John Cullins, 24, hit and seriously injured a 26-year-old bicycle rider. He faces 3rd degree felony charges that could put him in prison up to 10 years.

Dallas, TX Thursday, September 10, 2015 South Munger Boulevard

An unnamed 26-year-old woman was riding her bicycle on the Santa Fe Trail in Old East Dallas Thursday at approximately 7:30 p.m. While on the Santa Fe Trail, she crossed South Munger Boulevard.

As she crossed, 24-year-old John Cullins, of Royse City, suspected of being high at the time, struck and seriously injured the woman with his Toyota Camry. According to eyewitness Philip Haigh, Cullins didn’t attempt to stop until after he hit the cyclist.

Although the cyclist suffered serious injuries, she was in stable condition while at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

The news isn’t so good for Cullins. While he experienced no injuries, he was charged with intoxication assault with a vehicle causing severe bodily injury. It’s a third-degree felony. He faces 2-10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000, assuming this is his first time for such an offense. His passenger, an unnamed 25-year-old man, was arrested and charged with public intoxication.

How Bicyclists Can Stay Safe on the Roads

This case is pretty cut-and-dry. Responsibility clearly falls on the driver, who was grossly negligent in his actions. He may get a reduced sentence and some probation time – but we won’t know the outcome of the criminal charges. However, he will face a significant personal injury suit, one that’s going to result in a sizeable reward for the accident victim.

The tension between motorists and bicyclists remains, though. Motorists get angry with bicyclists for hogging the road, and bicyclists get angry with motorists for hogging the road.

  1. Drivers Should Treat Cyclists Like a Slow Moving Motor Vehicle

From the law’s perspective, cyclists are considered to be drivers of vehicles and legally have the same rights as motorists.

You shouldn’t tailgate cyclists. Drive defensively around them. Give them the right of way.

Have patience, and allow them to go through intersections just like cars. Cyclists do have the right to ride in your lane of traffic, assuming they don’t have enough room to use on the side of the lane.

Watch especially carefully to your right when you’re turning or preparing to turn that direction. It’s easy to lose sight of cyclists when you do that.

  1. Cyclists, Don’t Think You’re Entitled to Special Protection Because You’re More Vulnerable

On the evening news in many major cities, you hear stories about bicyclists who were hit and seriously injured as they crossed through an intersection but the motorist didn’t receive a citation for hitting them.

What happened? Often the cyclist chose to flagrantly disregard laws that apply to motor vehicles. For example, they go through a red light. And some, around 25% according to statistics, don’t wear helmets.

It’s important to remember everyone has responsibilities. Cyclists must be responsible too.

If you’re worried about negligent motorists, ride in a low-traffic area or on bike paths. And look twice before you cross, even if you’re crossing legally. It’s just plain good defensive riding, just like motorists should do too.

Remember, no matter how right you might be, you’ll always lose (physically) if you get in an accident with a car.