“Streets are not just for motor vehicles. They are transportation pathways used for many types of vehicles, motorized or otherwise. We exist to make these streets safe for all users including bicycles, pedestrians, and motor vehicles.”
On this episode of “Simplifying Life Through Technology,” Mark and Michelle from SoundVision sit down with President Kevin Elder and Member at Large John Finney from Street Access for Everyone (SAFE).
Learn how Kevin and John’s passion for cycling transitioned to promoting change for road safety. Kevin and John discuss the goals and impacts of SAFE and what initiatives they are taking to provide change.
“We are your Lake Norman area advocacy group for safer streets. Streets are not only for motorized vehicles. They are transportation pathways used by cars, motorcycles, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians. We exist to make these streets safer for all users.
Street Access for Everyone, Lake Norman (SAFE) is a 501(c)(3) born out of a need to increase the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on our local roadways. This occurred following a spate of accidents involving local cyclists, including the death of a local cyclist, and several local pedestrians.”
“To encourage and drive advocacy for the safety of all road users.”
“To effectively collaborate with town councils and law enforcement in the Lake Norman area.”
“To drive positive change and improvements for our current and future road users.”
SAFE Activities and Outreach:
“Attend Town Council Meetings.”
“Collaborate with Law Enforcement.”
“Collaborate with local driving school(s).”
“Work with local town advisory boards (e.g., Cornelius Transportation Advisory Board).”
“Clear road signs to increase visibility.”
“Replace all “Share the Road” signs with ‘Bikes May Use Full Lane (BMUFL)’ signs.”
“Educate all road users regarding current NCDOT laws.”
“Collaborate with local towns regarding pedestrian and cycling safety issues.”
Are you tired of riding alone on your indoor trainer? Do you want to spice up your workouts and make them more enjoyable? If yes, then Zwift is the perfect platform for you.
Zwift is a virtual cycling platform that allows you to ride in a virtual world, complete with stunning landscapes and challenging routes. You can ride solo, join group rides or races, and connect with other cyclists from all over the world.
How it works: To get started with Zwift, you need a few things: a bike, an indoor trainer, a computer or mobile device, and an internet connection. You will also need to create a Zwift account and download the app.
Once you have everything set up, you can start riding. Zwift uses a combination of sensors, such as speed sensors and power meters, to track your speed, power, and cadence. This information is then used to control your avatar in the virtual world.
You can choose from a variety of routes, ranging from flat roads to steep climbs. The virtual world is filled with other riders, and you can see them as you ride. You can chat with them, give them a thumbs up, or even draft behind them to conserve energy.
Features Zwift offers – Several features that make it the ultimate virtual cycling platform:
Group rides and races: You can join organized rides or races, which take place at scheduled times. This is a great way to challenge yourself and push your limits.
Training plans: Zwift offers a variety of training plans for all levels of riders. These plans are designed by professional coaches and tailored to your specific fitness level and goals.
Virtual power-ups: You can earn virtual power-ups, such as a speed boost or a draft boost, by riding through specific areas on the course. These power-ups can give you an edge in races or help you climb hills faster.
Social features: You can connect with other riders from all over the world, chat with them, and join virtual clubs. You can also see how you stack up against other riders on the leaderboards.
Benefits Zwift offers – several benefits for indoor cycling:
Fun and engaging: Zwift makes indoor cycling more fun and engaging by adding a virtual world and other riders to the mix.
Motivating: Zwift can be a great source of motivation, as you can set goals, track your progress, and compete with other riders.
Efficient: Zwift allows you to get a great workout in a short amount of time. You can choose from a variety of routes and workouts, so you can get a specific type of training in.
Safe: Riding indoors on Zwift is safer than riding on the road, especially in bad weather or at night.
Conclusion: Zwift is the ultimate virtual cycling platform, offering a fun and engaging way to ride indoors. With a variety of routes, group rides, and training plans, there is something for every level of rider. If you want to spice up your indoor training and connect with other cyclists from around the world, then Zwift is the perfect platform for you.
The way we design and plan our cities and towns has a significant impact on pedestrian and cyclist safety. Infrastructure, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and crosswalks, can encourage or discourage people from walking and biking. It is important to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety in urban design and planning to create safe and accessible environments for everyone.
