WE ARE ATTORNEYS AND WE ARE RIDERS
WE REPRESENT OREGON CYCLISTS
HAD A BICYCLE CRASH IN OREGON?
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.
(Oregon State Flag)
OREGON BICYCLE ACCIDENT STATISTICS
Percentage of Total Traffic Fatalities
Pedalcyclist Fatalities per Million Population
OREGON BICYCLE STATUTES
OREGON REVISED STATUTES (ORS) PERTAINING TO BICYCLES
814.400: Application of vehicle laws to bicycles
814.405: Status of electric assisted bicycle
814.410: Unsafe operation of bicycle on sidewalk; penalty
814.420: Failure to use bicycle lane or path; exceptions; penalty
814.430: Improper use of lanes; exceptions; penalty
814.440: Failure to signal turn; exceptions; penalty
814.450: Unlawful load on bicycle; penalty
814.460: Unlawful passengers on bicycle; penalty
814.470: Failure to use bicycle seat; penalty
814.480: Nonmotorized vehicle clinging to another vehicle; penalty
814.484: Meaning of “bicycle” and “operating or riding on a highway”
814.485: Failure to wear protective headgear; penalty
814.486: Endangering bicycle operator or passenger; penalty
814.487: Exemptions from protective headgear requirements
814.488: Citations; exemption from requirement to pay fine
814.489: Use of evidence of lack of protective headgear on bicyclist
(1) Every person riding a bicycle upon a public way is subject to the provisions applicable to and has the same rights and duties as the driver of any other vehicle concerning operating on highways, vehicle equipment and abandoned vehicles, except:
- (a) Those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.
- (b) When otherwise specifically provided under the vehicle code.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section:
(a) A bicycle is a vehicle for purposes of the vehicle code; and
(b) When the term “vehicle” is used the term shall be deemed to be applicable to bicycles.
(3) The provisions of the vehicle code relating to the operation of bicycles do not relieve a bicyclist or motorist from the duty to exercise due care. [1983 c.338 §697; 1985 c.16 §335]
An electric assisted bicycle shall be considered a bicycle, rather than a motor vehicle, for purposes of the Oregon Vehicle Code, except when otherwise specifically provided by statute. [1997 c.400 §4]
(1) A person commits the offense of unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk if the person does any of the following
- (a) Operates the bicycle so as to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and move into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
- (b) Operates a bicycle upon a sidewalk and does not give an audible warning before overtaking and passing a pedestrian and does not yield the right of way to all pedestrians on the sidewalk.
- (c) Operates a bicycle on a sidewalk in a careless manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.
- (d) Operates the bicycle at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp. This paragraph does not require reduced speeds for bicycles at places on sidewalks or other pedestrian ways other than places where the path for pedestrians or bicycle traffic approaches or crosses that for motor vehicle traffic.
- (e) Operates an electric assisted bicycle on a sidewalk.
(2) Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, a bicyclist on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk has the same rights and duties as a pedestrian on a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.
(3) The offense described in this section, unsafe operation of a bicycle on a sidewalk, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §699; 1985 c.16 §337; 1997 c.400 §7; 2005 c.316 §2]
(1) Except asprovided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle lane or path if the person operates a bicycle on any portion of a roadway that is not a bicycle lane or bicycle path when a bicycle lane or bicycle path is adjacent to or near the roadway.
(2) A person is not required to comply with this section unless the state or local authority with jurisdiction over the roadway finds, after public hearing, that the bicycle lane or bicycle path is suitable for safe bicycle use at reasonable rates of speed.
(3) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is able to safely move out of the bicycle lane or path for the purpose of:
- (a) Overtaking and passing another bicycle, a vehicle or a pedestrian that is in the bicycle lane or path and passage cannot safely be made in the lane or path.
- (b) Preparing to execute a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
- (c) Avoiding debris or other hazardous conditions.
- (d) Preparing to execute a right turn where a right turn is authorized.
- (e) Continuing straight at an intersection where the bicycle lane or path is to the right of a lane from which a motor vehicle must turn right.
(4) The offense described in this section, failure to use a bicycle lane or path, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §700; 1985 c.16 §338; 2005 c.316 §3]
(1) A person commits the offense of improper use of lanes by a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic using the roadway at that time and place under the existing conditions and the person does not
ride as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway.
(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances:
- (a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle that is proceeding in the same direction.
- (b) When preparing to execute a left turn.
- (c) When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or other conditions that make continued operation along the right curb or edge unsafe or to avoid unsafe operation in a lane on the roadway that is too narrow for a bicycle and vehicle to travel safely side by side. Nothing in this paragraph excuses the operator of a bicycle from the requirements under ORS 811.425 or from the penalties for failure to comply with those requirements.
- (d) When operating within a city as near as practicable to the left curb or edge of a roadway that is designated to allow traffic to move in only one direction along the roadway. A bicycle that is operated under this paragraph is subject to the same requirements and exceptions when operating along the left curb or edge as are applicable when a bicycle is operating along the right curb or edge of the roadway.
- (e) When operating a bicycle alongside not more than one other bicycle as long as the bicycles are both being operated within a single lane and in a manner that does not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
- (f) When operating on a bicycle lane or bicycle path.
