WE ARE ATTORNEYS AND WE ARE RIDERS
WE REPRESENT HAWAII CYCLISTS
HAD A BICYCLE CRASH IN HAWAII?
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.
(Hawaii State Flag)
HAWAII BICYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities
Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population
HAWAII BICYCLE STATUTES
This comprehensive list of regulations was taken from the City & County of Honolulu Depatment of Transportation Services (DTS) website. It covers everything from where bikes can ride, to sidewalk laws, helmet usage, and dooring. The more frequently used section links are bold. What you see immediately on the web pages are a summary of the Hawaii Revised Statutes for ease of understanding. For the “full legal text” of the laws as passed by the State Legislature, click the “Link to full legal text” under each section. If there is a disagreement about what the law means, it’s best to use the full legal text.
HRS 291-C referrs to state law in effect statewide. Sections 15- refer to Honolulu’s Revised Ordinances, which apply to Honolulu only; each county may have it’s own ordinances which differ from Honolulu’s.
[Since July 10, 2012 the new Vulnerable Users Law is in effect. This law doubles penalties for motorists who kill or seriously injure vulnerable users (cyclists, pedestrians, police officers, road workers, etc.) acting legally. View the full Vulnerable Users law here.]
1. Definitions (§291C-1)
2. Bicycle lane markings (§291C-38)
3. Bicycle tax (§249-14)
4. Exemption from fee and tag (§249-14.3)
5. Seizure and sale of nonregistered vehicles (§249-15)
6. Duplicate bicycle decals (§249-16)
7. False decal, penalty (§249-17)
8. Bikeway Fund (§249-17.5)
9. Accidents (§291C-12, 291C-13, 291C-14)
10. Payment from which insurer (§431:10C-304)
11. Driving on a bikeway (§291C-123)
12. Pedestrians on roadways (§291C-76)
13. Effect of regulations (§291C-141)
14. Traffic laws apply to bicyclists (§291C-142)
15. Riding on bicycles (§291C-143)
16. No clinging to vehicles (§291C-144)
17. Riding on roadways and bikeways (§291C-145)
18. Carrying articles (§291C-146)
19. Lights and other equipment on bicycles (§291C-147)
20. Vehicles to yield right-of-way (§15-11.2)
21. Emerging from alley, driveway, or building (§291C-64)
22. Storing vehicles (§15-13.10)
23. No riding on pedestrian overpass or underpass (§15-17.9)
24. Obedience to traffic controls (§15-18.3)
25. Speed (§15-18.4)
26. Bicycle Racing (§291C-149)
27. Emerging from alley, bikeway, or driveway (§15-18.5)
28. Parking (§15-18.6)
29. Riding on sidewalks (§15-18.7)
30. Waikīkī (§15-4.6c)
31. Direction of travel on bike lanes (§15-18.8)v
32. Bicycle helmets (§291C-150)
33. Regulations for bicycle paths (§15-18.10)
34. Opening and closing vehicle doors (§291C-125)
- A bicycle is a vehicle operated solely by human power and has two tandem wheels on which people may ride. A bicycle also may have two front or two rear wheels. Toy bicycles are not included in this definition.
- A bicycle lane is a portion of any roadway which is reserved for the use of bicycles.
- A bicycle path is a bicycle lane that is physically separated from a roadway.
- A bicycle route is any highway that is signed for use by bicycles and pedestrians or bicycles and motor vehicles or shared by all three.
- “Bikeway” means a bicycle lane, path, or route.
- A roadway is any publicly maintained way which is open to public use for vehicular traffic.
- A vehicle is a device that transports persons or property on a roadway and includes bicycles.
- A toy bicycle is a device moved by human power and having two tandem wheels (including bicycles with two front or two rear wheels) whose seat height is not more than twenty-five (25) inches from the ground when the seat is adjusted to the highest position; or scooter or similar device, regardless of seat height.
There shall be a fee of $5.00 when transferring registered ownership of a bicycle.
All new bicycles acquired for sale by a business are exempt from the tax but upon being sold, the dealer will (1) have the buyer complete the license application forms, (2) give the buyer a completed copy of the form, and (3) send the other copies to the Finance Department, along with the tax and fees collected from the buyer.
The decal and certificate of registration will be mailed to the new owner. Until the new owner receives them, he or she should carry a copy of the completed application when using the bicycle on a roadway.
