COVID-19 UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Some people ride motorcycles for the freedom and excitement they provide. But that unfortunately comes with an increased risk of death or serious injury since they offer no protection after a collision. Tragically, there were another three fatal motorcycle accidents in the past few days in Tarrant County. That made us want to get the word out about motorcycle safety.

This is probably the best walking photograph of all time. Maybe some of us Baby Boomers have this etched into our brains as we have been trying to get some exercise during the unending pandemic. But just crossing the street should not be the cause of a pedestrian injury. Unfortunately, this is more common every year. In 2019, 668 Texans and 6,227 Americans lost their lives when they were on foot, the highest numbers in three decades. One would have been too many. Read: Pedestrian deaths in Texas alarming Two weeks ago in east Fort Worth, a woman crossing the street was killed and a man was critically injured when a SUV ran a red light. Stories like this where walkers and cyclists are hit by vehicles should not become routine.

What has caused the pedestrian injury spike?

  1. Cell phones: it seems like half of the people around you when you drive are talking on their phones and even texting while driving. Distracting driving is a major reason for the elevated number of all collisions.
  2. Larger vehicles: over one-half of new purchases are for pickup trucks and SUVs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They are so much larger with such bigger engines that they are guaranteed to inflict worse injuries on a person not protected by a vehicle. That is despite new-fangled safety enhancements like back-up cameras and motion detectors, because many drivers can't keep their eyes on the road with all the distractions. And their cell phones.
  3. Bad drivers: coupled with the above, if you add rampant speeding, reckless driving, and intoxication, a pedestrian injury is far more likely.
  4. Poor planning and infrastructure: these include insufficient or nonexistent walking trails and dedicated bike/walking lanes, badly designed cross walks, poorly timed crossing signals and traffic lights, and insufficient public transportation.
  5. Pedestrian error: Of course, sometimes the person who is walking or cycling is at fault. They may be in the road. Or they may have failed to abide by right of way laws contained in the Texas Transportation Code, Section 522. This problem is compounded if they were distracted by music on headphones and did not hear oncoming vehicles, were zoned out, and were reading and even texting while walking. This man walking his dog is next to a paved path to his left.

How to win a pedestrian vs. vehicle case

In a motor vehicle collision collision, the key is establishing which person had the right of way. A fast and thorough investigation is required to prove liability. Photographs and video, diagrams, eyewitness statements, cell phone records, and other evidence can make or break the case. Texas uses the modified comparative negligence standard. That compares the liability of all parties involved and divides the damages accordingly. More than one person can be found to be at fault by a jury. For example, if the injured pedestrian was not to blame, the vehicle driver will be found to be 100% at fault and all damages will be paid to the victim. However, if it is shown that the person walking was 30% to blame, they lose that amount of the proceeds, and if they are 51% liable, they recover nothing.
There are complicating factors that need to be analyzed including the timing of traffic lights and existence of crosswalks, other vehicles, poor weather, and obstructions to vision.
These cases often have to go to court to be successfully resolved. If there was a wrongful death, litigation is essential unless the insurance companies agree to tender all available proceeds. We just resolved the case for a man seriously injured as he was walking beside an interstate late at night for maximum value. More information about how to proceed can be found here.

How to avoid a pedestrian injury

You never think a car or truck is going to hit you as you are walking until it does. Here are some things you must do to prevent this from happening:
  • Maintain constant vigilance and walk defensively;
  • Wear high visible clothes, especially in the early morning and late afternoon hours when drivers are dashing to and from work;
  • Don't wear headphones in both ears - or at all;
  • Don't run stop signs and lights if you are cycling; and
  • Don't walk and read your cell phone

Cases we are handling 

Our law firm just filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was seriously injured when his truck was rear-ended by an extremely intoxicated driver. That caused his truck to flip over and land on a man who was working outside, tragically taking his life. We just settled a major case for a man seriously injured as he walked next to an interstate highway late at night. We are representing a young man struck as he crossed the street to catch his school bus, a woman paralyzed after she was hit by a vehicle in north Fort Worth, and several other pedestrians. We have handled pedestrian and bicyclist injury cases over the past 40 years.

