In warmer seasons and in urban areas, there is typically an influx of pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Combined with auto vehicles, the increase in the number of people on roadways can heighten the chance of an accident. The personal injury lawyers at Peter Higgins Law want to ensure that you are aware of who is responsible for keeping roads safe for cyclists and pedestrians.
Roads are a Joint Responsibility
If you are walking or riding a bike on a roadway, it is your responsibility as the pedestrian or cyclist to abide by posted signage, laws, and traffic signals when out. The same holds true for motor vehicle drivers as they need to be aware of areas that may have greater foot and bike traffic, practicing caution when driving through them.
Although responsibility falls on the individual, whether driving, riding or walking, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has taken measures to increase pedestrian safety. According to the AAA Exchange, the FHWA has made infrastructure improvements and implemented safety measures such as including more medians and redesigning roads allowing for better pedestrian and bicycle traffic flow.
Pedestrian Road Safety
Pedestrians always have the right away in traffic. However, even with automobiles and bicyclists having to adhere to this law, it is important that both parties are aware of their surroundings. Always practicing caution when traveling on a roadway is the key to keeping yourself and others safe. Some common tips for pedestrians include:
- Be Distraction Free: If you are multi-tasking during your trip, you should think again. Talking on the phone, texting, eating, and listening to music are all common distractions that can be eliminated from your walking routine in order to avoid a life-threatening or fatal accident.
- Don't Drink and Walk: According to the AAA Exchange, almost half of all traffic related collisions with a pedestrian had alcohol involved. Alarmingly, 35% of those accidents were because the pedestrian was under the influence. Consuming alcohol while walking can have just as serious of detrimental effects as drinking and driving can.
- Take Time To Be Aware: It is crucial that you take a minute or two to become aware of your surroundings. Knowing if you are going to be entering a high volume motor vehicle traffic area or crossing paths with bicyclists is important. Always adhere to the traffic rules and proceed with caution while walking.
Cyclist Road Safety
Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. If you are mounted and riding a bike, you are considered a vehicle on the road and must adhere to motor vehicle laws. However, if you dismount and walk alongside your bicycle, you are then considered a pedestrian and your responsibilities on the road align with those of someone walking. It is important that you discern between the two if you are an avid cyclist. Some common tips for bicyclists include:
- Yield to pedestrians
- Stop at stop signs
- Signal turns
- Travel with the flow of traffic
- Keep your distance behind vehicles
With cyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicle operators practicing common safety precautions, sharing the roadways is safe and enjoyable. No matter what mode of transportation or free time activities you enjoy, make sure to be aware of your surroundings and respectful to others on the road. If you or someone you know has been a part of an accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist, the personal injury lawyers at Peter Higgins Law are committed to providing accident and injury victims with the advocacy and support they need to get results. Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.