Any bicycle having no decal as described in the previous section is subject to impoundment by City officials. The owner has ten (10) days in which to recover the vehicle by paying the tax due and a $1.00 penalty. Unclaimed bikes will be sold at public auction after a five-day public notice is given through advertising in a newspaper or posted notices in at least three public places. Upon the sale of a bike, any money received beyond the tax and fees due plus the cost of advertising will be given to the vehicle’s owner, if the owner is known. If the owner cannot be located in ninety (90) days, the money will be kept by the City.
If you lose your decal, you may obtain a duplicate for $2.00. Just present the number and registration of the bicycle involved to the City.
Any person who uses an unauthorized or expired decal, counterfeits a decal or fraudulently removes a decal from any bicycle shall be fined up to $500.
All taxes collected for bicycles are deposited in the City and County of Honolulu bikeway fund to be used for:
- Establishing, designing, improving, and maintaining bikeways, including installing and repairing storm drains and bridges;
- Installing, maintaining, and repairing bikeway lights and power, including replacing old lights;
- Controlling bikeway traffic and preserving safety in the bikeway;
- Paying interest and redeeming bonds issues to finance bikeway construction and improvements;
- Promoting bicycling transportation and recreation.
The driver of any vehicle who is involved in an accident which results in injury or death or damage to vehicle or property must immediately stop at or near the scene of the accident and exchange information with the party or parties involved.
Information should include one’s name and address and registration of the vehicle involved. Assistance to the injured should also be given, including arrangements for medical treatment.
When property damage occurs to an unattended vehicle, the driver must try to locate the owner and, if not possible, leave his or her name and vehicle registration number in a conspicuous place. Then the driver must contact the nearest police station.
In an accident where the injured person is a pedestrian or bicyclist, the insurer for the vehicle which caused accidental harm pays the costs. If there is no insurance for the vehicle, any other no-fault insurance applicable to the injured person shall apply.
Vehicles other than a bicycle are not allowed on the bicycle lane or bicycle path, except:
- When making a turn, lane change, or parking maneuver;
- When driving an emergency vehicle or any other official government vehicle in the performance of duty;
- When a vehicle stalls or breaks down;
- When assisting a stalled or damaged vehicle;
- When yielding the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle; and
- When following some special provision of the law.
Where there are sidewalks, it is unlawful to walk on the adjacent roadway, bicycle path, or bicycle lane.
When there are no sidewalks, pedestrians are to walk on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic approaching from the opposite direction.
It is a misdemeanor for you to commit any forbidden act or fail to perform any act required in this part (Sec. 291C).
The parents of any child shall not authorize or permit their child to violate this chapter.
These bicycle regulations apply whenever a bicycle is used on a roadway or bicycle path.
Bicyclists using a roadway have all the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a motor vehicle, except as stated by special bicycle regulations and except for those provisions which by their nature cannot be applied to bicyclists.
The bicyclist must ride on the permanent, regular seat attached to the bicycle. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it was designed and equipped.
When riding a bicycle, do not attach it or yourself to another vehicle.
When traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic, bicyclists are to ride as close to the right hand curb or on the shoulder of the roadway, as practical. Be careful when passing a stopped vehicle or one going the same direction. There are the allowed exceptions to the “right hand” rule:
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway;
- When necessary to avoid hazards that make it unsafe to ride along the right hand curb. This includes situations where the traffic lane is too narrow for a bicycle and a motor vehicle to travel safely side-by-side; or
- When one-way streets have more than one lane of traffic, the bicyclist may ride near the left hand curb or edge.
On a roadway, bicyclists must ride single file. On bicycle lanes and paths, riding two abreast is permitted when the lane or path is wide enough and when there is no rule or ordinance specifically prohibiting it.
When a roadway has a usable bicycle lane, bicyclists must ride within the lane if they are going slower than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction.
Bicyclists are allowed to move out of the lane when:
- Wishing to pass another vehicle or a pedestrian and they cannot safely do so while staying within the lane;
- Preparing for a left turn at an intersection, private road, or driveway; or
- Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.
- Bicyclists are not to leave a bicycle lane unless the movement can be done safely and then only after they have given the appropriate turn signal.
Bicyclists riding in a bicycle lane shall travel in the same direction as the traffic in the adjoining roadway lane. When riding on bicycle paths wide enough for two-way traffic, bicyclists must stay to their right.