Here are some ways that urban design and planning can impact pedestrian and cyclist safety:
Sidewalks and Crosswalks: The presence of sidewalks and crosswalks is crucial for pedestrian safety. They provide a designated space for pedestrians to walk and cross the street safely. Crosswalks should be clearly marked and have sufficient lighting to ensure visibility at night.
Bike Lanes: Bike lanes provide a designated space for cyclists to ride safely. They should be separated from motor vehicle traffic by a physical barrier, such as a curb or bollards, to prevent collisions. Bike lanes should also be connected to other parts of the transportation network to encourage cycling as a viable form of transportation.
Traffic Calming Measures: Traffic calming measures, such as speed bumps and roundabouts, can reduce the speed of motor vehicle traffic and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. These measures help to slow down cars and create a safer environment for vulnerable road users.
Safe Routes to School: Creating safe routes to school is important for the safety of children who walk or bike to school. Safe routes should have sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes to ensure that children can get to school safely.
Mixed-Use Development: Mixed-use development, which combines residential, commercial, and office space in one area, can encourage walking and biking by making it more convenient. Having amenities, such as grocery stores and restaurants, within walking or biking distance can encourage people to leave their cars at home.
Accessibility: It is important to ensure that the built environment is accessible to all, regardless of ability. This includes providing curb cuts, ramps, and other features that make it easier for people with disabilities to navigate the built environment.
Public Transportation: Public transportation can also play a role in pedestrian and cyclist safety. Transit stops should have sidewalks, crosswalks, and bike lanes to ensure that pedestrians and cyclists can safely access public transportation.
Parking: Providing adequate parking for bicycles and encouraging the use of bike sharing programs can help to reduce the number of cars on the road and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Urban design and planning can have a significant impact on pedestrian and cyclist safety. It is important to prioritize the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the built environment to create safe and accessible environments for everyone. By prioritizing pedestrian and cyclist safety, we can create healthier, more sustainable communities that are safer and more enjoyable to live in.
Biking and walking are healthy, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective ways to get around. However, pedestrians and cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users, and the infrastructure and policies in place often prioritize motor vehicles over their safety. This is why advocacy is crucial to improving conditions for those who choose to bike and walk.
Here are some ways that you can advocate for better infrastructure and policies that prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety:
Write to Your Local Officials: One way to advocate for better infrastructure and policies is to write to your local officials. Contact your city council members or state representatives and express your concerns about the lack of safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. Explain how improving these conditions would benefit the community as a whole.
Attend Public Meetings: Attend public meetings where transportation plans are being discussed. These meetings provide an opportunity for community members to give feedback and voice their concerns. By attending and speaking up, you can make a difference in how infrastructure and policies are developed and implemented.
Join a Local Advocacy Group: Joining a local advocacy group focused on pedestrian and cyclist safety is a great way to amplify your voice and be part of a community working towards positive change. These groups can provide resources, information, and support to help you make a difference.
Use Social Media: Social media is a powerful tool for advocacy. Share news articles, videos, and other resources related to pedestrian and cyclist safety on your social media accounts. Use hashtags and tag your local officials to draw attention to the issue.
Vote: Voting is one of the most important ways to make your voice heard. Research the candidates and their stances on pedestrian and cyclist safety, and vote for those who prioritize this issue.
Advocating for better infrastructure and policies that prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety is crucial for creating a safer and more equitable transportation system. By taking action, you can help ensure that walking and biking are safe and accessible options for everyone in your community.
Riding a bike to school is a healthy and fun way for children to get exercise and develop independence. However, parents must weigh the benefits against the safety concerns and take appropriate measures to ensure their child’s safety. In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of children riding their bikes to school, safety concerns, what parents should do, the school’s responsibility, and other considerations.
Benefits of children riding their bikes to school
Riding a bike to school has numerous benefits for children. Here are some of the advantages:
Physical activity: Cycling is a form of physical exercise that can help children maintain a healthy weight, develop strong muscles and bones, and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Improved mental health: Riding a bike can boost children’s mood, reduce stress, and improve their overall mental health.
Environmental impact: Biking is a sustainable mode of transportation that can reduce carbon emissions and help protect the environment.
Socialization: Children who bike to school can make friends with other cyclists and develop their social skills.
Independence: Riding a bike to school can give children a sense of independence and self-reliance.
