Waco, Texas, is a city with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including biking. Whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or just starting, riding your bike can be a great way to get around and stay in shape. However, biking also comes with risks, especially when sharing the road with cars and other vehicles.

Below are some essential tips for staying safe while biking in Waco and what to do if a driver hits you. By following certain guidelines, you can hopefully enjoy all the benefits of biking while minimizing your risk of injury. By consulting a Waco bicycle accident lawyer to learn about your rights following a crash and injuries, you can protect your future.

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Essential Bike Safety Tips for Waco Riders

Here are some specific tips for staying safe while cycling in Waco.

Always Wear a Helmet

One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself while biking is to wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of head injury by as much as 85 percent. Ensure your helmet fits properly and meets safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

While wearing a helmet can prevent head trauma in many cases, it is not total protection. If a driver hits you on your bike, you can still suffer brain injury and related conditions, even with a proper helmet. Never assume you are fine simply because you wore a helmet during an accident.

Follow Traffic Laws

When biking on the road, you have the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle drivers. This means you must follow all traffic laws, including stopping at stop signs and red lights, riding in the same direction as traffic, and using hand signals when turning or stopping.

Unfortunately, drivers might not follow traffic laws in the same manner, and they might collide with your bike when you are being as safe as possible.

Stay Visible

Ensure you’re visible to drivers, especially at night or in low-light conditions. Wear bright or reflective clothing, and consider installing lights on your bike (a white light in front and a red light in back). For visibility, you can also add reflective tape to your bike frame, helmet, or clothing.

As visible as you might be, you cannot ensure that a distracted driver sees you and avoids hitting your bicycle.

Watch for Hazards

Be on the lookout for potential hazards, such as potholes, gravel, or debris in the road. Also, watch out for car doors opening unexpectedly, as this is a common cause of bicycle accidents. If you see a hazard ahead, slow down and proceed with caution.

Sometimes, a car door or another hazard appears so quickly, there is no way to avoid it.

Use Bike Lanes and Paths When Available

Use designated bike lanes or paths to separate yourself from vehicle traffic whenever possible. However, remember that these lanes and paths may still be crossroads or driveways, so stay alert and watch for turning cars.

Keep in mind that drivers might not be watching for bike lanes crossing over roads, so they still might crash into you, even if you have the right-of-way.

Ride Predictably

Avoid sudden movements or swerves, and use hand signals to communicate your intentions to drivers. The more predictable you are, the easier drivers can anticipate your movements and avoid a collision. As predictable as you might be, drivers might still fail to pay close attention to your signals and might collide with you.

What to Do After a Driver Hits You on Your Bike

Despite your best efforts to stay safe, accidents can still happen. If a car hits you while you are biking in Waco, take these steps to protect yourself and your rights.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

The first and most important step after a bicycle accident is to seek medical attention. Even if you believe your injuries are minor or you feel fine in the immediate aftermath, you should always have a medical professional evaluate your condition. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding or whiplash, may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term consequences if you do not receive proper treatment.

For example, many people might feel disoriented following a bike crash, but because they were wearing a helmet, they assume they are safe from head injuries. As mentioned above, a helmet only goes so far in protecting from head trauma, and injuries as still possible. What a cyclist might mistake as typical stress and confusion from the chaos of an accident can really be symptoms of a concussion.

Without a diagnosis of a concussion, the accident victim might experience escalating symptoms and challenges over the coming days and weeks. They might unknowingly engage in activities that worsens their condition. Do not risk this.

Instead, seeking medical attention right away allows professionals to conduct diagnostic tests to identify invisible injuries. You can receive proper diagnoses to begin treatment and demonstrate to insurance companies that you suffered injuries in the crash.

When seeking medical attention, always provide a detailed account of the accident to your healthcare provider. This will ensure accurate documentation of your injuries and their connection to the incident. The medical report will serve as valuable evidence should you decide to pursue a legal claim against the driver or their insurance company.

If you wait to get medical care, it can be more challenging to prove your injuries stemmed from the bike crash in question when it is time to file your injury claim.

Avoid Having In-Depth Conversations With Insurance Companies

Person submitting an insurance claim using a tablet, form on screen.

Following a bicycle accident, you may quickly receive calls from insurance companies representing the driver involved. While you should cooperate with the investigation process, you should also avoid having lengthy conversations with insurance adjusters regarding the details of the incident or your injuries. Insurance adjusters may try to use your statements against you to minimize the settlement they offer.

