Tucson is perfect for bicycling. We have great weather and more sunshine than most other states, and in many areas, there are paths or street lanes made just for bicycles. Therefore, it is no surprise that we have a larger number of cyclists on the roads.
Any experienced cyclist knows that the main causes of bicycle accidents come from three sources: unaware motorists, swinging car doors, and jaywalking pedestrians. Cyclists are expected to be alert to these dangers while simultaneously keeping an eye on the pavement for potholes, metal plates, and other ground-level hazards.
Bicycle accidents are much less common than those involving pedestrians or automobiles, but these types of accidents often result in more severe injuries. Because of this, it is important that a cyclist always wears a helmet and stays alert to their surroundings. This is especially important in Tucson. While the city is known for being bicycle-friendly, the state of Arizona actually has the fourth highest cycling fatality rate in the United States. According to a study of federal transportation data obtained by USA Today, Arizona had by far the worst death rate in the United States for bicycling accidents, with 6.5 fatalities for every 100,000 people. Also, three of the four most dangerous cities for red-light running fatalities are located in the state of Arizona. Phoenix topped all urban areas, followed by Memphis, Mesa, and Tucson.
Bicyclists have rights just like pedestrians and other motorists, and it is important to know these rights. In 2003, 26-year-old Tucsonan, Brad Gorman, was riding his bike to work when he was struck and killed by a distracted driver. Andy Clarke, from the league of American Bicyclists, says that this tragedy was the catalyst for laws to be passed in Arizona to help prevent bike accidents. In 2000, Arizona passed legislation that states when a vehicle is passing a bicyclist, the driver must give the bicyclist at least three feet of clearance. This increases to five feet when the driver is piloting a commercial truck, semi, RV or bus. The wind pushed out from the side of these larger vehicles can easily cause a bicycle crash. If room permits, commercial drivers are required to give a cyclist a full lane of clearance.
Cars driving recklessly can cause catastrophic and fatal bicycle accidents. Motor vehicle drivers are required by law to SLOW DOWN and carefully pass cyclists. Motorists need to be especially careful at railroad crossings, cattle guards, construction zones, and in poor weather conditions. Cyclists are allowed to briefly move to the left in order to safely cross railroad tracks. Motorists are not allowed to use their horns when following a cyclist. If the sudden blast of a horn startles the cyclist and causes a crash, the driver of the motor vehicle can be cited for causing the accident.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a bicycle accident, it is vital that you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call Grabb & Durando, we will fight for your rights and help ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.