Berenson Injury Law can help you

Mr. Berenson runs, walks, and cycles on our roads and understands the dangers involved. He strongly recommends that Fort Worth residents use the wonderful Trinity Trail network. Here is a photo where it goes by his building for the last 37 years (his firm's offices can be seen near the top).
Other cities in North Texas also have good options including the White Rock Lake trails in Dallas, River Legacy Park in Arlington, and other off-road paths where you are guaranteed to be safer. Mr. Berenson is involved in groups working to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists by Please call us at 1-888-801-8585 or click here to chat if you have been injured in any type of motor vehicle collision. We will answer all of your questions and tell you what your best legal options are at no charge for the first consultation.
Please stay safe out there during these difficult times.

It is great to see so many cyclists, runners, and walkers getting exercise and fresh air on the Trinity Trails in this horrible pandemic. So it upset me to read that a serious Fort Worth bicycle accident just happened there. This treasure has 90 miles where you can ride, run and walk without fear of being hit by a car or truck. It is one of my favorite things about our wonderful city. Since I have trained for 58 marathons and several 100-mile bike rides, live nearby, and have seen it out of my office window which overlooks the trail for nearly 40 years, it feels like a second home to me. How did this Fort Worth bicycle accident happen? On Saturday Jerry Heaton had been running on the new foot bridge near Pappasito's when another runner approached him. But it was so muddy that the other runner suddenly moved to his left without looking behind him. A cyclist who was riding too fast hit that runner and threw him onto Jerry's leg which caught the fall. Without that, Jerry said that man would have died when he hit the concrete. The cyclist sped away. Jerry had fractured his tibia. Now he is stuck with huge medical bills.
I felt more connected to this terrible story because I was on my Saturday morning long run on the other side of the river. This could have happened to me -- or anyone else.

We are proud to sponsor the first city-wide Bike Rodeo next Friday, July 12th, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. It will take place at the Fort Worth Police Department’s training facility at 505 West Felix Street in south Fort Worth. Both children and adults will have the chance to learn how to ride bicycles or practice their handling skills in a safe environment. 25 kids will be given high tech helmets and 25 bikes will be raffled off. Water bottles and other goodies will be given away and there will be refreshments, including snow cones. Vision checking will be offered by UNTHSC. You can check out the latest safety devices in police cars, fire trucks and ambulances. Berenson Injury Law is committed to making the roads of our community safer. Mr. Berenson is a member of Fort Worth Safe Communities Coalition, a supporter of community and fitness organizations, and an avid cyclist and runner. Please join us for this exciting event! For more information on why this is so important: Bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth

Temps are up, so are bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth

Yesterday kicked off the annual Tour de Fort Worth sponsored by Fit Worth and it was an honor to get to ride with our wonderful Mayor Betsy Price. But the warmer weather unfortunately brings an increase in the number of bicycle and motorcycle accidents in Fort Worth. Saturday sadly marked the latest motorcycle death in our area. Texas leads in the country in the number of fatal motorcycle crashes with almost 500 riders losing their lives each year. And though it happened it happened in New Hampshire on Friday, it was horrible to read that seven people riding motorcycles died when a man who was driving in the wrong lane crashed into the group of former Marines. He had to be either texting while driving or driving while intoxicated, or both.

What causes all of the bicycle and motorcycle accidents?

Bicycles and motorcycles are similar. They are small and offer no protection from injuries. Drivers often don't see them or ignore them; some probably consider them an annoyance. They are often ridden by younger people who enjoy going fast and take unsafe risks. So there's a constant friction between the motorists on four wheels and riders on two wheels. On the one hand, motorists must yield the right of way, pay attention to vehicles on the road, slow down, stop looking at cell phones while they drive, and not drink and drive, the usual causes of crashes. But cyclists must also obey the rules of the road, stop at red lights and stop signs, and not engage in risky maneuvers. If there is a crash, the negligence of all drivers and riders will be weighed. There are too many motorists and bicycle/motorcycle riders who don't seem to know basic traffic laws -- or follow them. So here's a refresher.

