As more travelers take to the roads this summer, there is an increased risk of serious car accidents. Motorists are urged to use extra caution when sharing the road with other drivers – avoid unsafe driving behavior such as distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding – and follow the rules of the road at all times. It is also important that drivers understand that more motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are out and about, thanks to the warmer weather and the longer days. That means that drivers have a responsibility to pay close attention to all travelers and take proactive steps to prevent a traffic accident, particularly those that involve motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are extremely vulnerable to catastrophic injuries because there is nothing protecting them from the force of the impact. Motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians also have a responsibility to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid a serious accident.
What can Motorists Do to Keep Bicyclists Safe?
Riding a bike is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. For some people, it is the preferred mode of transportation, particularly those who are concerned with reducing their carbon footprint. However, when bicyclists are sharing the road with cars, SUVs, buses, and other vehicles, they are at risk of being seriously injured if the drivers are not paying attention. The following are examples of safety precautions motorists should take when sharing the road with a bicyclist:
- Drivers should always yield to bicyclists the same way they would to other motorists. This will help prevent a driver from turning in front of an oncoming bicyclist on the road, sidewalk, or at a busy intersection.
- Motorists should use extra caution and make sure there are no bicyclists approaching when pulling out of a parking spot, backing out of a driveway or alley, proceeding through a stop sign, or any other scenario in which a bicyclist could be hit by a car.
- If a driver is making a legal right turn on red, he or she should look to the right and behind to make sure a bicyclist is not approaching from the right rear. The driver should stop, look left, look right, then look left again before turning.
- Drivers must always obey the rules of the road, including the posted speed limit. Drivers should reduce speed if road conditions or weather warrants it, and practice defensive driving to avoid hitting a cyclist.
- It is important to give cyclists plenty of room. Drivers should not tailgate or pass too closely. Even a minor accident with a bicycle can cause the cyclist to suffer serious injuries.
What Should Bicyclists Do to Avoid a Car Accident?
Bicyclists also have a responsibility to obey the rules of the road and take the necessary safety precautions to avoid an accident. The following are a range of safety tips that bicyclists should keep in mind at all times:
- Inspect the bike. Just like a car driver, a bicyclist should make sure that the bike is in good working order; that the tires are inflated; the seat is adjusted to the proper height; and there are reflectors on the rear and front tires, as well as the pedals and spokes. It is also recommended that the bike is equipped with a horn or a bell, as well as a rear-view mirror and bright headlight.
- Make sure the bike and the bicyclist can be seen. Bicyclists should wear bright, neon, or fluorescent clothing. It is highly recommended that bicyclists ride only during the day. However, if riding at night, they should wear reflective clothing and use a flashlight.
- Follow the rules of the road. Bicyclists need to understand the traffic laws and follow the same rules as motorists. For example, bicyclists must ride single-file in the direction of traffic, use the appropriate hand signals when turning, check both ways before entering traffic, and remain aware and alert at all times.
- Wear a helmet. Bicyclists must wear a helmet at all times. It is the only thing that can protect the cyclist from a serious head injury in the event of a car accident. The helmet should be certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and should fit properly.
What Safety Tips Protect Motorcyclists?
In 2019, over 5,000 motorcyclists were fatally injured in car accidents in the United States. Many of these accidents could have been prevented if motorists understood the safety challenges that motorcyclists face and took the necessary steps to avoid hazards. Motorists have a responsibility to use extra caution when driving in the vicinity of a motorcyclist. Like bicyclists, motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to serious injuries if they are hit by a car. Only their helmet provides some protection from head injuries. The following safety tips can help motorcyclists stay safe when sharing the road with other vehicles:
- Ride responsibly. Most motorcycle accidents occur when other drivers do not see the motorcycle. Therefore, motorcyclists are strongly urged to use caution; drive defensively; follow the rules of the road; and avoid unsafe driving behavior such as weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, or speeding.
- Do not drink and drive. Motorcyclists must always be focused and alert when sharing the road with other vehicles. Drugs and alcohol can negatively impact the rider’s coordination, judgment, balance, and ability to control the throttle or shift gears. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause significant impairments. Motorcyclists should never operate a motorcycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Wear the appropriate gear. In addition to a well-fitting helmet, motorcyclists are also urged to wear eye protection, leather gloves, a sturdy jacket, motorcycle boots, and pants made of material such as Kevlar that will protect the rider better than regular denim.
How can Pedestrian Accidents Be Avoided?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, over 6,200 pedestrians were fatally injured in the United States and thousands more suffered serious injuries. In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half of all pedestrian fatalities in 2017 were caused by drunk drivers. In addition, one out of every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians. Approximately 20% of pedestrian fatalities were individuals aged 65 and older. Motorists and pedestrians alike must take proactive steps to make safety a priority. The following are important safety tips that motorists must follow in order to prevent a devastating pedestrian accident:
- Drivers should watch for pedestrians, particularly when driving in an area where there are likely to be more pedestrians crossing streets or sharing the road, including busy cities, school zones, and residential areas. The most pedestrian accidents occur in urban areas, at night, and at non-intersection locations.
- Extra caution should be used when driving at night or during bad weather. Pedestrians may be harder to see during these conditions, particularly if they are not wearing any reflective clothing or carrying a flashlight.
- Motorists should always slow down and prepare to stop when approaching an intersection or a crosswalk where pedestrians are more likely to be crossing the street. Drivers should never pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.
- Drivers should obey the speed limit, particularly when driving in a school zone or residential area where children are more likely to be crossing the street. The faster a motorist is traveling, the more severe the injuries are likely to be in the event of a pedestrian accident.
- Motorists should use extra caution when backing out of a driveway or alley where pedestrians can cross without seeing the car.
The following are safety tips that pedestrians are urged to keep in mind at all times:
- Pedestrians should always stay on sidewalks if they are available.
- If there is no sidewalk, walkers should stay on the side of the road that is facing traffic and stay as far away from oncoming vehicles as possible.
- Pedestrians should cross streets only at intersections and crosswalks if possible.
- If there is no crosswalk, walkers should make sure that there is a safe enough gap in traffic before crossing the street.
- Pedestrians should never assume that a motorist sees him or her crossing the street. The pedestrian should always make eye contact with the driver to ensure that the pedestrian has been seen.
- Young children should be taught do not run into the street. Parents should instruct their youngsters to always look both ways before crossing.
- Pedestrians should avoid distractions when sharing the road with other motorists. It is not wise to use electronic devices such as earbuds when walking on a busy street, particularly if the pedestrian has drugs or alcohol in his or her system. Those on foot should remain alert at all times.
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Represent Victims of Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Accidents
If you or someone you know suffered a catastrophic injury in a motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident, you are urged to contact the Los Angeles car accident lawyers at ACTS Law as soon as possible. We will determine who is responsible for causing the accident and fight to ensure that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our dedicated team will assist you with the claims process and address all of your questions and concerns. We will continue to fight for you until you are completely satisfied. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAW or contact us online. With offices located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout Southern California.