Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones and death are, sadly, frequent outcomes for pedestrians and bike riders who get hit by cars, tucks and buses. Motor vehicles are large and strike with great force even at lower speeds.
Pedestrians and bike riders lack all the protections afforded by steel frames, crumple zones, seat belts and air bags. Those disadvantages are only compounded by the reality that many pedestrians and bike rider get tossed into the air and suffer the worst of their injuries when they slam into the pavement. A well-fitted and properly worn bicycle helmet may prevent a skull fracture, but it will stop a TBI.
Drivers collide with pedestrians and bicyclist for a number of reasons. Some at-fault drivers are driving while intoxicated. Others run stop signs and red lights. Following a bicycle too closely and attempting to pass bicycles without leaving adequate space are particular problems.
- Why Don’t Drivers See and Yield to Pedestrians or Bike Riders?
- Virginia Drivers Must Yield to Pedestrians and Elsewhere
- Know the Laws for Riding Bikes in Virginia
Most crashes that injure or kill pedestrians and bike riders, however, happen because the at-fault driver failed to yield right of way. The driver does not wait for people to make it all the way across a crosswalk before turning or entering an intersection. Or a driver does not check their blind spots before pulling out of a driveway, parking space or parking lot. Or the driver takes their mind and eyes off the road while using a phone or GPS device.
Holding Drivers Who Cause Crashes Accountable
In short, drivers do not see pedestrians and bike riders because they do not look for those vulnerable individuals. No law can force drivers to watch out for and safely share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists, but several Virginia statutes make it illegal to violate a right of way and operate a motor vehicle negligently.
For instance, section 46.2-924 of the Virginia Code spells out when drivers must yield or stop for people who are in crosswalks or crossing a street at an intersection. Similarly, section 46.2-839 of the Virginia Code states,
Any driver of any vehicle overtaking a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass at a reasonable speed at least three feet to the left of the overtaken bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle and shall not again proceed to the right side of the highway until safely clear of such overtaken bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, animal, or animal-drawn vehicle.
Violating statutes such as these constitutes negligence of the type that makes a driver at-fault for causing a collision. That negligence also makes a driver liable for compensating crash victims. Enlisting the advice and representation of a Virginia personal injury and wrongful death attorney will help connect the dots between the driver’s actions, the harm suffered by the crash victim, and the need for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering.
>It’s an unfortunate fact –