Resources & Safety

What to do if you've been injured

Get help:

  • First, call 911.
  • Make sure the police are called and that they take a detailed report.
  • This isn’t the time to be tough: Even if you think you’re not seriously hurt, don’t refuse  medical aid. You could be in shock or your injuries may not be apparent yet.

At the scene:

  • Don’t discuss fault with the driver.
  • Be sure that the driver has provided his or her driver’s license, insurance information and license plate number to authorities.
  • Understand that the police officers on the scene might automatically assume you caused the crash because you’re on a motorcycle, bicycle or on foot and might put you on the defensive. They could miss things and fail to get key facts like contact information for witnesses.
If you remember only one thing to do after an accident, make it this: Grab your phone and record as much information as you can. any information like this can help your case later.

Capture information:
If you remember only one thing to do after an accident, make it this: Grab your phone and record as much information as you can. Take photos or video. Record yourself talking. Write notes. What you’re able to note, film or photograph depends on how hurt or shaken up you are, but any information like this can help your case later.

  • Images or descriptions of the driver, the vehicle and damage to the vehicle.
  • Images or descriptions of your injuries, blood on the street, etc.
  • Images or descriptions of witnesses – even if it’s just someone who drives by and asks if you’re OK.
  • Images or a diagram of the street and where your accident occurred and the where the vehicles are in relation to each other.
  • The locations of any cameras that might have captured the crash.
  • Anything you remember from just before and just after the crash.Shady stuff: Does the driver or vehicle smell like alcohol? Are people moving their vehicles, trying to change position in the vehicle (to make it look like another person was driving) or doing anything else to hide something or cause confusion?

When you get home:

  • DO NOT throw away any clothing, even if it is badly soiled.
  • Note and take photos of your injuries and damage to your motorcycle or bicycle, equipment and clothing.
  • Note anything else you remember from before or after the crash. Every detail is important.
  • Remember that insurance companies will not tell you what you need to know but they will ask you questions that will help them reduce your payment. Never discuss fault with insurance representatives.
  • Don’t beat yourself up about anything you did or didn’t do at the scene. You did your best in a really intense situation.
  • Contact an attorney with specialized knowledge and experience in accidents relating to vulnerable road users. Cyclistlaw founder Lenore Shefman can advise you on next steps and whether to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Resources & Safety

MOTORCYCLE RESOURCES

Texas Motorcycle Helmet exemptions

Passing laws.
Texas riders should get familiar with statutes including §12-1-35, which says that drivers have to pass you at a safe distance: three feet for cars and light trucks, six feet for other trucks and commercial vehicles.

Lane-splitting rules.
It’s also important to know that lane splitting — utilizing the space between two vehicles to pass — is illegal in Texas and in most other states. Always check the local laws and state codes where you’re riding.

MOTORCYCLE Safety

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about car and truck drivers who are distracted, who don’t see you or who pull illegal or unexpected traffic maneuvers.

But you can still take steps to stay safe. You need protective gear, of course. But even more than that, you should be in the mindset of heading off danger every time you get on your bike. Here are the basics that good bikers live by:

1
Focus.
Stay out of blind spots, keep a safe distance and always provide yourself an out if the car ahead of you stops suddenly.

2
Be aware.
Know who — and what — is behind you. Carefully watch vehicles entering traffic from side streets and stay aware of where they are..

3
Assert your rights.
Keep eye contact with drivers as you take your turn in a right-of-way situation will assure that drivers acknowledge your right-of-way.

4
Stay within your limits.
Know your bike, and know its limits. Know your own limits, too.

Resources & Safety

biCYCLE RESOURCES

Registration.
Registering your bike with the Austin Police Department will help you recover it if it’s ever stolen. If you ride your bicycle on the University of Texas campus, you have to register it there, too.

Austin’s bicycle laws.
Two key rules to know: Bicycle riders are not permitted to ride on most downtown sidewalks, and helmets are required for riders under 18.

Important state laws

  • Same rules of the road as other vehicle operators (TTC§551.101)
  • 3 feet for cars to pass cyclists and 6 feet for trucks to pass cyclists (§12-1-35)
  • Must have white light in front and red reflector in back, lumens enough to see for 500 feet (TTC551.104(b))
  • Fixed gear and flip-flop hub bikes must have brakes capable of skid (TTC§ 551.104(a))
  • Ride as near the curb (3-foot cushion between you and curb recommended) as is safe to do so in same direction as other traffic (TTX§551.103)
  • Riders can ride two abreast when not impeding flow of traffic (TTC§551.103(c))
  • Use hand signals (TTC§545.107)

biCYCLE Safety

Remember: Drivers aren’t looking.  When vehicles exit private driveways onto sidewalks, drivers often fail to look for bicycle riders and walkers.

1
Don’t get ‘doored.’
If a driver swings open a door without looking and hits you, you could be seriously injured or killed. It’s not always possible, but try to keep 4 to 5 feet between you and car doors that could open and hit you. Where bikes are allowed full use of traffic lanes, move closer to the center of the lane and away from cars parked on the shoulder to create a buffer zone.

2
Report road rage.
Stop and contact police with identifying information about any vehicle operated by an aggressive driver. 3 Inspect your bike. Regularly check the brakes, tires, wheel alignment, seat, handlebars, axle nuts and bearings, and your bike chain. Adjust, replace or tighten things as necessary. If you aren’t sure how to do this, stop by a local bike shop and ask them to help you.

4
Shine a light.
For those late night or early-morning rides, make sure your bike is equipped with lights. And remember your extra batteries, brightly colored clothing and reflective gear.

5
Consider the case for helmets.
Up to 85 percent of head injuries can be prevented through proper usage of properly fitting helmets, according to The American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

6
Stow your stuff.
Hands-free ordinances apply to bicyclists too. Keep your gear in a carrier or backpack.

Resources & Safety

pedestrian RESOURCES

Austin Pedestrian Advisory Council.
Meetings are 6 p.m. the first Monday of each month at Austin City Hall.

Austin City Council. 
The city needs to hear about situations (like a city construction crew blocking sidewalks you use) that make it more dangerous to walk.

Austin Pedestrian Safety Initiative and Safety Tips

Austin Sidewalk Program

Coming soon: Walk Austin.
A new group dedicated to walkers’ rights, safety and interests, is in the works from Bike Austin.

pedestrian Safety

1
It’s a car’s world.
If you get around on foot in Austin, you have to deal with a hard truth: This city just isn’t built for walkers. That means you have to be extra vigilant when you walk.

2
Look up, look down, look all around.
The city isn’t obligated to take care of the tree branches above you or the holes or bumps on the ground. So you have to be alert for them (in addition to monitoring the traffic around you).

4
Beware of extra dangerous roads.
While Austin in general doesn’t have good infrastructure for walkers, some areas are especially bad. Interstate 35 can be deadly for walkers, and Rundberg and Riverside are also danger zones. Streets like Lamar and Guadalupe have more foot traffic as the city grows, but they’re still designed for motorists, not walkers.

5
Be seen.
Many crashes involving walkers happen when it’s dark outside, so it’s smart to carry a light. You might think a reflective vest sounds like overkill, but it’s not.