Accidents

Safety Tips for Cyclists

Cycling is a versatile activity, in that it’s a means of transport, fun, and exercise. However, it also comes with its fair share of risks. 2018 was the deadliest year for bicyclists (as opposed to motorcyclists) since 1990, with 857 fatalities. In addition to accident risks, the coronavirus pandemic has also made cycling a bit more difficult. These don’t exhaust the risks of cycling. Read on to find out what dangers you may face while cycling and what you can do to stay safe.

Dangers and Safety Tips

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A common danger is failing to pay attention to the right of way rules. The basic definition of right of way is basically the right to pass of one vehicle over another when on the road. For example, you may have to turn left, but the cyclist next to you has to turn right (and both your paths could intersect at the same time if one does not yield the right of way to the other).If you let the other cyclist turn first, you’re giving them the right of way.

As a cyclist, there are certain instances where you have the right of way. If you’re on a through road and a car is on an intersecting road, the car should give you the right of way. However, ‘should’ makes for a good legal defense, but a bad physical defense. If you don’t mind being patient, don’t give other drivers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their driver education. Always be prepared to giveothers the right of way to avoid accidents.

Amid the coronavirus, you should find yourself wearing a mask while traveling outside the home. While this is essential to minimize transmission, when you’re exerting yourself, a mask can make breathing a bit more difficult. Additionally, you’ll have to contend with air pollution. To counter this, try to treat cycling as a means of transport rather than as exercise. If you feel yourself getting lightheaded while cycling, slow down and take a moment to catch your breath.

Overtaking is a common source of bicycle accidents. This could be because the cyclist was either overtaking or overtaken in traffic. Generally, there’s no restriction on filtering through lanes or overtaking in slow traffic. However, a large part of this safety relies on the competence of motorists around the cyclist.

If a car makes a turn without indicating, for example, it could cause an accident for a cyclist filtering through their lanes. Try to be a bit more passive with your cycling (though look out for potholes on the edges of the road). Additionally, maintain a 3-foot-or-more distance (safe passing law) from other motor vehicles.

T-junctions and roundabouts are common accident areas. Accidents on T-junctions are most often due to two reasons. First, there can be confusion regarding who has the right of way. Second, motorists emerging onto the through road from the junction can crash into cyclists already on the through road. Roundabout accidents also occur due to miscommunications regarding the right of way.

Moreover, if a motor vehicle overtakes a cyclist and then turns off the roundabout, they could violate the above-mentioned safe passing law. This could reduce the space available to a cyclist and result in an accident. There isn’t much you can do in these cases, since these accidents are largely the result of negligent driving. If possible, try to avoid busy motor areas.

Finally, do whatever you can to improve your visibility to motorists. Many motorists claim a lack of visibility as their defense when an accident occurs. These aren’t terribly strong legal defenses, but to keep yourself safe, you should improve your visibility while cycling especially at night. Wearing high visibility clothing and outfitting your bike with lights will improve visibility at night.

Accidents

You can take many precautions while cycling. However, a large part of your safety depends on the competence, or negligence, of others on the road. Consequently, if you do find yourself in an accident, you should do the following:

Regardless of whether you think you are or aren’t injured, you should seek medical attention and call the police to the scene of the accident. Be skeptical of the negligent driver’s apologies and placations. In court, they often won’t admit their negligence, even if they admit it to you after the accident.

The police’s accident report is a key piece of evidence if you decide to pursue a civil case against the negligent driver. Make sure you tell the police your version of what happened, as well as get the relevant information from the scene. This includes the negligent driver’s name and license number, as well as information from witnesses, like names and phone numbers. If you’re injured, ask someone to gather the information for you.

Once that’s done, get a comprehensive check-up and fully treat your injuries. After you’ve healed and are back up on your feet, make sure to keep copies of your medical reports. They’re used to determine the compensation amount for the damages sustained.

Personal Injury Cases

If you do intend to recover your damages from the negligent driver, you will file a personal injury claim. This is a claim you file with the defendant’s insurance company.  If the defendant is uninsured, you file the claim with your insurance company. A tort is any wrong that infringes on another person’s property, life, or freedom. In a biking accident, you’re likely the victim of a negligent tort, where the motorist did not take the care expected of drivers while driving.

There are four conditions that your accident must meet for you to prove negligence.

First, the driver must have had a duty to act carefully. This is easily provable using the  laws and rules that regulate transportation and vehicles.

Second,you need to prove that the driver disregarded their duties. Proving this requires your and witness testimonies.

Third, the breach of duty must have led to some kind of injury or damage. Your medical report is a key document in proving this.

Finally,you need to prove that the driver’s negligence caused these injuries. This requires a comparison between your pre- and post-accident medical records, as well as witness statements.

If you have suffered a personal injury, get in touch with an injury attorney to represent your case. Contact the Law Offices of Lisa Douglas for a personal injury lawyer in Little Rock, AR. Offering representation for other kinds of cases as well, such as social security disability and criminal cases.

