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Avoiding Catastrophic Injury: Safety Tips for Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Pedestrian and bicycle accidents are on the rise in California. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s latest data, pedestrian fatalities increased 46.5% from 2010 to 2019, and there’s been more than a 60% increase in bicyclist deaths since 2010. In 2020 alone, there were 1,115 pedestrian and bicycle fatalities in California, with heavily populated areas like Los Angeles County having the most deadly accidents. When a pedestrian or a bicyclist is in an accident with a motor vehicle, the pedestrian or bicyclist almost always loses. That’s why it’s so important to protect yourself and help avoid catastrophic injuries on California’s roadways.

Common Injuries in Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Pedestrians and bicyclists do not have enough protection against the impact of larger, heavier vehicles. They do not benefit from safety features like steel frames, seatbelts, and airbags. So, when an accident happens, the injuries can be quite serious – even fatal. Some of the injuries that pedestrians most commonly suffer in an accident with an automobile include cuts, bruises, road rash, sprained ligaments, broken bones, concussions, internal organ injuries, spinal injury, and traumatic brain injury.

The key to preventing these injuries is for pedestrians and bicyclists to be aware of traffic and follow the rules of the road.

Safety Tips for Avoiding a Pedestrian Accident

While many California residents are used to driving as their primary mode of transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds us that we’re all pedestrians at some point in the day. Whether you’re walking your children through a school zone or crossing an intersection to get to lunch, it’s important to remember that pedestrian safety is a two-way street. Motorists and pedestrians must share the road. Here are a few tips for staying safe while you’re walking on or near busy roads:

  • Stay on the sidewalks and use crosswalks when crossing the stree
  • When you approach a crosswalk, pay attention to the traffic signals before moving into the street
  • Watch for cars that are speeding, turning, or changing lanes
  • Check for vehicles that are moving from a parking lot or lane
  • Don’t assume that drivers see you; wait for drivers to stop or slow down
  • To maximize visibility, wear bright or light-colored clothes
  • If walking at night, wear reflective material if possible

Safety Tips for Avoiding a Bicycle Accident

Prior to heading out for a bike ride, be sure that you’ve planned your route appropriately and are using the right equipment. Double-check that your bike’s brakes and headlight are working correctly, and make sure that you’re wearing protective equipment like a helmet and reflective gear. You should also be aware of the current weather conditions.

Bicyclists should follow the same California traffic laws as other drivers. When a cyclist is following the rules of the road, they’re more predictable to nearby motorists. Here are some tips for staying safe in traffic:

  • Use bike lanes or lanes with less traffic, if possible
  • Base your speed on the volume of traffic and road conditions
  • Ride in the same direction as the traffic
  • Use hand signals; verbally announce your presence or use a bell
  • Obey street signs and road markings
  • Check over your shoulder before changing lanes or turning
  • Be extra careful when crossing intersections
  • Do not assume that nearby drivers have seen or noticed you
  • Look ahead for potential hazards like potholes, train tracks, or road debris
  • Watch for vehicles that are pulling out of parking lots and driveways, or drivers that open their car doors without looking
  • Don’t wear earphones or use your phone while you’re on your bike

If you stay focused on the road and pay attention to the traffic, it can help you anticipate potential dangers. Driving alert and defensively may help you avoid a serious accident.

Hire an Experienced Pedestrian Accident or Bicycle Accident Attorney

Pedestrians or bicyclists who are hit by a car can suffer physical injuries, mental harm, and major financial losses. If you’ve been in a serious accident, it’s important to act quickly to preserve your legal rights. An experienced pedestrian accident or bicycle accident attorney can explain the legal options available and help you receive compensation for any loss you’ve endured.

If you’ve been in an accident in California, our experienced team of San Francisco-based accident attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson can help you build your case and reach a successful resolution. Contact our San Francisco offices today for a free consultation by filling out this online form or calling 888-831-8448.