I Got Hit by a Bicycle While Walking | Cyclist Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
In America, getting around town safely by walking can be tough — pedestrians expose themselves to serious dangers. This danger is enhanced by the lack of proper bike lanes in many areas. As a result, cyclists and pedestrians are often put in dangerous contact with one another — without a bike lane, cyclists may be forced to swerve onto sidewalks to avoid traffic, or may simply find it easier and safer to ride on sidewalks.
That being said, many cyclists don’t realize that by riding on sidewalks, they risk a collision with a pedestrian (that can cause serious injuries!). As such, if you’ve been hit by a cyclist while walking, you may be entitled to significant damages under the law. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 today to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer near you.
Can a Pedestrian Sue a Cyclist?
Both pedestrians and cyclists must obey the rules of the road, which includes obeying traffic lights and other signs, and crossing at the proper crosswalks. Unfortunately, cyclists “zipping around” a city or town do not always adhere to traffic laws and can cause serious accidents. Bicyclists owe a duty of care to those around them, including pedestrians walking around. If they breach this care in any way, such as riding on the sidewalk when it is prohibited, they are liable for any injuries they cause as a result.
Common reasons for pedestrian-cyclist collisions include:
- Riding while intoxicated
- Ignoring traffic lights and signs
- Riding while distracted or drowsy
- Riding on the sidewalk
- Aggressive riding
- Intentional assault
Do Cyclists Have the Right of Way on Pedestrian Crossings?
Cyclist vs. Pedestrian Right of Way
Bicyclists must adhere to the same traffic laws and road rules as motor vehicle drivers, and so they must respect the right-of-way of pedestrians when appropriate.
Pedestrians have the right of way on pedestrian crossings, and cyclists must yield to them. Any bike rider who fails to yield and injures a pedestrian could potentially be sued for damages. Bicyclists must also yield to oncoming traffic when they enter motor vehicle lanes, though car and truck drivers must use caution when cyclists are riding in dedicated bike lanes. In such instances, vehicle drivers need to be extra careful when making right turns.
Some of the most common injuries pedestrians sustain from accidents with bicyclists include, but are not limited to:
- Road rash
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord trauma
- Head trauma
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Neck, shoulder, and back injuries
Do Cyclists Have the Right of Way at Pedestrian Crossings?
Bicycle riders are allowed to use pedestrian crossworks, though they must yield to those on foot. It is generally a good idea for bicyclists to ride slowly or to dismount their “two-wheelers” and walk them across the crosswalk. By taking care in these ways, the rider is reducing the chance of a pedestrian-cyclist accident.
Cyclist-Pedestrian Accident Statistics
Since 2009, pedestrian fatalities have increased by 59%. Drunk driving partially accounts for such fatalities, as bicyclists are considered cycling under the influence if they have alcohol in their systems.
How much alcohol is considered unlawful varies by state, but as a general rule, any alcohol is going to help a pedestrian’s case — remember, litigation is strategic. If you can undermine the character and trustworthiness of the defendant, you improve your chance of success. A cyclist who rode after having something to drink is a cyclist who’s going to find it very difficult to defend themselves against your claims.
What Damages Can a Pedestrian Claim?
If a pedestrian sustains serious injuries because of a bicyclist, they may be entitled to request economic and non-economic damages. In order to claim these damages, the pedestrian must show that the bicyclist was being negligent, reckless, or intentional, and that their behavior resulted in harm.
Common economic damages in a pedestrian claim include:
- Compensation for lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Physical therapy, and
- Trauma counseling
Non-economic damages in pedestrian accident claims include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish, and
- Emotional trauma
Working with a pedestrian accident lawyer is critical. Your attorney will investigate the case and obtain all necessary documents, such as the police and medical reports. They will also take witness statements and gather employment logs showing that you missed time from work due to the injuries.
Cyclists Are a Danger to Pedestrians
There are cases when the pedestrian sustains fatal injuries from the cyclist, such as a bike rider who knocks the pedestrian over, causing them to hit their head. The resulting traumatic brain injury caused the pedestrian’s death and their surviving family members can file a wrongful death suit.
Common economic damages in wrongful death claims include:
- Emergency medical care
- Funeral or memorial service costs
- Burial or cremation costs
- And loss of income
Non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Mental anguish
- Loss of life enjoyment
- And emotional distress
Are There Times When the Pedestrian is Partially Liable?
Sometimes, the bicyclist is not completely at fault for the pedestrian’s injuries. Pedestrians that don’t adhere to the rules of the road (or who are intoxicated at the time) can be found partially or completely at fault for a bike accident. That being said, in most states, being partially at-fault doesn’t stop you from suing and recovering damages. It simply reduces your total damages. Even if you were partially at fault, it is important not to shy away from a personal injury suit.
Cyclists Can Be a Serious Danger to Pedestrians
Distracted, aggressive, and intoxicated bicyclists pose a serious danger to pedestrians walking around on sidewalks, crosswalks, and roadways, generally.
That being said, there are many ways pedestrians can help themselves stay safe, such as:
- Wearing bright or reflective clothing while walking at night
- Refraining from wearing earbuds, and
- Keeping to the sidewalk whenever possible
Other pedestrian safety measures include taking taxis or rideshares (if the roads are unsafe, or if they’ve been drinking). It is also important to cross at designated intersections and crosswalks instead of jaywalking.
Seek Legal Representation After a Bicycle Accident
If you were injured by a bicyclist for reasons beyond your control, take legal action today. Call 1-800-THE-LAW2 to discuss your case with a compassionate bicycle accident attorney in your area. Consultation is free, so don’t delay!