Brownsville recently debuted a pedicab service as a transportation option for tourists and residents in its historic downtown.
A pedicab is a pedaled tricycle taxi with a driver on a bicycle seat holding handlebars up front and a bench seat for passengers behind. Pedicabs are promoted as an environmentally friendly alternative to motor vehicles. They can be found in numerous large cities and as tourist attraction novelties nationwide. Unfortunately, passengers in pedicabs are vulnerable to serious injuries if struck by a car or truck.
Pedicabs move more slowly than motorized vehicles. Over the last several years, pedicabs have been involved in traffic accidents that have caused injury and even death in Austin, Texas and numerous other cities throughout the United States.
Brownsville Pedicabs will operate initially in the downtown area of Brownsville on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from early evening to 2 a.m., according to the Brownsville Herald. If you were injured while driving a pedicab or riding in a Brownsville pedicab, you may have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.
The Risks of Pedicabs & Factors Causing Accidents
Like bicycles and motorcycles, pedicabs lack an enclosed passenger compartment to protect drivers and passengers. Pedicabs are vulnerable road users. If a pedicab gets into a collision or even a single-vehicle accident, a pedicab driver or pedicab passengers may bear the full force of impact and even may be thrown from the pedicab.
Pedicabs transport tourists and provide tours of points of interest and historic sites in Brownsville. A Brownsville pedicab operator giving a tour presentation may be a distracted driver. Distracted driving involves engaging in any activity that diverts attention from driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Other potential causes of pedicab accidents include:
- Negligent and reckless motorists. A motorist who is inattentive may fail to see or slow down for a slower-moving pedicab, especially at night, resulting in a collision. Motorists are required to exercise due care and caution to avoid colliding with vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists and pedicabs. Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit and change lanes aggressively may react poorly to encountering slow pedicabs in traffic.
- Pedicab operator negligence. The driver of a pedicab may be at fault if the pedicab driver disregards traffic regulations or fails to yield when appropriate.
- Impaired pedicab operators. For many pedicab drivers, pedaling a pedicab may be a second job, raising the potential for fatigued or drowsy driving. Unfortunately, intoxication (drinking or drugging and driving) is always a potential issue on the road.
- Pedicab failure, such as loss of brakes or passenger seating becoming detached from the bicycle. In Austin, a man suffered a head injury when he stepped into a trailer-style pedicab and the trailer detached from the bike and tipped backward.
Pedicab operators and passengers are likely to suffer initial impact injuries in a crash and possibly secondary injuries if thrown from the vehicle. Pedicab accident injuries that could result in hospitalization, loss of work and income, and potentially lasting disability include:
- Head injury (traumatic brain injury or TBI)
- Fractures (broken bones)
- Back and spinal cord injury, potentially including paralysis
- Internal organ injury
- Amputation (crushed and surgically removed or severed limbs, fingers, toes)
- Serious lacerations and bleeding.
Who Is Liable for My Injuries in a Texas Pedicab Accident?
A Brownsville resident or tourist injured in a pedicab accident, or a pedicab operator, may have the legal right to seek compensation for his or her medical bills, pain and suffering and monetary losses if someone else caused the accident.
Either a pedicab operator or a car or truck driver may be at fault for a pedicab accident. If the pedicab driver was violating Brownsville traffic safety regulations when the accident occurred, the driver and pedicab company may be at fault. The pedicab itself could have a mechanical defect and fail, leading to an accident. In that case, the manufacturer might be held liable for product failure or the pedicab company may be at fault if failure was due to a maintenance issue.
The company that put pedicabs on Brownsville streets could bear legal responsibility for harm done by a pedicab and/or an operator employed by the company. Depending on any contract linking pedicabs or their operators to the Brownsville Historical Association, the Association, a private foundation, might be liable for pedicab accidents and injuries, as well.
Contact a Brownsville Pedicab Accident Lawyer
The personal injury attorneys at Herrman & Herrman help clients injured in all types of traffic accidents including pedicab accidents obtain compensation for their losses. Personal injury claims seek proper payment for losses suffered because of another party’s negligence, which is paid through insurance. Our work as attorneys representing injured people is to ensure that insurance companies pay what our clients are due.
For nearly two decades, Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., has served personal injury victims in South Texas, including Brownsville. In that time, we have also sought to give back to the communities we live and work in.
Our compassionate attorneys investigate clients’ accidents, injuries and losses, and negotiate aggressively with obligated insurers for fair settlements that cover all losses and expenses. We have successfully handled more than 20,000 cases in Texas, and we have more than 100 years of collective legal experience.