The numbers of drivers and bicyclists is rising in Austin. The number of cars is dramatically increasing because the population of our city continues its rapid rise. The number of cyclists continues to increase for a number of reasons, including impressive efforts in Austin to promote safer streets for cyclists and the growing view of cycling as an inexpensive, green, healthy, and enjoyable alternative to short distance car travel.
Unfortunately, despite public awareness efforts and street design projects, sharing the streets is increasingly unsafe, especially for the cyclist. Bicycle and transportation laws are designed provide protection for everyone who uses Austin’s roadways. If a cyclist is following those laws and regulations, they will generally be safe, unless a driver is not being properly attentive or following the rules of the road. Many serious or deadly bike accidents occur because drivers are not watching for cyclists on the road. The drivers may be scanning for larger, faster moving vehicles, but they are not driving with enough awareness to notice smaller vehicles and bicyclists. There seems to be a growing trend of hit and run bicycle injuries in Austin. In recent news, several bicyclists have been struck and seriously injured by negligent drivers who then fled the scene. This cowardice is inexcusable. After a hit and run accident, the injured bicyclist is often left with a long and difficult recover and an increasing number of medical bills. Fortunately, there are resources such as the Crime Victim’s Fund that can assist with medical bills. Oftentimes, the bicyclist may look to the uninsured motorist coverage in his or a household family member’s auto policy for additional financial help. Ideally, the driver who caused the accident will come forward and take responsibility, but in the absence of that happening, there may still be useful resources to help cover medical expenses and other losses.