While the benefits of cycling to school are undeniable, parents should also be aware of the safety concerns. Some of the safety issues to consider include:
Traffic: Children who bike to school may have to navigate busy roads with cars, buses, and trucks. This can be dangerous if they are not careful.
Weather conditions: Poor weather conditions, such as rain or snow, can make cycling more hazardous.
Lack of visibility: Poor visibility can make it difficult for drivers to see cyclists, especially during dawn or dusk hours.
Other hazards: Children may encounter other hazards on their route to school, such as potholes, uneven pavements, or stray animals.
What parents should do
Parents can take several steps to ensure their child’s safety while biking to school. Here are some tips to consider:
Assess the route: Parents should assess the route their child will take to school and identify any potential hazards. They should look for routes with bike lanes or quiet streets with less traffic.
Provide the right gear: Parents should ensure that their child has a properly fitting helmet and appropriate cycling clothing, such as reflective clothing or lights for increased visibility.
Practice with their child: Parents should practice cycling with their child before they start biking to school. This will help children develop their cycling skills and build their confidence.
Set rules: Parents should set rules and expectations for their child’s behavior while cycling to school. They should remind their child to follow traffic laws, signal when turning, and be alert and aware of their surroundings.
Communicate with the school: Parents should communicate with the school about their child’s cycling plans. They should inform the school about their child’s route, expected arrival time, and emergency contact information.
The school’s responsibility
Schools also have a responsibility to ensure the safety of students who cycle to school. Here are some ways schools can promote safe cycling:
Provide bike racks: Schools should provide secure bike racks or storage areas for students’ bicycles.
Educate students: Schools should educate students about safe cycling practices and traffic laws. This can be done through classroom instruction or workshops.
Promote bike safety: Schools can promote bike safety by encouraging students to wear helmets, use reflective gear, and follow traffic laws.
Monitor the area: Schools should monitor the area around the school for potential hazards and work with local authorities to address any safety concerns.
Cycling to school is a great way for children to stay active, develop independence, and reduce their carbon footprint. However, parents must also consider safety concerns.
Running on public roads can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise, and explore your neighborhood or city. However, it’s important to be aware of the safety risks and take steps to protect yourself while running on public roads. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some key tips for staying safe when running on public roads.
Be aware of traffic: The first and most important safety tip for running on public roads is to be aware of traffic. Always be alert and look both ways before crossing a street, and always run against traffic so you can see any vehicles approaching you. Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight or reflector if you’ll be running in low light conditions.
Wear proper shoes: Running shoes are designed to provide support and cushioning for your feet, which can help prevent injuries. Invest in a good pair of running shoes and make sure they fit properly to help prevent blisters, calluses, and other common running injuries.
Use headphones wisely: While music can be a great way to keep yourself motivated while running, it’s important to use headphones wisely. Limit the volume of your music so you can still hear what’s going on around you, and avoid wearing earbuds that completely cover your ears, as this can limit your ability to hear traffic and other sounds.
Stay visible: Wear bright, reflective clothing so you can be easily seen by drivers. If you’ll be running in low light conditions, carry a flashlight or reflector to make yourself more visible to drivers.
Stay hydrated: It’s important to stay hydrated while running, especially if you’ll be running for an extended period of time or in hot weather. Carry a water bottle or hydration pack, and take breaks as needed to drink water and rest.
Run with a buddy: If possible, run with a buddy or join a running group. Running with someone else can help you stay motivated, and it’s always safer to run with a partner, especially if you’ll be running in a less populated area.
Stay aware of your surroundings: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings while running on public roads. Avoid running in poorly lit areas or areas that feel unsafe, and avoid running with your phone or other valuables visible.
Safety tips for female runners: Female runners face unique safety challenges, including the risk of harassment or assault. To stay safe, consider carrying a personal alarm or pepper spray, and run in well-populated areas whenever possible. Avoid running alone in isolated areas, and trust your instincts – if a situation feels unsafe, it’s best to avoid it.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy running on public roads while minimizing the risk of injury or other hazards. Remember to always be alert and aware of your surroundings, and take steps to protect yourself while running on public roads.
Mountain biking is a popular outdoor activity that offers a unique and exciting way to explore the beautiful landscape of the Lake Norman area in North Carolina. With its stunning scenery, varied terrain, and abundance of trails, the region is a true paradise for cyclists of all skill levels. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best mountain biking destinations in Lake Norman and the surrounding areas.