Insurance companies are businesses trying to protect their profits and bottom lines, which involves limiting payouts to claimants whenever possible. If you say anything that allows adjusters to minimize your injuries or limit the policyholder’s liability for the accident, they will use it to the insurer’s advantage. Often, accident victims make comments without even realizing it.

Instead of having conversations or giving  recorded statements to adjusters, it is wise to let a bicycle accident attorney handle all communications with insurance companies on your behalf. An experienced bicycle accident attorney will know how to have these discussions while protecting your rights and securing fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Do Not Accept Payment Offers from Drivers or Insurance Companies Without Legal Guidance

Similarly, after a bicycle accident, you may receive offers of payment from the at-fault driver or their insurance company. While these offers may seem tempting, you should never accept any settlement without consulting a skilled bicycle accident lawyer first. Often, these initial offers are far below the actual value of your claim and may not fully account for all the damages you have suffered.

The at-fault driver might throw out a random sum of money, hoping to resolve the matter without affecting their insurance rates. Handling the accident outside of the insurance process is never a good idea.

Insurance companies make quick offers before you know the extent of your injuries and losses. They hope you look at your current bills and think the settlement seems generous and a convenient resolution to the claim. Instead, the offer is likely much, much less than you need and deserve for your overall losses.

A bicycle accident attorney can assess the true value of your claim based on various factors such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any future medical treatments or rehabilitation. They will review any settlement offers compared to your losses and advise whether an offer is fair.

If not, your lawyer will use evidence of your damages to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to meet you in the middle and be reasonable, your bicycle accident lawyer can take your case to court if necessary.

After a bicycle accident with a driver, it is important to prioritize your health and legal rights. Seek immediate medical attention, avoid extensive conversations with insurance companies, and do not accept payment offers without consulting a bicycle accident attorney. By taking these steps, you can protect yourself and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages.

Why You Should Never Delay Consulting a Bike Accident Lawyer

Bike accidents are stressful, and you have a lot on your plate. But always remember that time is of the essence when it comes to seeking legal representation. Delaying the decision to consult a bike accident attorney can have significant consequences for your case and your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. Here are several reasons why you should never delay in reaching out to a skilled and experienced attorney.

Statute of Limitations

One essential aspect of any legal claim is the statute of limitations, which is a deadline under the law for lawsuits. Each state has its own statute of limitations, specifying the time frame within which you can initiate legal proceedings. Failing to meet these deadlines can result in losing your right to seek compensation in court.

Pressure from Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for their tactics to minimize payouts, and they move quickly. You should also move quickly to protect yourself with legal representation. Hiring a lawyer signals to insurers that you mean business and will not easily accept a lowball settlement offer.

A skilled bike accident attorney will be your advocate, protecting you in the face of pressure from insurance companies. They understand the tactics used by insurers and have the experience necessary to negotiate fair compensation on your behalf. By consulting an attorney early on, you ensure that you have someone fighting for your rights and preventing you from being taken advantage of by insurance companies.

Preserving Evidence

 Bicycle helmet on road foreground, crashed bike and car in background.

In any legal case, evidence is necessary to establish liability and prove the extent of your damages. Bike accidents are no exception. However, as time passes, important evidence can be lost or compromised, making it harder for your lawyer to build a strong case. That’s why you should consult a bike accident lawyer without delay.

An experienced attorney will immediately take steps to preserve and gather evidence related to your accident, such as surveillance footage, witness statements, and expert opinions. They will also work to document your injuries, gather medical records, and compile any other evidence necessary to support your claim. By acting promptly, you give your attorney the best opportunity to secure and preserve the evidence needed to build a compelling case.

Peace of Mind

Dealing with a bike accident can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. By consulting a bike accident lawyer early on, you can find reassurance and peace of mind knowing that your case is in capable hands. A skilled attorney will make sure you know your options, keeping you informed and advocating for you every step of the way.

Having a lawyer on the case allows you to focus on your recovery and rehabilitation without the added stress of worrying about legal matters. They will handle all communications with insurance companies, negotiate settlements on your behalf, and, if necessary, take your case to court.

Contact a Waco Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today

Biking in Waco offers a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the city and get some exercise. However, prioritize your safety by wearing appropriate gear, understanding traffic laws, and always staying alert. By following the safety tips in this article and knowing the steps to take if a car hits you, you can hopefully reduce your chances of injury and protect your rights if an accident happens.

If you are in a bicycle accident, remember you’re not alone. Reaching out to an experienced Waco personal injury lawyer is always the best decision. Never wait to seek your free consultation today.

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