WE ARE ATTORNEYS AND WE ARE RIDERS
WE REPRESENT ALASKA CYCLISTS
HAD A BICYCLE CRASH IN ALASKA?
Contact Ben Dodge to see if the bicycle crash lawyers at Bike Accident Attorneys (BAA) can help. Unlike other lawyers who attempt to represent cyclists, our BAA lawyers actually ride and race their bicycles as well as appear and win in court. Most attorneys are just pencil pushers. We are court room litigators who are passionate about riding our bikes and we have associated local counsel in other states to allow us to help you in your state. Based on our expertise and experience we have also been admitted in other states to appear in court for our bicycle crash clients on a case by case basis. We can help you directly or ensure that you get the quality help you need in your state. Contact Ben Dodge now to see how we can protect your rights.
3 Tips on Choosing the Best Bicycle Crash Lawyer and Avoid Being Scammed
So how do you know if you have the best lawyer? There are 3 things to investigate when hiring a bicycle lawyer that can help you avoid a scammer. Some of that depends on what you think the “best” really means. To me, it is simple. The “best” lawyer will get you to the most advantageous position possible with as little cost as possible. That’s it. Nothing else to it. I have seen too many lawyers give up or miss out on incredible opportunities for their clients because of their own egos arguing the irrelevant issues or pushing too hard in a direction that only generates their own fees as opposed to the results the client would rather have.
The most advantageous position is sometimes not even what the client comes in asking for. I can’t tell you how many times I probably talked myself out of a job in an initial consult because what the client wanted actually puts them in a worse position and I wasn’t afraid to tell them so. It would have been so much easier to just tell them what they desperately wanted to hear, help them feel heard and let them vent a little. All just tell them we better hurry up and rush to court so they can be vindicated. When in reality, that won’t help them at all. So that is what many lawyers do- they try to figure out what the client wants emotionally and then sell them a legal service that matches that emotional need and of course charge them for it based on whatever they think the client is able to pay.
Obviously not all attorneys are this cold-hearted. Many of us actually care. Many of us strive to do right by the client as opposed to just trying to do right by the pocket book.
Here are some general things to watch out for when looking for an attorney, especially a bicycle accident lawyer (I don’t like the word accident, I prefer “crash” – but most of the world uses the term accident and I understand why, so I sue it too). Here are the issues to watch out for:
1) Specific Knowledge
Do they have the specific knowledge required to handle your case? Just because they graduated from law school doesn’t mean they know anything about cycling! In fact, in my opinion, most of the country doesn’t know anything about cycling. It is crazy that all sorts of professionals from police offices charged with enforcing cycling safety to insurance adjusters responsible for finding fault don’t know anything about cycling laws. This is especially true with local rules, ordinances, and even more so with knowledge of local customs and implied expectations of cycling culture and more. Now fast forward to the moment when you are looking for an attorney to help you with your crash (your bicycle accident case) and you see a billboard on the side of the freeway, or a TV commercial, or even a Google search where the words cycling lawyer were used… How much specific knowledge of bicycle cases do you think they really have? Ask them how often they ride? Ask them what their favorite route is? Ask them if they could buy any bike on the planet what would it be and why? These questions will help you quickly identify if they are even remotely plugged into the cycling community and whether or not they have specific knowledge relating to cycling. Why is this important? SIMPLE- as a cyclist you already know that most people (drivers) hate that we are out on the roads. You already have an uphill court battle of public opinion. Being right on some traffic issue isn’t enough for us. Your lawyer must know this intimately in order to successfully navigate the complex negotiations of your case with the insurance company and opposing attorneys and then ultimately in a court room where you can bet no one on the jury will be a cyclist.
Also on the topic of specific knowledge. How many cases like this issue have they handled? What were the outcomes? How confident do you feel with their answers to these questions? Specific case knowledge is helpful. Do they have experience with the opposing insurance company? With that specific police department? With your judge? And on and on.
Specific knowledge is very helpful and you can’t buy it with expensive marketing on billboards, commercials, etc. It is earned with blood, sweat, and sometimes tears through years of experience.
2) Desk or Courtroom
The next thing to investigate is whether or not the attorney you’re thinking about hiring is a desk lawyer (I fondly refer to these lawyers as pencil pushers) or a courtroom lawyer. There is a need for all sorts of lawyers. But unless you are planning on having your bicycle accident attorney draft a will or some contract for you, then you want a courtroom lawyer not a pencil pusher.
I know this is a guess, but in my experience it seems like 95% of lawyers, especially the ones who end up on billboards and commercials, are just pencil pushers. Once their cases get to tough they refer them out to a real lawyer to finish the courtroom stuff for them. Most attorneys talk a big talk in their consult with potential clients about how good they are, but when push comes to shove and they have to actually prove it to you in a courtroom with you watching, their peers (opposing lawyers on the other side of your case) and in front of a judge and jury- they simply freak out and completely drop the ball or settle for less than you should ever take just to avoid the scary courtroom.
