Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Discusses Safety During Upcoming Bike Across Kansas Event

Each year, 800 or so bicyclists traverse the wide expanse of the Sunflower State in the annual Bike Across Kansas event. This year’s route begins at the Colorado border and ends eight days later in Leavenworth, Kansas. For those eight days in June, however, drivers along the route will need to share the road with hundreds of bicyclists. During this time, the risk of a bicycle wreck along the route will be significantly elevated.

Riding Safe During Bike Across Kansas

For bicyclists participating in the event, there are some preventative steps that can be taken now to reduce the likelihood of trouble along the way:

  • Purchase and obtain the proper equipment: A safe ride begins with purchasing the equipment you need to stay safe and ensure your bicycle is in good operating condition. At the very least, you should consider purchasing a properly-fitted and appropriate helmet, protective eyewear, gloves or other hand protection, highly-visible clothing, and supplies (such as sunscreen, lip balm, and first aid basics along with basic bike repair tools). You should also carry a cellular phone with an extra power source in the vent you need to summon emergency medical personnel.
  • Try not to become separated from other bicyclists: The old adage, “There is strength in numbers” is especially true during Bike Across Kansas. By staying around others in the convoy, you will be able to receive assistance quickly in the event your equipment breaks or you are struck by a motorist. You should also make certain that a loved one or trusted friend has a map of your route and is available to receive regular updates from you along your route.
  • Ride defensively: As a bicyclist, you are subject to the same rules of the road as other motorists. In addition, you should ride your bicycle with the assumption that other motorists who are sharing the road with you will not be able to see you well or brake in time to avoid an accident. This means you should allow for plenty of room between you and other vehicles, not travel in a vehicle’s blind spot, and ensure that your path is clear before turning or stopping.

If you do become injured along the route, be certain that you summon emergency medical assistance quickly to your location. If at all possible, move yourself and your bike to the side and off of the road. Use flares, signals, or other means of attracting the attention of other riders or motorists.

There may be an increased incentive for a motorist who strikes a bicyclist to leave the scene of the crash as opposed to render aid to you and help you in seeking assistance. If this occurs, attempt to remember and record as much information as you can about your accident and the vehicle and person who caused your crash. Give this information to any law enforcement officer who arrives to help you, and give this information to your personal injury attorney as well. The more information you can recall about the vehicle that caused your crash and/or its driver, the more likely it is that you will be able to locate this individual and hold him or her responsible for your injuries.

If you or a loved one are injured by another on Kansas’ roads and highways, contact seasoned Kansas Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless, Attorney at Law at (800) 734-3771 for assistance in exercising your legal rights. Attorney Michael R. Lawless will help you pursue compensation for your injuries and losses against the person or persons responsible for your losses.

Kansas Car Wreck Lawyer Analyzes Situation Where Law Enforcement Officers Cause Wrecks

In Kansas (as is true throughout the remainder of the nation), law enforcement officers must undergo rigorous training before they are permitted to take to the streets by themselves. The process usually begins with the completion of an academy that may last several months. From there, the new recruit must usually complete a period of “field training” where the new officer is directly supervised by a more experienced officer while the new officer attempts to apply the knowledge he or she gained at the academy to the “real world.” All told, it may be six months or more before a new recruit has graduated from the training phase of his or her employment and is released to the field without direct supervision.

However, even the most skilled and well-trained law enforcement officer is still only human and mistakes can be made. When a law enforcement officer’s err in judgment causes you or your loved one injury, recovering compensation may be significantly more difficult than when a civilian driver is the cause of your injuries.

Protections for Law Enforcement Officers

Unlike civilian drivers, police officers, highway patrol troopers, and sheriff’s deputies have certain protections that apply when they are responding to emergency calls or pursuing criminals. K.S.A. 8-1506 exempts law enforcement officers from following most rules of the road (including speeding laws) so long as they do not endanger others and proceed with due regard for the safety of others on the road. In other words, if a law enforcement officer is speeding or violating a traffic law but is doing so in a careful and prudent manner, taking into account the safety of others, that law enforcement officer will be immune from criminal prosecution (and, in most cases, immune from civil liability as well) if he or she causes an injury crash. This immunity represents the first hurdle that must be cleared in a crash caused by a law enforcement officer.

Suing Government Agencies and Political Subdivisions

The next hurdle that injury victims hurt by a law enforcement officer must clear is Kansas’s Tort Claims Act. This Act specifies how personal injury claims must be brought against government entities and their employees (such as law enforcement officers). The Act is very specific in terms of what the injury plaintiff must do and the timeframe in which these tasks must be completed. A personal injury plaintiff who fails to follow the procedures for bringing a claim as set out in the Act will typically be foreclosed from obtaining any compensation whatsoever from the government agency and/or its employee.

What Should I Do If I am Injured by a Law Enforcement Officer’s Driving?

 Because of the unique challenges that face injury victims who are injured in a wreck caused by a law enforcement officer, it is advisable that you seek experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel. The first step in your recovery process requires you to file a written claim with the government agency that employed the officer involved in your wreck within the statutorily-designated time.

Michael R. Lawless is an experienced Kansas car wreck injury attorney with years of experience assisting victims of all types of car wrecks. Where the at-fault driver in your wreck is a law enforcement officer or other government employee, Michael R. Lawless can assist you in quickly taking the steps you need to take in order to assert your legal rights. Call Kansas Car Wreck Lawyer Michael R. Lawless as soon as possible at (800) 734-3771 and allow him to help you on your road to recovery.