Fisher Farm Park: Located in Davidson, Fisher Farm Park is a popular destination for mountain bikers. With its rolling hills, smooth singletrack, and challenging technical sections, the park offers a variety of riding experiences for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started, or an experienced rider seeking a more challenging ride, Fisher Farm Park has something for everyone.
Lake Norman State Park: This beautiful park is located on the shores of Lake Norman and offers a fantastic network of trails for mountain biking. From scenic, rolling singletrack to technical descents and steep climbs, the park has a wide range of trails to choose from. Whether you want to explore the parks’ natural beauty, or test your skills on the more challenging trails, Lake Norman State Park has something for everyone.
Mazeppa Park: Another great mountain biking destination, Mazeppa Park offers a mix of challenging and fun trails for cyclists of all skill levels. With its rolling terrain, scenic views, and challenging descents, Mazeppa Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a great day on the trails.
The Whitewater Center: This world-renowned destination is a true mecca for mountain bikers, offering some of the most challenging and exciting riding experiences in the region. With its technical descents, steep climbs, and rugged terrain, the Whitewater Center is a true test of skill and endurance for even the most experienced riders.
North Mecklenburg Park: This park is known for its scenic beauty and well-maintained trails, making it a great destination for mountain biking. With its rolling terrain and challenging descents, North Mecklenburg Park is a must-visit destination for cyclists of all skill levels.
Cedar Valley Bike Park: With its challenging technical sections, steep climbs, and fast descents, Cedar Valley Bike Park is a true test of skill and endurance for experienced riders. Whether you’re looking to push your limits or simply enjoy a fun day on the trails, Cedar Valley Bike Park is a great destination to consider.
West Branch Nature Preserve: This beautiful nature preserve is located on the shores of Lake Norman and offers a network of scenic and challenging trails for mountain bikers. With its rolling terrain, fast descents, and technical sections, West Branch Nature Preserve is a must-visit destination for cyclists of all skill levels.
These are just a few of the many great mountain biking destinations in the Lake Norman area of North Carolina. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or an experienced rider seeking a new challenge, this region offers something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for a great day on the trails, be sure to check out these fantastic destinations!
Bicycle and pedestrian safety is a crucial issue on our roads, as these vulnerable road users are often at risk of serious injury or death in collisions with motor vehicles. As a society, we must work together to ensure that our streets are safe for everyone, regardless of whether they are traveling by bike or on foot.
One of the most important factors in promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety is educating both motorists and non-motorists about their rights and responsibilities on the road. Motorists must understand that bicycles and pedestrians have the same legal rights as vehicles, and must be given the same respect and consideration. This includes yielding to them at intersections and crosswalks, and giving them adequate space when passing.
In addition to educating drivers, it is also important to provide infrastructure that promotes safe interactions between motorists and non-motorists. This includes things like bike lanes and sidewalks, as well as traffic calming measures such as speed humps and roundabouts. These infrastructure improvements can help to reduce the speed and volume of traffic, making it safer for everyone to use the road.
Another important aspect of promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety is encouraging more people to walk and bike. The more people on bikes and on foot, the safer it is for everyone. This is because motorists become more accustomed to seeing people on bikes and on foot, and are more likely to anticipate their presence on the road. This is the concept of “Safety in Numbers”, when more people bike or walk, there will be more likelihood that drivers will watch out for these non-motorized road users.
In addition, cities can also promote bike-share and bike rental programs, which can make it easier for people to try biking without having to invest in a bike of their own. Furthermore, cities can also improve their public transportation systems, as this can help to reduce the number of cars on the road, making it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
However, it is not only the responsibility of the government or the cities to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety. Individuals can also take steps to ensure their own safety while biking or walking. This includes wearing reflective clothing, using lights at night, and following traffic laws. Additionally, bicyclists should always wear a helmet, as this can greatly reduce the risk of head injury in the event of a crash.
In conclusion, promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety is a complex issue that requires the cooperation of everyone in society. Motorists must be educated about their responsibilities to non-motorized road users, cities must provide infrastructure that promotes safe interactions between motorists and non-motorists, and individuals must take steps to protect themselves while walking or biking. By working together, we can create a safer environment for everyone on our roads.
