Articles Posted in Pedestrian & Bicycle Accidents

Every week you participate in a group bike ride sponsored by different shops around DC. Last week, you had a bit of a scare while biking the City Explorers Ride as the cyclist in front of you hit a rock and spun it straight toward you. You veered to avoid getting struck, but as a result, lost your balance and wound up tumbling into the street.

There wasn’t much traffic and you were able to right yourself before getting run over by a car. However, you weren’t quick enough to avoid causing the three bikers behind you to tumble as well. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured this time, but it made you wonder, how you can make sure your group is riding safely for next week?

Group Riding Safety Guidelines

Biking is a wonderful form of recreational fun, and can be an extremely rewarding group activity on beautiful summer days. However, it can also be really dangerous if members of the group aren’t paying attention or following the rules of the road. You can, however, stay safe and help avoid possible collision risks by following these simple guidelines every time you and your friends go for a ride:

You and your family were watching Fox 5 last night and saw an interesting story about how traffic deaths and injuries have been steadily declining since 2000. After the story ended, your husband turned to you and made a joke about how since the roads are getting safer, you no longer had to ride your bike like an 80-year-old grandma hauling a wagon full of babies.

Although he thought he was funny, and you know perfectly well how cautiously you ride. Does that mean that perhaps you should be less concerned about bike accidents, since traffic deaths are decreasing?

Traffic and Bicycle Fatalities Compared, 2003–2012

Within recent years, traffic fatalities have been slowly but steadily declining; however, the percentage of bicyclist fatalities within the overall traffic deaths has been tragically growing. The statistics reported here, taken from research done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, illustrates the consistent rise in percentage of bicycle deaths over the past ten years.

After weeks of agonizing physical therapy and traction, three surgeries, and the assistance of a wheelchair, you’re finally able to get out of bed by yourself and begin to address how you’ll be paying for the towering medical bills on your table.

You’re facing enormous challenges as a victim of a pedestrian accident.

With help from your family members who witnessed the incident, you’re able to say that the Chevy that hit you was definitely at fault. According to witnesses, the driver never even attempted to slow down as he approached the Wisconsin and M intersection and wound up plowing right into you.

As of two minutes ago, it was a lovely day. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, you just finished your last day of work before a three-day weekend. Life was good as you were peddling down Pennsylvania Avenue on your sparkly new bike, when all of a sudden, a maniac came barreling down Madison and cut you off at the intersection. You had to squeeze the life out of your brakes and nearly go up on the curb to narrowly avoid crashing into him, while he sped off as if he had done nothing wrong.

It’s amazing how 30 seconds can completely change your mood. Now, you’re not just angry; you are shaking from rage. At this rate, you’ll probably cause an accident as a result of nearly missing one. So how do you go about regaining control of your bike, your body, and your serenity before it’s too late?

Relaxing Your Biker Rage to Avoid an Accident

When your upset, irrational thoughts, adrenaline and revenge scenarios tend to flood your head, making it difficult to pay attention to anything else. Although this is a natural reaction, it can be extremely dangerous while riding a bike, especially in traffic or populated areas. This is why it is extremely important to know how to calm those thoughts and center your attention on what is going on around you, in order to avoid a potentially traumatic accident.

Thankfully, the warm weather is here to stay; which means you and your husband can dust off your bikes and finally attach the bike carriage your parents got you for Christmas. However, although you’re really looking forward to going on family rides to Rock Creek, you’re still not sure about the safety of these carriages.

What additional safety steps can you take to ensure your child is safe while riding in his bike carriage?

Precautions for Your Child’s Protection

Accidents can happen out of nowhere, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still protect your little ones. Taking proper bike carriage precautions when riding with your children can not only ease your mind but could also save their lives.

That evening, you didn’t get home until after 9 p.m. However, as soon as you walked through the door, your daughter, dressed in her usual gothic mourning attire and looking like an ink blot, frantically asked you if the two of you could go for a walk—she’s been having “issues” at school and needs to talk. So, you threw your bags down, grabbed your leather jacket, and both of you headed out into the night.

