WE ARE ATTORNEYS AND WE ARE RIDERS
WE REPRESENT OKLAHOMA CYCLISTS
HAD A BICYCLE CRASH IN OKLAHOMA?
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.
(Oklahoma State Flag)
OKLAHOMA BICYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities
Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population
OKLAHOMA BICYCLE STATUTES
Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. Although not defined as a vehicle, a bicyclist upon a roadway shall have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle operator, except when specifically regulated otherwise. Yet, some regulations may not apply to bicycles because of their nature. (Title 47 § 11-1202)
Bicyclists must obey all traffic control devices and signs, as a motor vehicle operator would. (Title 47 § 11-201) By example, bicyclists must stop at stop signs.
Local authorities may regulate the operation of bicycles in their jurisdiction. They may also require registration and licensing of bicycles. (Title 47 § 15102) By example, some sidewalks may be signed to prohibit bicycles. OU requires registration of all bicycles used on campus by faculty, staff, and students.
Local laws or ordinances may require a bicyclist to use a bike path adjacent to a roadway, instead of the roadway. (Title 47 § 11-1205)
A bicyclist upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practical. Bicyclists should use caution when passing a standing vehicle or one proceeding in the same direction. (Title 47 § 11-1205)
All vehicles must be driven upon the right half of the roadway except:
- When passing a vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When an obstruction makes it necessary to drive left of center. You must yield to vehicles traveling in their proper lane.
- Upon a roadway restricted to one-way traffic.
- Upon a roadway with more than two lanes, providing for turn movements or additional lanes of travel in the same direction.
Bicyclists should remain as far to the right as practical unless passing or turning. (Title 47 § 11-301)Bicyclists should always travel with the flow of traffic. Riding on the left is illegal and unsafe.
No vehicle may pass another vehicle on the right unless the other vehicle is making a left turn or there is a separate lane for travel in the same direction. This may be done only if there is sufficient room on the normally-traveled portion of the roadway and if such movement is safe. (Title 47 § 11-304) Pay particular attention to this law at intersections. Use the appropriate lane and don't ride beside vehicles in the same lane. Failure to do so is not only dangerous but will draw the notice of any nearby police and may be a costly mistake in any event.
A bicyclist shall not ride beside more than one other bicyclist on a roadway, except in those areas designated as exclusive for bicycle use. (Title 47 § 11-1205) Unless riding on a bike path or bike lane, signed for the exclusive use of bicycles, bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast.
Signal your intention to turn, slow, or stop. When turning, you must signal continuously at least 100 feet before the turn and while you are stopped, waiting to turn, unless use of your hand is needed to control your bicycle. (Title 47 § 11-604)
Left turn- Left hand and arm extended horizontally.
Right turn- Left hand and arm extended upward.
Stop or decrease speed- Left hand and arm extended downward.
(Title 47 § 11-606)
*In some states/areas outside Oklahoma, the straight extension of the right arm indicates a right turn for bicyclists, however it is NOT the right-turn hand signal allowed under Oklahoma law. Oklahoma’s hand signals are the same for motor-vehicles as for bicycles (and an extended right arm by a motor-vehicle driver would not be visible to following vehicles and adjacent vehicles in most cases.) We suggest using the “left-arm-up” right turn signal to avoid confusion from motor vehicle drivers who’ve only been taught that hand-signal for a right turn.
All vehicle operators should remember this and take appropriate action if a bicyclist signals with his or her right arm.
The parent or guardian of a child shall not knowingly permit a child to violate any laws while riding a bicycle. (Title 47 § 11-1201) Parents should familiarize themselves with Oklahoma law and proper bicycle safety, thenteach their children.
A person riding a bicycle must ride upon, or astride, a permanent and regular seat. No more people may ride upon the bicycle than for which it is designed and equipped. (Title 47 § 11-1203)
A bicyclist shall not carry anything that prevents them from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars. (Title 47 § 111206)
No bicyclist shall attach themselves, or the bicycle, to any other vehicle. (Title 47 § 111204) Using a motor vehicle to pull/propel a bicycle is extremely dangerous.
A bicycle used at nighttime must be equipped with a headlamp and rear red reflector. The headlamp must be visible at least five hundred feet. The rear red reflector must be visible at all points between fifty feet and three hundred feet when directly in front of the "upper" headlamps of a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light may be used to supplement the rear reflector, if the light is visible a distance of five hundred feet. (Title 47 § 11-1207) Bicyclists should remember that they are hard to see at nighttime. Also consider using side reflectors and reflective clothing/accents to improve your visibility to other drivers sharing the roadway. Parents are encouraged to restrict children from riding at night.
A bicycle must be equipped with appropriate brakes. (Title 47 § 11-1207)
No vehicle may be operated below the minimum speed limit on any part of a highway with a declared minimum speed limit. (Title 47 § 11-804) The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has established a minimum speed for all controlled access facilities, such as interstates. No bicycle will be allowed to operate on these facilities unless a portion is designated and signed as a bicycle route. On such designated routes, bicycles may not be ridden on the travel lanes of the highway. The minimum speed will not apply to bicycles on a designated route.
No bicycle or man-powered vehicle may be operated on a turnpike. (Title 47 § 11-1401)
No person shall throw or drop any substance on a moving vehicle. This is a FELONY punishable by as many as ten years in prison. (Title 47 § 11-1111) Anyone throwing items at bicyclists should be reported to the police. Bicyclists should also heed this law at all times.
A bicyclist arrested for a misdemeanor violation of state traffic laws, only, shall be released by the arresting officer upon personal recognizance if the bicyclist can prove his or her identity to the satisfaction of the officer, and signs a written promise to appear as ordered. (Title 22 § 1115) Bicyclists should carry identification with them at all times. While bicyclists are not required to be licensed, they are subject to arrest and detention, and lack of proper identification immediately available can certainly lead to both.
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