A San Antonio automobile driver was indicted for failure to stop and render aid in a May 5, 2009 accident wherein it was alleged that the automobile driver struck a bicyclist on S. St. Mary’s Street. The driver of the car did not stop and the bicyclist died of his injuries.
There have been a multitude of automobile – bicycle accidents causing injury in the past year. In Texas when a driver of an automobile is in accident that causes injury or death, the driver of the automobile is required to stop as close to the scene of the accident as possible and must immediately return to the scene and remain at the scene of the accident until authorities arrive. Failure to stop and render aid is a third degree felony and punishable by up to 5 years in prison. In a strange twist, Texas law is somewhat contradictory when an intoxicated driver causes injury – whether to another automobile driver or a bicyclist or pedestrian. If an intoxicated driver is arrested and charged with Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter (in the case of death) the person causing the wreck and injuries may face 2-10 years or 2-20 years in prison. However, if an intoxicated person causes injury, and is able to leave the scene before authorities can obtain evidence of intoxication, even if later connected to the accident the person may only face charges for leaving the scene and failing to render aid. A thorough investigation after an accident should involve a determination of whether the person causing the injuries may have been consuming alcohol at a restaurant or bar before the collision.
Even if a bicyclist is properly obeying traffic laws, and is lawfully on the roadway, the negligence of an inattentive driver can cause serious (if not fatal) injuries. In addition to obeying traffic laws while riding a bicycle, riders should wear bright, reflective clothing and always wear safety equipment such as helmets, wrist and elbow protection. In the event of any type of automobile/bicycle collision, police should be called and information exchanged.