I am a local Arizona cyclist and a nationally known bicycle lawyer. I have been representing cyclists since 2006. What I’m about to describe is real world experience handling countless cycling cases in our legal system. The scary truth is that people don’t care about cyclists. When I say people, I mean almost everyone. The drivers on the road. The police officers investigating bicycle accidents. The insurance companies handling bicycle accident claims. The jury in a trial listening to the cyclist’s plea for help. And the list goes on and on.
Motorists: All the Hate…
I’m constantly engaged in the representation of cyclists. And in so doing I am always encountering what seems to be the worst in people. I know not all people are bad. I know not all drivers are bad.
However, there is almost a tangible disdain between motorists and cyclists. It feels like almost every motorist believes that cyclists shouldn’t be riding their bicycles on the same roads as cars. In many cases this feeling shows up in road rage and outright anger. I have been personally run off the road a great number of times. I have seen and helped cyclists who were aggressively and intentionally hit by a motorist.
Recently in Glendale Arizona, 4 cyclists were hit by a vehicle making an unsafe left turn. (See story here: https://www.azfamily.com/traffic/several-bicyclist-struck-by-car-in-goodyear-police-say/article_508b506a-d567-11e9-b209-4b178c294596.html?fbclid=IwAR1Xnqtc7_ObmOoo51C1ZCljekb3muVgato1zMjVHnvUX-GMzTXXctzFcj4). The news reported that the driver indicated sun glare was an issue and that is why the cyclists were not seen.
In a thread relating to this article on our own Arizona Bike Accident Page, the bias between motorists and cyclists was in full force. The anger manifested by one such driver is below. I apologize for the constant swear words (and this one is even a mild one):
I believe the point this person is trying to make is cyclists need to be careful while riding. However, note the insane amount of wear words and angry tone. This person is very frustrated towards cyclists. In this particular case in Goodyear there is no fault whatsoever to the cyclists based on the facts we have. It was simply a left turn by a driver who couldn’t see, and turned anyways! These cyclists are lucky to not have been killed.
The problem is that this BIAS is real. It influences many of the drivers. The very same drivers we encounter as insurance adjusters, police officers, and members of our juries.
The Police: Bias & Pity for Drivers
This is by NO MEANS a bash on police. Our police officers put their lives on the line to protect and to serve their communities. It is an honorable profession deserving of recognition.
However, there is room for much improvement. A classic example is the same set of circumstances for the Glendale Arizona bicycle accident described above. And how the police failed to fully investigate and failed to issue any citations to the driver.
Arizona Bicycle Lawyer Case:
Bike Accident Attorneys client: J.P. was riding westbound on Baseline Arizona in the morning hours. The sun was rising in the east. The driver made a left turn without being able to see if the path of the vehicle was clear and safe. This resulted in her hitting and nearly killing J.P. Our client, J.P. suffered major injuries. J.P. was not from Arizona and was only here for a brief vacation. J.P. was unable to return home for several months while the necessary medical care was administered before J.P. was recovered enough to travel.
The driver who hit J.P. cited sun glare as a factor for not being able to see the cyclists. The police involved in the investigation agreed with the driver and felt like it would have been hard to see a cyclist given the sun glare. No mention was made that when turning the driver must make sure it is safe to do so before proceeding with the turn. No citation was issued to the driver. There easily two citations which could have easily been applied:
- A.R.S. 28-754(a). Unsafe left turn. A person shall not turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position on the roadway as required in section 28-751, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left on a roadway unless and until the movement can be made with reasonable safety.
- A.R.S. 28-772. Failure to yield right of way while making a left turn. The driver of a vehicle within an intersection intending to turn to the left shall yield the right-of-way to a vehicle that is approaching from the opposite direction and that is within the intersection or so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard.
- A.R.S. 28-701(A) and (D). Failure to Drive at a Reasonable and Prudent Speed through and Intersection. (A) A person shall not drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances, conditions and actual and potential hazards then existing. A person shall control the speed of a vehicle as necessary to avoid colliding with any object, person, vehicle or other conveyance on, entering or adjacent to the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to exercise reasonable care for the protection of others… (D) The maximum speed provided in this section is reduced to the speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and with regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing, including the following conditions: 1) Approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad crossing. 2) Approaching and going around a curve. 3) Approaching a hillcrest. 4) Traveling on a narrow or winding roadway. 5) A special hazard exists with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.
