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Sharing the Road with Non-Motorists

Driving a motor vehicle is something many people do not take seriously enough. Every day millions of people operate an extremely deadly machine that can easily cause injury or death. Highly populated areas like New York and Long Island present even greater risk of accidents, due to the higher volume of cars, higher impatience and recklessness among drivers, and higher number of non-motorists who are nearby.

New Yorkers are used to dealing with other aggressive drivers, but many are not aware enough of pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2015, Long Island saw approximately 15,000 pedestrian accidents. Suffolk County pedestrian accidents are particularly common. Nationally there were over 5,000 pedestrian deaths. According to the NHTSA, this is one of the few groups of road users with increased year over year fatalities.

The Reason Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents Occur

The main reason why we see so many car accidents involving non-motorists is simply because they are harder to see. A big car is easier to note in your mirrors than a person on a bicycle. Simple as that. To account for it, drivers need to be more aware and be able to anticipate non-motorists.

Most pedestrian and bicycle accidents are the driver’s fault. So many drivers are distracted, whether it be their phone, GPS, radio or anything else that takes their attention off the road. Additionally, many drivers fail to yield the right-of-way. They don’t realize that a pedestrian always has the right of way, or that a bicyclist is to be treated like another vehicle on the road.

Another hazard presents themselves in parking lots, where drivers don’t back up slowly or look carefully when pulling out. This is a serious problem in busy parking lots especially around holidays and weekends. Any obstructed view in general presents a greater risk for non-motorists.

Each person can do their part to make the roads as safe as possible. No one wants to be the cause of a pedestrian or bicycle accident. Here are some tips on how to share the road with a Bicyclist or Pedestrian to avoid potential injury.

Tips For Sharing the Road with a Pedestrian or Bicyclists

  • Avoid distractions while driving, so that you are prepared for any unexpected pedestrian.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Pay special attention at nighttime or during harsh weather
  • Always slow down and be prepared to stop if you see a crosswalk. Avoid sharp turns.
  • Take plenty of time to slow down when you see pedestrians at a crosswalk.
  • Give ample room so that other drivers can also see the crossing pedestrians.
  • Don’t pass any vehicle at a crosswalk. They could be stopped for a pedestrian and you just don’t know it yet.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A pedestrian accident could be serious and lead to a long prison sentence.
  • Follow the speed limit especially if there are people walking around.
  • Go slower where children may be present. Follow the speed limits at school zones and bus stops.
  • Be attentive when backing up. Pay extra attention if you’re backing out of a driveway that has a sidewalk pass through and when backing out of parking lots.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Bicycle or Pedestrian Accident

The first and most important thing to do if you find yourself in this situation is to seek medical attention for any injuries, no matter how minor. Often injuries that result from a motor vehicle accident intensify in the hours and days following an accident. It’s best to be cautious.

Next you will want to call the police. This is important because you need a Police Accident Report. It is always a good idea to call the police to the scene of the accident. However, it is also possible to file a police report following the accident.

Then, you will need to contact the automobile insurance carrier for the vehicle that struck you. Any medical bills will need to be paid by that no-fault insurance. That information can be obtained through the police accident report. It’s important that you do not give any statements to the other vehicle’s insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.

Finally, when you have been injured by another driver, you will want any and all financial burdens covered and compensated. This is why we recommend you contact a car accident lawyer for a free consultation if you have any issues.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.