(3) The offense described in this section, improper use of lanes by a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §701; 1985 c.16 §339]
(1) A person commits the offense of failure to signal for a bicycle turn if the person does any of the following:
- (a) Stops a bicycle the person is operating without giving the appropriate hand and arm signal continuously for at least 100 feet before executing the stop.
- (b) Executes a turn on a bicycle the person is operating without giving the appropriate hand and arm signal for the turn for at least 100 feet before executing the turn.
- (c) Executes a turn on a bicycle the person is operating after having been stopped without giving, while stopped, the appropriate hand and arm signal for the turn.
(2) A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is operating a bicycle and does not give the appropriate signal continuously for a stop or turn because circumstances require that both hands be used to safely control or operate the bicycle.
(3) The appropriate hand and arm signals for indicating turns and stops under this section are those provided for other vehicles under ORS 811.395 and 811.400.
(4) The offense described under this section, failure to signal for a bicycle turn, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §703; 1985 c.16 §341]
(1) A person commits the offense of having an unlawful load on a bicycle if the person is operating a bicycle and the person carries a package, bundle or article which prevents the person from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebar and having full control at all times.
(2) The offense described in this section, unlawful load on a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §704]
(1) A person commits the offense of unlawful passengers on a bicycle if the person operates a bicycle and carries more persons on the bicycle than the number for which it is designed or safely equipped.
(2) The offense described in this section, unlawful passengers on a bicycle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §705]
(1) A person commits the offense of failure to use a bicycle seat if the person is operating a bicycle and the person rides other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
(2) A person operating an electric personal assistive mobility device is not subject to this section.
(3) The offense described in this section, failure to use bicycle seat, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §706; 2003 c.341 §13]
(1) A person commits the offense of nonmotorized vehicle clinging to another vehicle if the person is riding upon or operating a bicycle, coaster, roller skates, sled or toy vehicle and the person clings to another vehicle upon a roadway or attaches that which the person is riding or operating to any other vehicle upon a roadway.
(2) The offense described in this section, nonmotorized vehicle clinging to another vehicle, is a Class D traffic violation. [1983 c.338 §707]
(1) For purposes of ORS 814.485, 814.486, 815.052 and 815.281, “bicycle” has the meaning given in ORS 801.150 except that:
- (a) It also includes vehicles that meet the criteria specified in ORS 801.150 (1) to (4) but that have wheels less than 14 inches in diameter.
- (b) It does not include tricycles designed to be ridden by children.
(2) For purposes of the offenses defined in ORS 814.485, 814.486 and 815.281 (2), a person shall not be considered to be operating or riding on a bicycle on a highway or on premises open to the public if the person is operating or riding on a three-wheeled nonmotorized vehicle on a beach while it is closed to motor vehicle traffic. [1993 c.408 §§3a,3b]
(1) A person commits the offense of failure of a bicycle operator or rider to wear protective headgear if the person is under 16 years of age, operates or rides on a bicycle on a highway or on premises open to the public and is not wearing protective headgear of a type approved under ORS 815.052.
(2) Exemptions from this section are as provided in ORS 814.487.
(3) The offense described in this section, failure of a bicycle operator or rider to wear protective headgear, is a traffic violation punishable by a maximum fine of $25. [1993 c.408 §2; 1995 c.581 §1]
(1) A person commits the offense of endangering a bicycle operator or passenger if:
- (a) The person is operating a bicycle on a highway or on premises open to the public and the person carries another person on the bicycle who is under 16 years of age and is not wearing protective headgear of a type approved under ORS 815.052; or
- (b) The person is the parent, legal guardian or person with legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of a child under 16 years of age and the child operates or rides on a bicycle on a highway or on premises open to the public without wearing protective headgear of a type approved under ORS 815.052.
(2) Exemptions from this section are as provided in ORS 814.487.
(3) The offense described in this section, endangering a bicycle operator or passenger, is a traffic violation punishable by a maximum fine of $25. [1993 c.408 §3; 1995 c.581 §2]
A person is exempt from the requirements under ORS 814.485 and 814.486 to wear protective headgear, if wearing the headgear would violate a religious belief or practice of the person. [1995 c.581 §4]
(1) If a child in violation of ORS 814.485 is 11 years of age or younger, any citation issued shall be issued to the parent, legal guardian or person with legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of the child for violation of ORS 814.486, rather than to the child for violation of ORS 814.485.
(2) If a child in violation of ORS 814.485 is at least 12 years of age and is under 16 years of age, a citation may be issued to the child for violation of ORS 814.485 or to the parent, legal guardian or person with legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of the child for violation of ORS 814.486, but not to both.
(3) The first time a person is convicted of an offense described in ORS 814.485 or 814.486, the person shall not be required to pay a fine if the person proves to the satisfaction of the court that the person has protective headgear of a type approved under ORS 815.052. [1993 c.408 §§3c,7]
Evidence of violation of ORS 814.485 or 814.486 and evidence of lack of protective headgear shall not be admissible, applicable or effective to reduce the amount of damages or to constitute a defense to an action for damages brought by or on behalf of an injured bicyclist or bicycle passenger or the survivors of a deceased bicyclist or passenger if the bicyclist or passenger was injured or killed as a result in whole or in part of thea fault of another. [1993 c.408 §8]
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