The State and City governments have the right to restrict or ban the use of mopeds on bikeways.
The City government, by ordinance, may post signs on bicycle lanes and paths prohibiting motorized bicycles from using them.
Bicyclists cannot carry a package or article which prevents the driver from using both hands to control and operate the bicycle. One hand must be on the handlebars at all times.
Any bicycle used from thirty (30) minutes after sunset until thirty (30) minutes before sunrise must have a head light, facing forward, which meets these specifications:
- Emits a white light;
- Is visible at least five hundred (500) feet from the front.
- Every bicycle must have a red reflector at least four (4) inches square, mounted in the rear, which can be seen at least six hundred (600) feet from the front of a vehicle with low beam lights on.
- Every bicycle in use during the time described in #1 above must have a 4-inch square reflective material or lighted lamps on each side which can be seen at least six hundred (600) feet from the front of the vehicle with low beam lights on, or a lighted lamp visible on both sides from a distance of at least five hundred (500) feet.
- Bicycles and/or riders may have additional lights or reflectors.
- A lamp as described in #1 above may be attached on the left arm or left leg of the bicycle operator, but must conform with requirement #1.
Bicycles must be equipped with brakes capable of bringing the bicycle to a complete stop within 25 feet from a speed of 10 mph on dry, level, clean pavement.
The driver of a vehicle intending to turn across a bicycle lane must yield the right-of-way to bicyclists.
The driver of a vehicle coming from an alley, driveway, building, or any place other than a roadway shall stop before crossing the sidewalk, bicycle path or lane, or at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic.
The City may order any vehicle that is left unattended or disabled on a bicycle lane or path to be removed and stored.
Do not ride a bicycle on a pedestrian overpass or underpass. Riders must dismount from their vehicle before using such structures.
Bicyclists must obey the instructions of official traffic control signs, signals, and other devices, unless otherwise directed by a police officer or other person authorized to direct traffic.
Bicyclists must obey posted “U” turn signs unless they dismount, in which event they must obey the regulations applicable to pedestrians.
Bicycle lanes are reserved exclusively for bicycles, but pedestrians may use the lanes when no paved sidewalks are provided. Bicyclists must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians in bicycle lanes.
Do not ride a bicycle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions at the time.
Bicycle racing is prohibited on the roadways unless the riders are participating in an approved racing event. Approval for races must be obtained from the authorities who are responsible for the roadway. Racers may be exempt from complying with the traffic laws only if an agreement has been established with the pertinent authorities and there is adequate traffic control for all roadway users.
The bicyclist emerging from an alley, driveway, bikeway, or building shall yield the right-of-way to all pedestrians and other vehicles before entering or crossing the sidewalk, bikeway, or roadway.
No person shall park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb, or upon the sidewalk in a rack to support the bicycle, or against a building; and in such a manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.
Bicycle riding on sidewalks is prohibited within a business district (such as Downtown Honolulu, Waikīkī).
Do not ride a bicycle on sidewalks where official signs prohibit it.
In areas other than business or prohibited districts, bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks provided the speed is 10 mph or less. The bicycle operator must yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, giving an audible signal before overtaking them.
Business District definition (§291C-1)
“Business district” means the territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any six hundred feet along such highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including but not limited to hotels, banks, or office buildings, and public buildings which occupy at least three hundred feet of frontage on one side or three hundred feet collectively on both sides of the highway.
No person shall ride a bicycle, skateboard, or roller skate upon any sidewalk in Waikīkī.
No person shall ride or operate a bicycle within a bicycle lane in any direction except that permitted of vehicular traffic traveling on the same side of the roadway.
No person under sixteen (16) years of age shall operate a bicycle on a street, bikeway, or any other public property unless that person is wearing a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet. This requirement also applies to a person who rides upon a bicycle while in a restraining seat that is attached to the bicycle or who rides in a trailer towed by the bicycle.
These regulations apply to bicycle paths owned by the City and County or made available to the City for public use:
- Only bicycles without motors or authorized motor vehicles that are permitted by posted signs may be used on bicycle paths.
- No vehicles shall be parked on the path except authorized maintenance and security vehicles.
- Do not drive a vehicle across the path without first coming to a full stop.
Do not open door of a vehicle on the side of moving traffic until it is reasonably safe to do so. Check that you will not interfere with or create a hazard to other traffic. Do not leave the door open longer than necessary.
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