PRESS RELEASE FROM BIKE LAW’S NATIONAL DIRECTOR RACHAEL MANEY
In light of the recent Waller Bike Crash in Texas, and in an effort to help untangle and unpack some of the emotionally-charged comments, questions, and inaccurate assumptions being made, we want to update you on the parts that we can share. I hope that this will also help clear up any confusion regarding some of the misinformation we’ve been reading in many of the media articles that have been published and on numerous social media channels, ours included.
Bike Law Texas’ Charlie Thomas of Huber Thomas & Marcelle, LLP and Bike Law’s founding attorney Peter Wilborn of Wilborn Law, LLC were retained last Sunday, September, 26, 2021, the day after the multi-victim bicycle crash on Business 290 East in Waller, TX, to lead the civil investigation and represent all 6 of the cyclists who were almost killed while on a training ride for Ironman Texas exactly one week ago today.
Our 6 clients are suffering from horrible injuries including broken vertebrae, cervical and lumbar spinal injuries, broken collar bones, hands, and wrists- many of which require surgical intervention- as well as multiple traumatic brain injuries, lacerations, soft tissue damage, road rash, and extensive bruising. And those are just the physical injuries.
The driver of the black F-250 that crushed our clients’ bodies and left them and their bikes splashed and scattered across the roadway is a 16 year old Waller, Texas male. Through our own investigation, we’ve learned his name, his address, the names of his parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbors and family friends. We know the names of the businesses owned and operated by the driver’s family. We know where he was earlier in the day, prior to crashing into our clients while they were more than 70 miles into their USAT tri-club training ride. We know the identity of his passenger (a local 17 year old male from a neighboring town) and a pretty good idea about the role he may have played in causing the crash that sent ALL of our clients to the hospital; 2 by Life Flight, 2 by ambulance, 2 by personal transport. (Texas licensing provisions allow for licensed drivers between the ages of 16-17 to lawfully operate a motor vehicle with no more than 1 non-family member passenger who is under the age of 21 at a time.)
The driver’s family’s connections in Waller are a legitimate reason for concern, but I know that Charlie and Peter are very well versed in handling the challenges that nepotism can create.
JUDGE: WALLER “DOESN’T LIKE YOUR KIND”
The backdrop of the Waller Bike Crash is one riddled with anti-bike bias. Charlie knows all too well as he has recent experiences with judges there, one who actually lamented to him that Waller, TX “doesn’t like [our] kind.” Charlie has formerly represented several cyclists who were targeted and ticketed by Waller police over the last couple of years. He went to Texas A&M in College Station to race bicycles and he has a law office in Houston. He has been a dogged legal advocate (alongside Bike Law Texas’ partner BikeHouston) for the changes needed to make cycling safer both locally and on a state-wide scale. This advocacy includes exposing and fighting against those who choose to selectively enforce the law for only a select few.
Our clients are not only hostages to the truck driver’s behavior and their own broken bodies, but also to a criminal process that is supposed to help make them “whole” again in a place that “doesn’t like [their] kind.”
This teenage driver assaulted other cyclists by “coal rolling” them before plowing into our clients just moments later. We know he did not “lose control” of his truck. We know that he knew exactly what he was doing and that Waller PD’s Officer Charles Mistric falsely stated in a report (which has not yet been provided to our clients or to us) that all of the riders were riding two abreast, according to a published article in the Houston Chronicle. Texas law allows for riding two abreast, however Mistric’s mention of the cyclists’ lane positioning seems more like the kind of victim blaming comments we see from internet trolls, and less like what we would expect from a law enforcement officer investigating the scene of a crime (plus it’s not true).
Officer Mistric went on to say that the “driver stated that he was reaching for his cell phone to call his dad and struck the bicyclists before he could react.” Given what we know from the eye-witness testimony from one of the cyclists who was assaulted by the teenage driver immediately before he drove his truck into the 6 bicyclists and the testimony of several others, we do not find the driver’s or Mistric’s statements to be credible at all. Additionally, Texas law does not allow for any driver under the age of 18 to use a hand held device while operating a motor vehicle.
We also know that this was no “accident” caused by a “new and inexperienced” driver as his criminal defense attorney would like people to believe. Rick DeToto, who has been retained to represent the teenage driver, went so far as to say that this event “did not involve any criminal intent.” After 23 years of representing bicyclists and bike crash victims, we know that when there is no real defense to proffer, turning a perpetrator into a victim is the only limp “defense” that exists.