She began telling you her problems while slowly walking backward down the sidewalk. As you approached the intersection and she back-stepped into the crosswalk, high beams suddenly came out of nowhere, careening straight toward her. You grabbed her arm and pulled her back onto the curb just in time. The car whizzed by (without even slowing down), apparently completely oblivious that your daughter nor you were even there.

One of the worst issues that drivers have at night is visibility; this is, coincidentally also one of the biggest problems that cause nighttime pedestrian accidents as well. Poor weather, darkened streets, and bad night vision can make you virtually invisible to a driver going 30 mph. If you’re wearing a black jacket or dark clothes, you might as well be a camouflaged ghost-ninja; drivers won’t have a prayer of seeing you until it is too late. This is why, if you choose to take a walk before or after daylight hours, you need to take extra precautions to make yourself visible to potential traffic.

As you’re waiting for the traffic light to change, you notice two women on the side of the road patiently waiting for their turn to cross; you also notice that a little further down the sidewalk another pedestrian is wandering toward the crosswalk. As the light turns green you make sure the two women are still waiting as you take your foot off the brake. Suddenly, the “wanderer” appears in front of the two women, ignores the “Don’t Walk” signal, and walks straight into your car. You slam on the brakes as he takes off his headphones, slams his fist onto your hood and starts screaming at you. “What are you doing? Didn’t anyone ever tell you that pedestrians always have the right of way!?”

Your heart is beating out of your chest, you’re starting to shake and his words are ringing in your ears. He hits your car again, shakes his head at you and backs up to stand by the now bewildered women. The cars behind you are honking for you to go, but all you can think about is that even though you had the green light, and what you thought was the right of way, you could have just killed this guy.

So were you wrong? Do pedestrians always have the right of way, no matter what?

If you watch Channel 8 or Fox 5, you know that everything in your life poses a risk. “Dirt Breaks Woman’s Leg” and “The Choking Hazards of Your Tennis Shoes” are great headlines to keep you from enjoying a walk, but you can’t live in a bubble all your life; eventually you’ll want and need to take a stroll.

But it’s okay. As long as you take proper precautions and pay attention to your surroundings, you’ll be able to enjoy your nightly jaunts again and if you’re lucky, get home in time for the next breaking news story: “The Dangers of Rain.”

Safety Steps for Pedestrian Protection

Montgomery County is a beautiful place to spend long afternoons, as long as you’re being safe. When you’re walking by yourself or with friends and family, make sure you’re alert to your surroundings and are following the basic rules of the road and sidewalks.

How many times have you had a staring contest with a motorist at the intersection of 7th and Penn Avenue, or at Capitol and New York, while out riding your bike?

You think you have the right of way, but you want to make sure the motorist knows that you know you have the right of way. So you stare each other down (or at least you think he’s staring back at you) for a few seconds, until you decide to start to inch into the intersection. Then all of a sudden the motorist pushes the gas and leaves you stumbling on one foot, trying to regain control of your tipping bike, as he leaves you in the dust. Sound familiar?

Approximately 55 percent of bicycle crashes, collisions, and accidents occur at intersections, making them one of the most hazardous areas for bikers to cross. This is why it is extremely important for you to take proper precautions and follow all traffic laws to avoid life-altering intersection accidents.

As the weather gets nicer, I’m sure you’ll notice an increase of bicycles on Telegraph and Eisenhower. You may not be thrilled about the idea of bikes whizzing around you on your daily commute, but no matter your frustrations, you still have to take necessary precautions for their safety as well as your own.

Precautionary Bike Lane Rules for Drivers

Bicyclists have their own set of rules in addition to common traffic laws that they must obey. However, as a motorist you have protection and size on your side, and therefore you need to take extra precautions when driving by, near, or behind bike riders.