I have had a number of cases with this exact scenario. Yet, in a car on car accident the driver who made this same exact unsafe left hand turn with sun glare would get at least one or more of the citations above. Yet, in a cycling case the police officers seem to take pity on the driver agreeing in some sort of twisted and biased way that cyclists must be so hard to see that they are excused from the law when hitting one.
I can’t help but wonder what the police will do with this most recent “sun glare” infraction up in Glendale Arizona. 4 cyclists were hit. Not seeing one cyclist is bad enough, not not seeing 4 cyclists is crazy. Will the police even cite the driver? In my experience the safe bet is bet on no, the driver will likely walk away without any real infraction.
In our Arizona bicycle accident case with J.P. we were able to successfully win the case in spite of the lack of liability determination by the investigating officers. J.P. was fully compensated and able to return to cycling making a full recovery. We continue to write police departments with training and instructions on bicycle crash investigations. We are proactive in helping the Arizona cyclists locally. We are home based here in Arizona. This is our home. These are our roads. We are here for you.
Insurance Companies: Total Ignorance
I won’t spend much time here. The bias with insurance companies is all too real. It is OBVIOUS that they make money by not spending money on your injury claims. What is only obvious to a handful of us professionals in the country who exclusively represent cyclists is that insurance companies are supremely ignorant in all things cycling related.
They are so used to auto accidents and homeowner’s claims that they are literally clueless with most cycling cases. Think about it for a minute, the whole industry is geared towards auto accidents. Not long ago my wife was involved in a motor vehicle accident. Another driver rear ended her. We were instructed to take her vehicle to a local insurance agent to work up a damages estimate. When we arrived we noticed that the address we were given contained 3 business all in the same exact building. The insurance adjust maintained a desk there, along with an auto body repair shop, and a rental car business. We literally walked in and 30 minutes later we drove away in a rental car with a promise to return in a few days to pick up our damaged car all fixed up brand new again.
BUT no where did I see a bike shop, or rental bikes available. And with the lack of these types of professionals the lack of knowledge is blatantly obvious. The insurance adjusters have no clue how to properly value a bicycle. They have no idea what it is like to ride a bicycle on the roadways with vehicles. The insurance company really has zero understanding of the local bicycle laws as well. This bias is real and it affects how they undervalue many bicycle cases.
The ignorance of the insurance industry is evident in their processing of bicycle claims. It takes an experienced bicycle accident lawyer to help with these issues. Be careful out there when dealing with an insurance adjuster. They probably have no idea what a derailleur is, or how Dura Ace is better than Ultegra. And forget it if you have Di2 – they’ll think you’re cracking a Star Wars joke.
The Jury: Never a Cyclist
As you can imagine, you will never get a cyclist on your jury. It will be a jury full of drivers. And like many other jury members, they are already angry that they got selected to be on jury duty and that their excuse for getting off was denied by the judge.
This is an uphill battle for sure. Yet, it is an issue that an experienced litigator who is also a cyclist can overcome. Most people on a jury have ridden a bicycle. Or they have a child or spouse or friend etc. who they would not want to see get hit by a giant 2,000lb vehicle. Relating with them is a skill. It is something a normal attorney will probably fail at. A cyclist and a national litigator on the other hand has the best chance at bridging this gap. That is why I get hired so often, I know intimitely what it is like to be a cyclist on these roads. I also know how to reach people on a normal human level – not on some stuff suit legal approach which most jurors meet with disdain.
Don’t leave your fate in the hands of less experienced advocate. Contact us today and we will help you.
This Bias Can be Defeated – You Can Do Something
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t make any difference. This is not how this word has to be. Cyclists don’t have to be considered a plague. Drivers can actually gain more awareness. People can care more. First they must know more. People need to learn more about cyclists. We all need more protection as vulnerable users of these roadways.