Additionally, nowhere and at no time in the interviews Mr. DeToto has given to the media has an apology been expressed.
COAL-ROLLING IS NOT THE ACT OF A “NEW AND INEXPERIENCED” DRIVER
Charlie says, “driving recklessly, assaulting, and running down other roadway users is not the trait of a ‘new and inexperienced’ driver. If it was, we’d all be endangered by every young driver.” Peter followed Charlie’s sentiment up by saying, “This teenage driver that caused the Waller Bike Crash knew exactly what he was doing. He must be held accountable for his choices and actions that scared and injured our clients on a Texas highway.”
Elton Mathis, the Waller County elected DA, is now in charge of the criminal investigation into the Waller Bike Crash. He’s assigned a Special Prosecutor for this case, Warren Diepraam, who does not reside in (nor is he from) Waller County. He was handpicked because of his investigative and prosecutorial work across multiple Texas jurisdictions.
Mr. Diepraam was formerly a prosecutor in Harris and Montgomery counties. While in Harris, he formed the first ever vehicular crimes division in the state of Texas. Additionally, Mr. Mathis and Mr. Diepraam have hired a crash reconstruction engineer to fully investigate and understand what occurred leading up to the 6 bicyclists being struck.
Currently, victim interviews between the prosecutors and our clients are being scheduled. Waller PD did not ask for a single statement from any of them at the scene of the crash or at the hospitals to which they were transported, and all 6 bicyclists were conscious and wanted to participate in the Waller PD led “investigation” at the scene. One witness who was riding behind our clients and the other smaller group of cyclists who were assaulted when the driver coal-rolled them told us that while she was tending to two of the most seriously injured bicyclists, the only thing Officer Charles Mistric said to her (she was not asked to provide a witness statement either, nor was her contact information taken by any Waller PD officer at the scene to provide a statement at a later date or time) was that [the crash victims] would need [his business card] and that the crash report “would take at least 10 days,”as he handed the card to her with the hand-written report number on it.
In our meeting with our clients yesterday, Charlie was able to reassure them that despite the complete lack of appropriate investigating by the Waller PD, “the District Attorney’s office has expressed their concern for [all of you] and is committed to carrying out a full investigation to hold those criminally responsible accountable.” Peter added, “A charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is proper. The driver recklessly caused bodily injury using his truck as a deadly weapon.” Such a charge is a second-degree felony.
At this time, Charlie, Peter and our team have NO reason at all to associate the earned reputations of Waller PD and City of Waller officials to Mr. Mathis or Mr. Diepraam, and in fact, we and our clients have been shown the kind of professionalism and compassion that is, unfortunately, precedent-setting in our line of work. Charlie and Peter’s request of everyone who’s expressed concern for the 6 bicyclists is to allow the Waller County DA’s office to do their jobs so that a complete and honest investigation into a Waller, TX bike crash can finally occur; maybe for the very first time.
What I ask of you is to thoughtfully consider the following: If you were in any of their shoes, could you physically, financially, and mentally afford to let the process play out while struggling to prevent the driver who almost killed you and your friends from stealing any more from you than what he’s already stolen?
Do you have someone who could take countless hours and/or days off of work to drive you to your doctor’s appointments? Take you to surgery? Care for you in your surgical recovery? Do you have someone who could be there around the clock to help you stand up, sit down, bathe, brush your teeth, get dressed, and eat? If you have children, how would you explain what happened to them and assuage their fears while also managing your own? If you were lucky enough to be able to, how would you feel getting back in the saddle the first time you’re riding on the road again and you hear the growling engine of a giant truck approaching behind you?
What if your employer couldn’t afford to pay you while you’re unable to work? What if your phone calls to schedule necessary appointments with medical specialists ended with a refusal to treat you because your injuries were the result of a collision with an automobile and their office is worried that they won’t get paid?
