Thousands of Hawaiians use bicycles every day, whether for recreation, exercise, or simply to get from place to place. In addition, the often idyllic Hawaiian weather means that people can use their bicycles year-round. While there is no question that bicycling is a healthy, economical, and often fun way to get from place to place, it also exposes riders and others on the road to a risk of bicycle accidents and serious injury. This is particularly true when bicycles and motor vehicles operate in close proximity with one another.
The law allows bicyclists to share the road with cars and trucks and also imposes the same responsibilities in terms of obeying traffic laws. Unfortunately, when accidents happen, it is most often the bicyclist who is seriously injured. In many cases, an injured bicyclist will be able to recover for his or her injuries by filing a legal claim against the party or parties that were at fault for the accident. The first step in making sure you get the compensation to which you are entitled after a bicycle accident is to discuss your case with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Call Davis Levin Livingston at (808) 740-0633 for a free consultation with an experienced Hawaii bicycle accident attorney.
Helping Cyclists Injured by Negligent Drivers Recover
Bicycle accidents happen on a daily basis. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 50,000 bicyclists were injured in traffic accidents in 2012 alone. Of these accidents, a significant number were likely caused by driver negligence.
There are many ways the driver of a car or truck could be negligent, including the following:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Impaired driving
- Failure to stop at stop signs
- Following too closely
- Not signaling turns
- Not signaling lane changes
- Inadequate training
In the context of personal injury law, the term “negligence” has a very specific meaning, so it is important that bicyclists that are involved in accidents discuss their situation with an experienced Hawaii personal injury lawyer before accepting any settlement offer or making any statements to insurance companies.
Common Bike Accident Injuries
When bicyclists are struck by motor vehicles, the injuries they may sustain can be extremely serious. The human body is simply no match for a car or truck, particularly when it is in motion. Furthermore, bicyclists can easily be thrown from their bikes and sustain secondary injuries when they come in contact with the ground, other vehicles, or structures that may be in the vicinity of an accident.
Among the more common types of injuries that bicyclists can sustain are:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Joint dislocations
These and other injuries that can be sustained in bicycle accidents may result in significant physical pain and emotional anguish. In addition, they may keep victims from working for an extended period of time, possibly resulting in the loss of significant income. In particularly serious cases, victims may even need to acquire in-home and around-the-clock medical care in order to meet their daily needs. Fortunately, an attorney can often help victims obtain compensation for these and other losses that they sustained as a result of a bicycle accident.
Nice Weather Attributes to Bike Accidents
Hawaii’s year-round warm weather makes riding bicycles, motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters very appealing. In addition, according to KHON news, Hawaii has the most bicycle-related facilities per capita in the country. These factors have led to a rise in cyclists on the roads in Hawaii. Fortunately, in Hawaii, bicyclists have the same legal rights as other motorists on the roads.
Still, accidents do occur. Automobile drivers become distracted at times and do not see the cyclist on the road. Further, some drivers erroneously believe they have more rights than cyclists and become enraged when a cyclist is nearby or causes them to slow down. In addition, the Hawaii streets can often be crowded causing dangerous collisions. Since the cyclist’s vehicles tend to be more vulnerable, the consequences of a collision can be devastating to them.
Vulnerable Roadway User Laws
Recognizing these dangers, a group of bicyclists is urging lawmakers in Hawaii to enact vulnerable roadway user laws to protect riders. Believing that something more is needed than the current laws already on the book, Hawaii residents are joining in a nationwide movement for better laws. Washington, Oregon, Delaware, and New York already have vulnerable roadway user laws and more states are planning to follow in their footsteps.
The Hawaii bill would implement severe penalties for those who severely injure cyclists. Some consequences include stiff fines, loss of license, and even prison.
A cyclist who has suffered injuries may recover for the injuries caused by a negligent driver. Payment for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and economic loss are among the potentially recoverable damages.
Request a Free Consultation from a Skilled Bicycle Accident Attorney
Individuals who have been injured in a bicycle accident should discuss their options with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The Hawaii bicycle accident lawyers of Davis Levin Livingston are dedicated to helping Honolulu residents and injured individuals on all the Hawaiian Islands recover for their losses.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (808) 740-0633 or contact us online.