Accidents Happen: 5 Reasons to be Extra Cautious as a Pedestrian

Driving a car requires a significant amount of focused attention on the road. Surprisingly, traveling as a pedestrian requires equal vigilance and focused attention.

Data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 137,000 pedestrians were treated in the emergency room for nonfatal crash-related injuries in 2017. Considering the lack of protection, it makes sense that pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to die in a car crash than occupants in the car.

Pedestrian injuries can be serious and costly

Source: wweek.com

Thousands of people experience serious injuries after being hit by a car. Some accept insurance settlements while others hire lawyers. The cost of medical treatment is high. However, injured pedestrians can recover a significant amount of compensation through a lawsuit as long as they don’t make any major mistakes that hinder winning their case.

As a pedestrian, you’re extremely vulnerable. Here’s why you need to be extra cautious about vehicles.

1. Even a minor crash can cause severe injuries or death

Source: augustalawyer.com

A minor car crash between two motor vehicles isn’t always devastating for anyone but the car. Even then, sometimes cars with heavy-duty bumpers barely see a scratch. When you’re a pedestrian, however, you won’t be so lucky.

Although a speeding car presents more danger, a car’s speed isn’t the only factor you need to watch out for. It’s possible to get hit by a car backing out of a parking space and be seriously injured or die. This is an especially dangerous scenario since some drivers don’t realize when they’ve hit someone. If a driver backs into you in a parking lot and continues to accelerate, you could be run over.

A car traveling 10mph in a parking lot is equally dangerous if they look away momentarily or don’t see you. They might hit you and continue driving before they realize what’s happened.

2. The cost of healing is high

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As an injured pedestrian, the cost of healing is high. You’ll need to take time off work (probably without pay), undergo expensive medical testing and treatments, and the hospital will expect you to pay for anything not covered by your insurance. That’s an overwhelming financial responsibility to shoulder.

If you’ve been injured in a pedestrian accident, it’s worth talking to a lawyer to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit. You’ll be offered a seemingly large amount by an insurance company, but that figure almost never covers your true costs.

A lawsuit, on the other hand, has the potential to get you better compensated and will make the insurance company’s settlement offer look like peanuts. For instance, legal experts from ffp law were able to recover $1,350,000 for a pedestrian accident when the insurance company offered $250,000.

3. Drunk or impaired drivers won’t likely see you

Source: verywellmind.com

According to CDC data, 47% of pedestrian fatalities involved unauthorized substances. In some cases, the driver was intoxicated, but sometimes it was the pedestrian.

A driver impaired by unauthorized substances is less likely to see a pedestrian than if they were not impaired. While impaired people shouldn’t be driving, it does happen and you need to be on alert.

4. Pedestrians are hard to see at night

Source: myerslegal.com

Everyone knows that pedestrians are hard to see at night. They blend in when they’re wearing dark clothing, but sometimes wearing light clothing isn’t enough. Some drivers have a harder time driving at night and place more of their attention on the road ahead of them rather than what’s in front of them. They may not see a pedestrian in a crosswalk that isn’t connected to a traffic light.

5. Cars turn right on red lights quickly

Source: unionleader.com

Think about how you drive. How many times do you look for pedestrians while making a right turn on a red light? Or are you mainly focused on watching the traffic so you can turn when a clearing opens up? Some drivers don’t even stop at a red light before turning right.

It’s easy for drivers to make a right turn on a red light and forget to check for pedestrians one last time. If you’re crossing the street, even at a crosswalk with a green light, pay close attention to cars turning right on a red light.

If a driver is in the far right lane with their blinker on, act as if they’re going to turn. Try to make eye contact with the driver before you start crossing the street. If you start walking at the same moment the driver notices an opening, you could get hit.

Awareness is the key to your safety

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Cars have a duty to look out for pedestrians, but they need to be vigilant, too. Regardless of what cars should be doing, you can avoid injury by being extra cautious whenever you’re a pedestrian.

Be a vigilant driver, too

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Be careful on foot, but also remember to exercise caution when you’re the driver. Not all pedestrians are aware of their surroundings. Some people walk across the street with their eyes glued to their phones.

People on foot are unpredictable; not all people on foot will be looking to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Many people just cross the road regardless of a green or red light and sometimes they don’t even bother to walk in the crosswalk.

Take an extra three seconds to make a full stop at a red light before turning right. Those extra three seconds will give you enough time to look for people about to cross the road right in your turning path.

It’s not always fashionable to stop at a red light, but it’s the law. Despite the law, some people might honk their horn at you for stopping because they’re used to everyone else just blasting through the light. Don’t be that person. People on foot, bicycles, and motorcycles can sneak up beside you to turn right at the same time. By looking out for pedestrians before you turn, you’re also giving yourself the chance to see those bikes and motorcycles.