It’s not just the driver who caused the Waller Bike Crash that has victimized our clients. It’s also the length and total burden of the processes on both the criminal and civil sides of their case to which they are also hostages. They lay in their beds, robbed of their quality of life, unable to sleep, in many different forms of constant pain, and all they want is to go back in time and not be assaulted by someone who’s lawyered up and can’t even bring himself to say, “I’m sorry.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Many of you have asked if and how you can help these 6 cyclists suffering from the aftermath of the Waller Bike Crash. The answers are YES, and here’s how you can help our clients right now. The donations to this GoFundMe will provide them with some immediate relief that will allow them to focus on what is most important: their physical recoveries.
IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF THE WALLER BIKE CRASH
To answer some of the other questions that have been posed over the last several days, here is a list of things that we think might be helpful to understanding important elements of both the criminal and civil sides of a crash like this one:
Legal adults and juveniles have different rights and consequences within a given state’s statutory laws.
Any time a prosecutor feels it’s appropriate to charge a minor as an adult in the state of Texas, the following must first occur: 1. The potential charges must be for a felony crime or crimes. 2. A judge must officially certify the individual as an adult after considering a variety of things in addition to the felony crimes alleged. (The process for Ethan Couch, the now 24 year old repeatedly convicted criminal who is best known for causing the catastrophic multi-victim fatal crash in Burleson, TX in which he killed 4 innocent people and injured 9 more while speeding while intoxicated in June of 2013 at the age of 16, is a great example of how complicated certifying a juvenile as an adult can be.)
The involvement of a “juvenile” in any crash complicates the pursuit of justice in many additional ways; publishing their identification is definitely one of them.
In order to open any insurance claim or file civil litigation, documentation containing multiple pieces of necessary information must first be provided to the crash victims and their legal counsel if they have it.
Delays in the processes on both the criminal and civil sides of things are not always an indication of incompetence, injustice, or officials sweeping things under the rug. (But because our cycling community has too many first hand experiences where this IS the case, we completely understand the outrage and some of the inaccurate conclusions being made.)
When the control of an investigation changes from one department or agency to another, there will be an inevitable delay. If those doing the hand-off made mistakes or a mess, then those taking over have even more work to do. More work triggers the need for more time.
Sometimes, states require the involvement of multiple agencies as parts of the crash response process, all of whom may be responsible for conducting their own individual investigations. Every department and agency has their own unique internal procedures and protocols, too.
Any competent, ethical person whose job involves pursuing and securing a just outcome for any victim of a crash (including a crash caused by a crime) will be thorough in their work. The more people involved in a specific incident (i.e. multi-victim crashes), the longer it can take to gather all the facts and relevant evidence.
In many if not most places, crash reports (including those in which vulnerable road users are not involved) aren’t completed or available to anyone for a time period of up to 2 weeks. In Waller, Texas, the initial investigating officer told witnesses on the scene it would take “at least 10 days.” The number of crashes that have recently occurred in that jurisdiction matter as well.
If a crime against cyclists resulting in a crash occurs in a place with a known and documented anti-bike bias, additional measures have to be taken. No stone should be left unturned and all possible challenges and/or defenses to prosecutorial and civil arguments should be considered. Identifying and addressing those things comprehensively, and certainly not prioritizing speed or the court of public opinion over the quality and integrity of the work being done, are the marks of conscientious, experienced, and competent investigators, prosecutors, and civil attorneys.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Below are some of the things we think you should know both for your own peace of mind and protection:
FIRST, unless expressly waived in writing at the time of purchase, if you are riding your bicycle and you are victimized in a crash by the driver of a motor vehicle, you may have insurance coverage through your OWN automotive policy. Generally you cannot purchase more UM or UIM coverage than you carry in liability, so check with your automotive insurance carrier to determine what you can and cannot purchase. We cannot stress this enough: MAX IT OUT. It could be the difference between zero financial hardship and bankruptcy.
UM stands for Uninsured Motorist Coverage. It’s the part of your policy that insures you against drivers who have no insurance or drivers in a hit and run.
UIM stands for UNDERINSURED Motorist Coverage and it serves as the buffer between the at-fault driver’s insufficient coverage and your bank account. That means that if you’re hit by a motorist whose liability coverage is not enough to compensate you for the damages you incurred due to that driver’s actions, your own UIM coverage picks up where the driver’s liability coverage ends.