Don’t mistakenly hire a pencil pusher. Hire a bicycle accident lawyer who thrives in the courtroom. One simple question to help catch them off guard is ask them when is the last time they were in court? What was it about? What kind of hearing was it? What was the argument they proposed and made to the judge? How did it turn out? These simple questions will help you find out if they are pencil pushers or not. Their hesitation or odd answers are a dead give away that they are likely misleading you on their courtroom abilities and experience.
We are courtroom lawyers, sometimes even going multiple times per week to court. We file lawsuits, we don’t just write a few meaningless settlement letters and sell our clients on how good the settlement is- we prove it to our clients.
3) Do You Recognize Them from a Billboard or Commercial?
Yes I said that right, do you actually recognize them from a billboard or a TV commercial? Why is this even a thing? Well, it sounds harsh but those lawyers out there spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per year (for some they spend that per month) just to recruit new clients may be struggling to get their current and past clients to even refer to them… Yep, what if your lawyer was so good and you were so impressed that you happily sent business to him/or her? See how powerful that is? I’m not saying that everyone who advertises in our line of work is a horrible lawyer. What I am saying is that it is a bit suspect since advertising is NOT cheap and it begs the question as to why they have to advertise in the first place? Is their reputation with their own clients so bad that they have to find an alternative source to finding clients? Possibly. I’m one of those guys who avoids, in fact runs away from any professional I see on a billboard. I’d much rather consult a trusted friend and get their opinion as to whom I should see or NOT see based on their experience.
Not all lawyers who advertise are bad. But like I said, I personally run away from any professional on a billboard or TV commercial. A good old fashioned referral has always proved to be much better much more often. Just sayin’.
These are just 3 of the many things to look out for when you hire a bicycle accident lawyer. Call my office up and we can chat over the phone sometime about all the other million things to look out for like attorney billable hour quotas, bonus structures, professional reputation among peers, and so much more!
We are here for you. We got your back. We protect our own like you’re a member of our tribe. Good luck. Be safe out there and keep the rubber side down.
Contact Ben Dodge and let the lawyers in the Bike Accident Attorneys National Network help you. We will assist you in your case and/or find someone for you in your state that we can trust and recommend. We have your back. We are here for you.
(Alaska State Flag)
ALASKA BICYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities
Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population
ALASKA BICYCLE STATUTES
Parents cannot authorize or knowingly permit their kids to violate these laws. AMC 9.38.010(a).
Laws also apply when a bicycle is operated upon a sidewalk, trail, or pathway. AMC 9.38.010(b).
Every person riding a bike has all the rights and is subject to all the duties, applicable to drivers of motor vehicles. AMC 9.38.020(a).
You can’t ride your bike off a curb or other“place of safety” into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute a hazard. AMC 9.38.020(b).
If you ride your bike on (or across) a sidewalk, trail, or pathway, you have all the rights and duties of a pedestrian. AND, when riding on a sidewalk, trail, or pathway:
you can’t go more than 10 mph when approaching or crossing an uncontrolled crosswalk or driveway, or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp where a motor vehicle is approaching the uncontrolled crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp;
when entering a controlled intersection, shall obey the traffic control device and enter the intersection at a reasonable and prudent speed;
shall operate the vehicle at a reasonable and prudent speed when in the presence of pedestrians on the same sidewalk, trail or pathway, consistent with section 9.38.070 (13, 14, and 15 below). AMC
When riding a bike, you have to obey all traffic control devices unless otherwise directed by a police officer, school crossing guard, flagman, or other official directing traffic. AMC 9.38.030(a).
You cannot disobey a traffic sign that say no right, left, or “U” turn UNLESS you dismount and make the turn as a pedestrian. AMC 9.38.030(b).
You have to ride on a seat attached to your bike. AMC 9.38.040(a).
Youcan’tcarryanotherpersonunlessyouhaveaseatortrailerfortheother person. AMC 9.38.040(b).
10.You can’t hang on to vehicles. AMC 9.38.050.
11.You have to ride as far to the right of the road, trail, or pathway as practicable, exercising due care when avoiding hazards or passing or meeting other vehicles, bikes, pedestrians, or other users of the road, trail or pathway unless:
When passing another bike or vehicle traveling in the same direction;
When getting ready to make a left turn;
When necessary to avoid hazards (parked vehicles, pedestrians,
animals, road hazards, etc.);
When approaching a place where a right turn is authorized;
When necessary to take up a whole lane when waiting to cross an
intersection to increase visibility; or
When traveling the same speed as traffic. AMC 9.38.060(a).
