Knowing the rules of the road is advised for anyone heading out for a beautiful bike ride in Texas. A question that frequently arises is regarding bicycle helmets: Required or not? Read on for more information.
Am I Required to Wear a Helmet While Riding My Bicycle in Texas?
Regarding bicycle helmets, the state of Texas doesn’t require them. However, many cities across the state require helmets for minors (under 18), so if you’re biking with children, it’s a good idea to check the local laws and ordinances. Many cities also require helmets for minors riding what’s known as micromobility devices, which can include bicycles, scooters, skateboards, e-bikes, electric scooters and skateboards, bike-sharing services, and others. Visit your location’s city or county government websites to learn what’s required.
What Kinds of Injuries Can Occur in a Bicycle Accident?
Various types of injuries can result from a bicycle accident, from minor to life-threatening.
- Bruises and scrapes.
- Sprains and strains.
- Fractures of bones or teeth.
- Internal organ and tissue damage.
- Eye damage.
- Lung injuries.
- Brain injuries (one of the most common forms of bicycle accidents that lead to death or long-term disability), such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). One form of TBI is a concussion.
- Spinal injuries can also lead to death or long-term disability or paralysis.
What Are Some Common Causes for Bicycle Accidents in Texas?
There are many causes of bicycle accidents, so bike riders must remain vigilant while on the roads. Unfortunately, while bike accidents can occur without another vehicle involved, the most common forms of bike accidents do involve another motorist. There are several reasons a vehicle can strike a bicycle:
- The driver is distracted.
- The driver is too close to the bicycle (within 3 fee
- “Dooring” a bicycle (which means opening a car door without looking to see if a bicyclist is coming, and the door strikes the bicycle).
- The driver breaks traffic laws, such as driving under the influence, speeding, not yielding when turning, or running red lights or stop signs.
- The driver drives aggressively, such as veering between lanes rapidly and without using turn signals.
- While vehicles often cause an accident, bicyclists can also have some fault.
- The bicyclist isn’t visible, such as not wearing reflective clothing after dark.
- The bicyclist doesn’t signal a turn.
- The bicyclist breaks traffic laws that apply to them.
- The bicyclist is distracted (looking at a cell phone, etc.).
What if I’m Partly Responsible for the Accident?
There are times when both the bicyclist and the driver have some fault in the accident. For example, a vehicle was speeding, but the bicyclist didn’t signal an upcoming left turn and turned directly into the car’s path. Different states across the U.S. handle assigning portions of negligence in these cases in three different ways:
Pure comparative negligence. This means that the court will determine how much fault is assigned to each party involved in the accident. How much the injured person will receive in damages depends on their assigned liability. They could receive damages if they were not 100% responsible for the accident. If they were found 99% guilty, they could still receive 1% of the damages awarded.
Contributory negligence. In states that follow this standard, the injured person will not be able to receive any damages if they were at fault for the accident, even in a minor way.
Modified comparative negligence. In states that use modified comparative negligence, the injured person can receive damages if they were not either 50% or 51% at fault for the accident (the threshold depends on the state).
Texas follows the 51% modified comparative negligence standard. If a bicyclist is at least 51% responsible for the accident, they can’t receive damages. That’s why working with an experienced bicycle accident attorney in these cases is vital.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims for Injuries Resulting from a Bicycle Accident?
Yes. In Texas, the law says the injured person has two years from the accident date to file for damages. After that, the other party will likely ask to have the case dismissed because the statute of limitations is passed, and the court will most often agree and refuse to let the case move ahead.
What Should I Do if I Was Injured in a Bicycle Accident While Not Wearing a Helmet?
It’s a good idea to file a police report about the accident, as that may become evidence if you file claims or a lawsuit. You must see a doctor soon after the accident, even if you feel fine. Some injuries, including some severe ones, don’t always present symptoms immediately and can worsen if left untreated.
Then call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. Even though helmets are not required for adults in Texas, the person or company you’re filing for damages from may try to make that a reason not to pay any claims. You’ll want to work with our team of experienced, knowledgeable bicycle accident attorneys to ensure you receive the damages you deserve.
In the meantime, don’t communicate with the insurance representative or attorney representing the other party to the accident. They’ll try to guide you into accepting responsibility for the accident, or they’ll try to convince you to sign a much lower settlement agreement than you’re eligible for. Whether it’s via phone, email, or letter, don’t respond; simply forward the communication to your lawyer.