Texas Bicycle Accidents Blog
Last Updated : April 24, 2024

Bicycle Accident Claims and Helmet Laws in Texas

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2024 at 9:00 am    

Bicycle Accident Claims and Helmet Laws in Texas

Bicycle accidents can cause severe injuries, and not wearing a helmet could make those injuries worse. If a negligent driver hurts you, you may have a claim for compensation. Whether or not you were wearing a helmet could affect your case. 

A Beaumont bicycle accident lawyer can help you understand Texas’s helmet laws and the impact of helmet use on injury claims. 

Bicycle Accident Helmet Laws Texas

Texas Statute § 551.104 outlines the safety equipment bicycle riders in Texas must have. The list does not include helmets. Helmets are not mandatory, but according to the law, bicycles must have brakes that can cause a skid on dry, level, clean pavement. If riding at night, they must also have:

  • A lamp on the front that emits white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet
  • A red reflector on the rear or red-light lamp that is visible from 500 feet

Additionally, Texas Statute § 551.101 grants bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicle operators. This law means bicycle riders and drivers must share the roadway and obey the same traffic laws. 

Who Is Liable for a Bicycle Accident?

Liability is based on negligence. Negligence actions can include:

  • Drinking and driving
  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Distracted driving and texting and driving
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Passing too closely
  • Making an improper turn

Liability for a bicycle crash may rest with a driver, a driver’s employer, a roadway owner, or even a negligent bicyclist or pedestrian. It’s possible that multiple parties may be at fault.

Sometimes, personal injury victims share some responsibility, which can affect compensation claims. According to Texas’s proportionate responsibility laws, contained in Texas Statute § 33.001-33.017, if you share fault, your awards will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of liability.

For example, if you have $100,000 in losses but are 20 percent liable, you would receive $80,000. Under the law, you cannot seek financial recovery if you are more than 50 percent at fault. 

Bicycle Accident Claims and Helmet Regulations

Because of the proportionate responsibility laws, at-fault parties (or, more likely, their insurance company or lawyer) will look for reasons to assign you liability for the crash that injured you to reduce their client’s financial responsibility.

Not wearing a helmet is not proof of negligence. However, an attorney may argue that not wearing a helmet worsened your injuries, so you are somewhat responsible for them. Therefore, not wearing a helmet could reduce your bicycle accident compensation.

Texas Bicycle Accident Injuries

The Texas Department of Transportation’s statistics show that in a recent year, 92 deaths and 333 serious injuries occurred because of bicycle crashes.

Not wearing a helmet can leave riders more vulnerable to facial injuries, dental injuries, head injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. However, many other severe injuries can occur with or without a helmet, especially if the bicyclist gets pinned between vehicles or thrown from their bike. Possible injuries could include:

  • Severe scrapes, cuts, and bruising
  • Road rash
  • Broken bones
  • Loss of a limb
  • Whiplash
  • Neck, back, and shoulder injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Organ damage

How to Seek Bicycle Accident Compensation

Texas is an at-fault insurance state. Owners of registered vehicles must carry liability insurance to pay for accidents they cause. According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), legally, vehicle owners must have $30,000/$60,000 in bodily injury liability per person/accident and $25,000 in property damage liability.

Auto insurance applies to collisions with bicycles, so bike riders can seek compensation from negligent motorists by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. A Texas bicycle accident lawyer can help you build your case, identify your losses, demand compensation, and negotiate for the maximum settlement possible up to the policy limits.

If the insurance company refuses to offer full and fair compensation, an attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit. You do not have unlimited time to act. Texas Statute § 16.003 allows two years for an injured person to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in civil court. If this time period lapses, you will be unable to take legal action. It will also cause you to lose bargaining power against the insurer.

Recoverable Bicycle Accident Losses

Bicycle Accident Claims and Helmet Laws in Texas

If you or your loved one suffer injuries in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

  • Current and future medical expenses – including ambulance transportation, emergency treatment, doctor’s fees, hospital bills, mobility aids and medical equipment, physical therapy, and nursing
  • Lost income – including employment benefits, lost future income, and reduced earning capability
  • Pain and suffering – including emotional distress, mental anguish, physical and chronic pain, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment, and lost quality of life 

If the accident resulted in the wrongful death of a loved one, you could pursue legal action to obtain compensation for your lost loved one, including medical bills, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased’s income and future financial support, loss of the deceased’s services, comfort, companionship, and society, and qualifying survivors’ mental pain and anguish.

Contact a Bicycle Accident Attorney

If a negligent driver or other liable party injured you or your loved one, they should pay for your medical treatment and other losses. Portner Bond, PLLC can help you seek financial justice. We can advise you of your legal options and whether your use (or lack of use) of a helmet affects your case.

Chris Portner is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Fewer than 1% of attorneys in the United States are members of these prestigious groups, open only to those who have achieved million-dollar-plus settlements and verdicts. Trent Bond is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, a distinction earned by only about 10% of lawyers in Texas.

Our experienced team is ready to fight for you with professionalism, compassion, and respect. Contact us online or call (409) 838-4444 for a free consultation. Connect with a Texas bicycle accident lawyer near you today.