Electric Bicycles To Be Available in Fort Worth Soon

You are starting to see a few people riding around on electric bicycles and electric scooters and might think they are good ideas. They encourage people to exercise, reduce our ever-increasing road congestion, and help protect the environment, so I was interested when Fort Worth just announced that its B-Cycle bicycle sharing program will add 50 electric assisted bicycles in April. B-Cycle had test rides available yesterday so I hopped on one at City Hall before work to check them out. The representative from the Trek Bicycle-owned company assured me that they could not go faster than 17 mph with the electric "boost." You have to pedal them for the motor to kick in so they are not motor scooters. As I rode, the bicycle went faster than it should have been going based on my pedaling -- and that's what worries me. As an experienced cyclist who rides on our area roads and the Trinity Trails, I worry when I see new or young riders who look like they are about to fall over or cause other cyclists to get into a wreck. I've had to handle many bicycle, motorcycle, and pedestrian cases over the past 38 years and know first-hand how the injuries can be serious, even fatal. I can't see how letting inexperienced or young people to ride at a pretty fast pace is a great idea. And people riding 17 miles an hour on narrow bike trails will easily overtake many of the other bike riders and all walkers, sometimes with baby strollers, children and dogs. Especially on nice weekends, our trails can get crowded. And I see people texting while they pedal, riding down the middle of the small path, and pulling their dogs out to the side. While I'm a huge advocate of people getting exercise and making our roads safe, no warnings are given about how e-bikes can be very dangerous. And adding to the danger, bike-sharing companies do not provide helmets. I've never seen anyone wearing their own on a B-cycle. But it is obvious that helmets reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury, the leading cause of death after a cycling crash. I don't understand why helmets are not required by state law for all bike riders in Texas. Fort Worth requires any one younger than 18 to wear one, but there is no way to stop a child from renting an electric bike where it will be tempting to take for a spin. I did like the electric bike's built-in safety features, including front and rear lights that are always on, a heavy frame that is hard to move quickly (without electricity), a low center of gravity, drum brakes, and no top tube so it's easy to get on and off quickly. You rarely see people riding on of those big red bikes now. Perhaps the more people riding electric and regular bicycles on our streets, the fewer collisions there will be as car and truck drivers get more used to seeing them. Fort Worth, Dallas, and the other cities in North Texas are among the least bike-friendly ones in the United States. Perhaps having "dockless stations" where riders can leave their bikes anywhere they want would increase their use and practicality. You still need to drive a car to and from the bike stations. But Dallas had a terrible experience with them last year and they are now banned. Fort Worth is expected to announce a decision on these stations early next year. I hope that a balance can be struck between the need to use alternative means of transit and get exercise versus the increased danger. But until then, they seem like more accidents waiting to happen.

Electric Scooters

To our young people, electric scooters are a boon when you need to get around in a city without a car.

Lime Scooters

However, they are so dangerous that a class action lawsuit is underway according to the Washington Post. The suit in Los Angeles accuses the leading manufacturers of “aiding and abetting assault.” While users and passers-by who avoid injury from these vehicles rarely notice the serious damage they can do, we in the personal injury law field see the aftermath of what electric scooters can cause. That damage is more than just the littered sidewalks that pepper our cities. It’s a real human toll in life and limb that we see when our clients hobble into our doors, looking to get some fair compensation for what can be life-changing injuries. Many cities have banned these electronic scooters from their sidewalks because they are not worth the risk. The California lawsuit claims that the scooter companies have contributed to the eight plaintiffs’ injuries in several ways:
  • By placing scooters on public streets without a warning, these companies acted negligently, since they should have known that the vehicles would become both a nuisance and a danger to the public;
  • The main companies’ scooters have several defective parts;
  • They do not provide adequate instructions to keep riders safe; and
  • They did nothing to stop the crashes from happening, after knowing the dangers
Lime claims that safety is “at the core of everything” they do, citing the fact that scooters have reduced car use, resulting in better air quality from reduced carbon emissions. Bird also references the need to address climate change. But the article points to “uptick in severe injuries" and the testimony from physicians, mechanics, and former scooter riders that they are overly dangerous. A Los Angeles attorney told the Dallas City Council that they are very dangerous, even though the Council agreed to allow a six month trial period. Fort Worth's mayor Betsy Price, a cyclist and fitness advocate, said that Fort Worth will not allow them since they were so hazardous, at least not before they are made more safe. Several electronic scooter riders have died from injuries they incurred while riding and serious injuries are on the rise. In her recent article for, Angie Schmitt points out that in Washington, D.C. alone, three e-scooter riders have died in little more than a month’s time. The author states that the e-scooter death rate is six times greater than that of the bike share system. With Bird’s claims of more than 10 million rides and Lime’s 11.5 million, this death rate is likely to rise. Since most cities don’t allow scooters on sidewalks, riders must use the streets, most lacking designated bike lanes to keep them relatively safe. Without a change in our laws, more bike lanes, better enforcement, or a change in attitude by electronic scooter companies, injuries and fatalities will almost certainly increase. It's funny how Dallas has rejected electric bikes but allowed electric scooters, but Fort Worth is taking the opposite position. I just wrote about the surge in fatal motorcycle collisions here and worry that these new higher-speed machines will cause even more crashes. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Fort Worth bicycle accident (i.e. bike crash) or a Dallas scooter accident, contact us for a free meeting to discuss your legal options.