*If you have specific questions about your policy or about how to max out your UM/UIM coverage, please reach out to us at email@example.com and we will be happy to help!*
SECOND, there are 4 states in the U.S. that apply the antiquated rule/law of Contributory Negligence to cycling in the context of crashes. If you are riding your bike in any of these 4 states and become the victim of a crash, and it’s determined that you contributed as little as 1% to your crash, you are barred 100% from ANY civil recovery for the damages you suffer from that crash. This means that if the laws don’t allow or require it and- just to give some examples of common state bicycle laws, all of which apply to these 4 contrib states- unbeknownst to you, your rear red light battery dies after dark, or you were riding with earbuds in both ears, or your lane positioning was not AFRAP (As Far Right As Practicable), or you were not using the mandated space for bicyclists, and an irresponsible driver hits you, you are likely to be ineligible to collect a penny from the coverage available from that motorist’s insurance policy. The 4 contrib states for bicyclists are:
THIRD, after a crash, the following steps should be taken IF you are physically able to do so:
Do not engage with the driver in a way that creates confrontation or unnecessary conflict. We understand why you would want to and we don’t disagree with those reasons. However, for your own physical safety, we advise that you refrain from any altercation with the driver.
CALL 911. (Or ask someone who is on scene to do so. The driver should also call, however, we don’t ever rely on them to notify law enforcement and first responders.)
Request/Document the driver’s and the vehicle’s information: Make, model and color of the vehicle; name; address; insurance carrier and policy number for the driver; visible damage to vehicle.
Go to the hospital. Don’t waive medical attention. If your injuries are not emergent, follow up as soon as possible with your personal physician or GP and document all injuries in both written and picture form.
Keep a running journal of all symptoms that did not exist before the crash.
Do NOT repair your bike or manipulate it or its components in any way if you want to recover the value of your property that was damaged in your crash.
Do NOT give a statement to any insurance adjuster until you are sure that you do not want or need legal representation.
Do NOT post on social media. In the event that you want or need legal representation and an element of that requires filing a lawsuit, anything you publish is discoverable.
Do NOT publicly identify the driver or his or her vehicle in a way that could be defined as “doxing” or considered defamatory. Not only does that open up the possibility that you could be liable for damages to the driver for saying or writing inflammatory or untrue things about them, but in the event that the consequences of your crash are litigated in court, the inflammatory public dissemination of the driver’s personal information can also be considered jury tampering.
*This is why we redact license plates sometimes. It is also why we don’t encourage “vigilante justice” after a crash. It’s not because we are “scared,” or don’t appreciate the public’s “right to know.” Our justice system is designed to protect people by considering them innocent until proven guilty. Calling someone a “criminal” before they’re convicted of a crime could be defamatory and comes with very expensive consequences.*
FOURTH, If you do not want to retain counsel, do not allow your own insurance company or the driver’s tell you that coverage doesn’t apply to you because you were on a bicycle when your crash occurred. If that happens, demand that the adjusters present you with those policies (or the proof in writing) so that you can see where your right to file a claim or claims was waived.
FIFTH, Call us. We always recommend that you reach out to us if you have a cycling related crash or need. You may not choose to retain one of our independently practicing cycling lawyers in the Bike Law Network, but you will be more informed about your rights and the options available to you after suffering a traumatic event like being harrassed, assaulted, or hit by someone operating a motor vehicle while you’re on your bike. There is no charge to you for seeking our help. We do what we do because we’re part of this community and have our own skin in the game. We’ve been protecting and representing cyclists for 23 years and are honored to be called on your very worst of days.
We had a great time making people aware of SAFE’s presence during packet pickup for the LKN Fondo. The event was on Sunday August 8th, 2021.
On Saturday August 7th we attended packet pickup at Spirited Cyclist in Davidson, NC for The Lake Norman Fondo. A charity bike ride with over 550 participants. We were able to reach a lot of people on Saturday.
Many of whom had no idea who we were, or that we existed to make them SAFE.
We met a lot of great people who were very happy to learn about us and what we were doing for the cycling and pedestrian communities on our streets.
On Sunday August 8th, 2021 we were right back at it. The tent was us and ready to go on the Green in Downtown Davidson for the event. Once again we met a lot of great people who were happy to know we were working for them behind the scenes to make cycling a little safer.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to see us and chat.
WHO WE ARE
WHAT WE DO
Streets are not just for motor vehicles. They are transportation pathways used for many types of vehicles, motorized or otherwise. We exist to make these streets safe for all users including bicycles, pedestrians, motor vehicles.