Arizona needs better cycling laws. Arizona needs more advocates, more people willing to make a change. I know of several wonderful groups here locally that you can be a part of in Arizona. Each of these cycling organizations are non profits. Each of them are making real changes in our cycling community. Donate to them or sign up with them to get involved in their many many projects. Check them out:
On a national note you can support and be a part of many great organizations. USA Cycling even holds a list of the most notable organizations. Some may even be close to you, the list is here: USA Cycling – Advocacy Division. Some of them include:
- People For Bikes
- League of American Bicyclists
- Team Share the Road
- World Bicycle Relief
Regardless of your experience as a cyclist, we are here for you. My practice is exclusively for cyclists. I manage a national network of cycling attorneys as well. I ride. I race. I advocate. I choose to live and ride. #mylawyerdoesntsuck #arizonabicyclelawyer #bicyclelawyer
Ben Dodge, Esq., Endurance/Ultra Cyclist
Bicycle crash and bicycle accident lawyer Ben Dodge
A bicycle crash is not always an accident. If you, or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle crash or accident caused by a road hazard or dangerous road condition, hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and has a successful track record. Ben Dodge, a licensed Arizona bicycle accident lawyer, has dedicated his entire firm to one purpose: representing cyclists. Bicycle accident cases are the only cases Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC handles. Home based out of the great state of Arizona, Ben can still help cyclists in the entire United States. Ben also founded Bike Accident Attorneys Network, a national network of attorneys who focus on representing cyclists. He can find you help anywhere in the country.
Ben Dodge has represented and assisted bicycle accident victims across the entire United States. As an avid and competitive cyclist himself, Mr. Dodge currently participates in national and local cycling events all over the world. It isn’t uncommon to spot him in early morning hours out riding his bike. Having competed in 8 Ironman triathlons, numerous local and national cycling races, and a successful finish in the Race Across the West 2016, he really knows what it’s like to ride and race a bike. Ben competed in the first ever Race Across France – 2018. This was a non stop 1500+ mile race across the entire country of France. He and his teammate finished 3rd. He is registered for a 2 man Race Across America (RAAM) team as well in 2019.
The day he fell in love with his job was the day he devoted himself completely to bicycle accident cases. Ben represents cyclists injured in bicycle accidents, at the police station, with insurance companies, and in the courts. He advocates for the rights of all cyclists, not just his clients. He teaches police about bike laws and bike safety, he educates drivers about the rules of the road, and he trains cyclists and clubs to ride more safely.
A consultation with experienced Arizona bicycle accident attorney Ben Dodge is free
In recent years there has been approximately 700 bicycle fatalities in the United States every single year. Approximately 2,000 bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Approximately 30 fatal bicycle accidents are reported in Arizona every year. Bicycle fatalities are terrible and horrific tragedies that affect the lives of too many families and friends to count. Understanding your rights and obligations as a cyclist can bring clarity to your specific accident situation. It will always be in your best interest to be represented by an attorney who knows the bicycle laws and has a successful track record of winning bicycle accident cases. The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your bicycle accident case. Ben is certified through the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) as having completed extensive litigation courses and has demonstrated these skills over and over again. Most lawyers are pencil pushers and shouldn’t be in a court room… not Ben Dodge. He is a gifted and aggressive litigator. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in bicycle accident law, local and state bicycle ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and laws. You should hire someone very familiar with negligence and tort law, civil procedure, and the rules of evidence as they all relate specifically to bicycle accident cases.
Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all local cyclists and a complimentary phone consultation to any cyclist injured in a bike accident. Typically the consultations are schedule from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the accident. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal bike accident liability and potential for recovery. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:
- Your specific bike accident details, diagrams, and pictures from your perspective and then from the perspective of your bike accident attorney.
- The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
- Your rights as a cyclist, obligations, and any potential liability.
- The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.
- The value of your case and what you might expect as compensation.
You can call Arizona bicycle lawyer Ben Dodge of Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC at 1.855.663.3922. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Ben will personally return your call within 24 hours. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in representing cyclists and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness and patience.
Bike Accident Attorneys, PLC
Call Ben Dodge, the Bicycle Lawyer today at 1.855.663.3922. Reach him by fax at 1.800.958.8902.
Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at email@example.com
His main Arizona offices are located at:
Mesa Arizona (home base office)
4824 E. Baseline Rd., Suite 124
Mesa, Arizona 85206
Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Mr. Dodge represents cyclists in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is currently involved with bicycle accident cases all over the country and has founded BikeAccidentAttorneys.com a National Network of independent and incredible bicycle lawyers that can assist in representation in all 50 states.