Related post:

Successfully resolving bicycle collisions in Dallas-Fort Worth

It's April -- time for motorcyclists (and cyclists) to start riding more. But unfortunately serious injuries and deaths in Texas from cycle-vehicle collisions have risen dramatically here. 500 people tragically die on motorcycles every year in Texas. Just last night in Arlington, a motorcyclist was crashed into by an SUV changing lanes on State Highway 287 and tragically lost his life. As a motorcycle accident attorney and advocate for the safety for all all people driving a vehicle, this upsets me. And I went to another funeral of a client hit riding his motorcycle several months ago so thought to write this post to try to prevent another injury or death. Most motorcycle and bicycle crashes are caused by two things:
  • People do not see the cyclist at all -- or until it is too late; and
  • People see the cyclist but fail to yield the right of way, especially in intersections.
To prevent these collisions, here are some suggestions:

Our client was seriously injured riding his bicycle in Fort Worth several weeks ago. The police officer was not able to get his side of the story as he lost consciousness and did not awake until he was in the ER where he spent the next four days so the police report blames him. To combat this error, I had a staff member immediately take our client to the pound so we could secure his bike. I took it to my bike shop and the head mechanic confirmed that my client had been rear ended, not hit as he cut across a busy road as the other driver told the police. I got a written report that the only part of the bike that was damaged was the rear wheel which I emailed to the insurance adjuster with color photos and what the police report should have stated. Today my client gave the driver's insurance company a statement with my assistance. I am going to file suit if the company does not accept liability by Monday and pay its driver's entire insurance policy limit. On a similar note, we were hired today to represent a man who was crossing the street earlier this week when he was run over. These two cases are reminders of how dangerous North Texas roads are for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists. Last year, 65 people cyclists, 496 motorcyclists, and 678 pedestrians tragically died in collisions with vehicles, up a huge 21% from the previous year. I know this all too well, having represented thousands of injured people including those riding bikes. I've spent more time on my bicycle this year, riding 75 miles on Sunday, and ran on streets for years when I was training to run many marathons.  I ride and used to run on the Trinity Trail and off road as much as possible and encourage others to do so. Here's a great link to Dallas-Fort Worth trails and roads that cyclists and pedestrians can more safely ride and walk on.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration released its highly anticipated 2016 crash report this week. The results are very discouraging. More people died in traffic crashes last year than in any year in the past decade. And what’s more, there were increases in every means of transit. Death rates increased for those driving cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, motorcycles, pedestrians and bicycles. Overall traffic deaths increased by almost 2,000 people -- an enormous 5.6 rate of increase from 2015. Since 2008, traffic fatalities had been on a downward trajectory but began to climb in 2012. We’ve now surpassed the 2008 numbers with no apparent end in sight. I've been riding my bicycle long distances to stay in shape as I turn 63 next month (yikes!) and this picture of a "ghost bike" memorializing the death of a cyclist is especially disturbing to me.

The temperatures have warmed up and more motorcycle riders are hitting the streets. To get car and truck drivers to be on the lookout for them, the Texas Department of Transportation has just launched a campaign with an important message for us motorists. Look twice for motorcycles. The campaign aims to reduce the thousands of motorcyclists fatally stuck or injured at intersections and crossing from adjoining lanes. This message also applies to the increasing number of people getting hit by vehicles as they are riding bicycles. Sure, motorcycles and bicycles are smaller and sometimes more difficult to see. However that does not excuse the motorist from making certain the coast is clear before changing lanes, crossing an intersection, passing, turning or u-turning. Motorcyclists have the right to be on the road and motorists have the obligation to share that road. I am about to file a lawsuit on behalf of a man who was seriously injured when a driver crashed into his motorcycle, seriously injuring him. The driver said she never saw him. I've heard many excuses like this one during my 37 years of representing injured motorcyclists.
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