12.You can’t ride more than two abreast except on paths set aside for bikes or in the case of permitted bicycling events. AMC 9.38.060(b).
13.You can’t ride on a sidewalk in a business district. AMC 9.38.070(a).
14.The Muni Traffic Engineer can erect signs prohibiting bike riding on sidewalks or roadways. AMC 9.38.070(b).
15.When riding on a sidewalk, trail or pathway, you have to yield the right of way to pedestrians, and give an audible signal by voice or audible warning device before overtaking and passing pedestrians. AMC 9.38.070(c).
16.Bicycles must be parked so as not to obstruct traffic or pedestrians. AMC 9.38.080.
17.You can’t carry any package, bundle or article which prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars. AMC 9.38.090.
18. You have to have a light on your bike or worn on your body when riding after dusk and before dawn that emits a white light visible from 500 feet to the front, and with a red reflector visible from 100 to 600 feet from the rear when in front of a vehicle with low beams on. A red light can be used in addition to a reflector. AMC 9.38.100.
19.You have to have a brake that can stop you in 20 feet when traveling 10 mph on clean, dry, level pavement. AMC 9.38.100(b).
20.You have to have an audible warning device that can give a signal audible for at least 100 feet, but you CANNOT put a whistle or siren on your bike. AMC 9.38.100(c).
21.A rental agency can’t rent a bike unless it complies with the lamp and other equipment requirements of this section. AMC 9.38.170.
22.You can’t remove or destroy the serial number on a bike. AMC 9.38.190.
23.You have to wear a helmet if you are 15 or under when riding in a public place. Failure to do so is a $25 fine, which can be waived if you show proof of purchase of a helmet after the citation was issued. AMC 9.38.200.
The AAC is mostly consistent with the AMC provisions listed above. One important provision to pay attention to (which isn’t in the AMC) addresses making turns. See No. 12 below. So you have the complete set, here is what the AAC says:
1. Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway has all the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle. 13 AAC 02.385(a).
Parents may not authorize or knowingly permit their children to violate this chapter. 13 AAC 02.385(b).
When signs indicate no right, left, or U-turn is permitted, you cannot disobey the sign unless you pull over to the extreme right or shoulder of the road, dismount, and make the turn as a pedestrian. 13 AAC 02.385(c).
You cannot carry another person on your bike unless your bike is equipped with a seat for the person, except that an adult rider can carry a child securely attached to his person in a backpack or sling. 13 AAC 02.395(b).
You can't hold on to a vehicle (or attach your bike to a vehicle) to be towed or pulled. 13 AAC 02.395(c).
You have to maintain control of your bike at all times, and must always have at least one hand on the handlebars. 13 AAC 02.395(d).
No unicycles, roller skates, coasters, or similar devices are allowed on a roadway. 13 AAC 02.395(e).
You must ride as far to the right as practicable, and give way to the right as far as practicable to a motor vehicle traveling in the same direction when the driver gives you an audible signal. 12 AAC 02.400(a).
You cannot ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roads set aside for the exclusive use of bikes. If you are riding two abreast, you still cannot impede traffic, and must ride in the farthest right lane. 12 AAC 02.400(b)
10.When a shoulder is maintained in good condition, you must use it. 12 AAC 02.400(c).
11.If you are riding on a path, you must exercise care not to collide with others, must give an audible signal before overtaking a pedestrian, and yield the right of way to any pedestrian. 12 AAC 02.400(d).
12.If you are riding on a roadway and want to make a left turn, you must do so just like a car, which means:
You must approach and make the turn from the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction. When you make the turn, you must proceed into the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the same direction, unless conditions prevail that necessitate other action to assure safety;
Where a special lane for making left turns by drivers proceeding in the opposite direction is available (this is the center turn lane that can
be used by traffic going both ways), then you cannot make a left turn from any other lane, and you can’t ride in the lane except to make a turn;
c. If there is a traffic control device in or adjacent to an intersection that requires a different course than specified above, you must follow the direction of the traffic control device to make a turn.
AND, you must signal by hand and arm continuously during the last 100 feet traveled unless the hand is needed for control of the bike. When stopped and waiting to turn, you must give a hand and arm signal continuously. 12 AAC 02.400(f).
13.You cannot ride a bike on a sidewalk in a business district or where prohibited by a traffic control device. 12 AAC 02.400(g).
14. You cannot park a bike on a street or sidewalk in a manner which obstructs pedestrian traffic or the driving or parking of motor vehicles. You cannot secure a bike to a (1)fire hydrant, (2) police or fire call box, (3) traffic signal poles, (4) stanchions or poles in a bus zone, (5) stanchions or poles within 25 feet of an intersection, or (6) trees less than 10 inches in diameter. 13 AAC 02.420.
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