which put cyclists at risk. Louisiana is also home to fantastically scenic roads that entice bikers but can be too narrow and dangerous to share the road safely with motor vehicles. These factors and others combine to rank Louisiana as the second or third worst state for cyclists, year after year.
When Drivers Don’t Respect Cyclists, Accidents Follow
Motor vehicles are required by law to share the road with bicycles, but any experienced cyclist will tell you they don’t get equal respect from vehicle drivers. Louisiana law makes it illegal for drivers to harass bicycle riders, but the fact we need a law only goes to show how pervasive a problem bicycle harassment is. Cyclists are constantly subjected to the following mistreatment on the road:
- Cars pass too closely for safely
- Vehicle occupants throw objects at cyclists
- Drivers overtake cyclists and then slow down rapidly and dangerously
- Cars occupy bike lanes reserved for cyclists
- Drivers cut off cyclists
Bicycle riders additionally face risks from the countless negligent driving behaviors that cause car accidents in Shreveport-Bossier City and North Louisiana, such as speeding, running stop signs and red lights, failing to signal turns or lane changes, and failing to check blind spots before turning or changing lanes. Drunk and distracted drivers are especially dangerous to bicycle riders, who are harder to spot under the best of circumstances and are even more likely to get hit by a driver who has been drinking or is texting while driving.
Louisiana Bicycle Laws and Dangers Unique to Bicycle Accidents
In most instances, bicycle riders are required by law to ride as far to the right as practicable. However, cyclists can legally occupy the entire lane or ride to the left when passing, turning left, or for safety reasons, such as when the lane is too narrow for both a car and a bicycle to share or to avoid an object in the roadway or a road defect such as a pothole.
Louisiana has a “Three Feet for Safety Law” for bicycles. Drivers are required by law to exercise due care while overtaking and passing a bicycle. They must do so at a “safe distance” that is at least three feet away, and they must maintain that safe distance until the driver is safely past the overtaken bicycle.
Unlike Louisiana’s universal helmet law for motorcyclists, which requires any person riding on a motorcycle to wear a helmet that meets certain specifications, state law only mandates helmets for bicycle riders who are under 12 years old. Prudent riders wear a quality helmet, but even the best helmet does not provide complete protection in a severe crash. Failure to wear a helmet is not by itself evidence of negligence on the part of the rider.
A serious risk of injury to bicyclists comes from getting “doored.” In the world of cycling, dooring means that a person in a car opens their door into the path of an oncoming bicyclist, and the cyclist does not have time to safely avoid smashing into the door. A dooring accident can cause the cyclist to flip over and land on his or her head or get flung into traffic and run over. Dooring injuries can be painful and traumatic and range from minor injuries to fatal ones. Under Louisiana law, it is illegal to open a car door without first checking to see that the action will not interfere with the movement of traffic or endanger any other person or vehicle. It is also against the law to leave a door open any longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
Skilled and Experienced Legal Representation is Essential in a Shreveport-Bossier City Bicycle Accident Case
Drivers who cause a crash and their insurance companies will often try to shift the blame to the biker. Under Louisiana’s comparative fault laws, any percentage of negligence assigned to the cyclist will reduce the amount of compensation they can recover. Our experienced car and bike accident lawyers at Rice & Kendig know how to investigate a traffic accident, gather appropriate evidence, and build a strong case that proves the driver’s liability and keeps the bike rider from being unfairly tagged with negligence for an accident that wasn’t their fault. Rice & Kendig is committed to providing high-quality legal representation for accident and injury victims to help them recover the full amount of compensation available.
Experienced and Dedicated Shreveport-Bossier City Bicycle Accident Lawyers
If a bicycle wreck has hurt your or a loved one in Shreveport-Bossier City or North Louisiana, call Rice & Kendig injury lawyers for a free consultation about your claims. Call us at 318-222-2772 to visit with a skilled and experienced Shreveport-Bossier City bicycle accident attorney today.