Oklahoma City Bicycle Fatalities Rise
Recently, two accidents in Oklahoma City resulted in the deaths of bicyclists over the course of one weekend. In each collision, the bicycle riders were struck from behind by an approaching vehicle. In the first accident, the driver of the automobile that hit 56-year-old Alan Spencer fled the scene. As of this writing, police are still searching for the hit-and-run driver responsible for Spencer’s death. In the second accident, reputable Oklahoma City businessman Clyde Riggs was hit by a truck whose driver immediately stopped and contacted emergency responders. The driver was not arrested in that incident, as police found no probable cause to arrest the pickup’s driver after interviewing him regarding the accident. However, a fatality report will be sent to the district attorney’s office, who will determine if charges are warranted in the Oklahoma City automobile accident.
With two fatal bicycle accidents over such a short span of time, area cyclists are becoming increasingly nervous about their chosen form of exercise or transportation. One Oklahoma City rider says that, while his vigilance can help him avoid collisions with oncoming vehicles, he feels that there is nothing he can do about vehicles approaching from behind. A recent study of hybrid vehicles shows that the quiet operation of these automobiles has actually increased the number of bicycle and pedestrian accidents and fatalities, as people cannot hear the approaching cars and take safety precautions or evasive measures. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, hybrid vehicles are twice as likely as standard cars and trucks to be involved in pedestrian accidents at low speed.
Hybrid cars are not the only danger for bicyclists and pedestrians, however, as the Oklahoma City accidents demonstrate. Safety officials recommend that both cyclists and drivers remain alert to their surroundings. Oklahoma City police Captain Patrick Stewart admonished automobile drivers, saying, “People are looking for cars. It tends to be the case that people just don't see motorcycles, and they certainly aren't looking for bicyclists. We need to educate both the motoring public and the cycling public about being vigilant and taking extra precautions." Stewart’s warning about motorcyclists was underscored by the deaths of two riders in separate Oklahoma City motorcycle accidents in the days following the fatal weekend bike wrecks.
As for the legal response to the Oklahoma City bicycle accidents, criminal charges will certainly be filed as soon as the driver in the hit-and-run accident is identified. In the second accident, charges may or may not be filed pending the results of the investigation. It is important to note that Oklahoma law requires that motorists passing a bicycle must give at least 3 feet of safety clearance. Regardless of whether or not criminal charges are filed in an accident case, the drivers may be held liable in a civil case. Oklahoma City accident attorneys can help hold the responsible parties accountable for damages resulting from a fatal collision, including medical expenses, funeral expenses, and daily living expenses resulting from the loss of a loved one’s income. While no amount of financial recovery can compensate for the death of a family member or loved one, some peace of mind can be established by easing the financial burden of a loss. Experienced accident lawyers in Tulsa and Oklahoma City can help a suffering family receive restitution from the individuals responsible for an Oklahoma auto accident.
Fri, July 23, 2010
by Lawter & Associates filed under