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An incident involving a pedestrian or cyclist is particularly disconcerting.

The rules of the road are different for those not in motor vehicles, and these situations usually have unpredictable causes and outcomes. Whether you are the driver of the car or the pedestrian or cyclist, the team at Recovery Law Corporation can help you make sense of what can be very upsetting circumstances.

HOW IT HAPPENS

According to Transport Canada’s motor vehicle accident statistics, 19% of serious injuries, and more than 17% of fatalities involve pedestrians or cyclists. The majority of these incidents are the result of an inattentive or aggressive driver. Pedestrians and cyclists who are not observing the law can also be at fault.

Failure to Yield Right of Way

Failure to Yield Right of Way

This regulation can be applied to any party involved in a collision.

Although cyclists are expected to follow the same rules as motorists on the road, this is commonly ignored. When a cyclist unexpectedly pulls in front of car or passes by a stop sign, a driver may not have time to react. Similarly, when a motor vehicle changes lanes without checking, or turns in front of a bicycle, there is no way for the cyclist to avoid a collision.

Pedestrians in a bike lane, or cyclists on a designated walkway, become obstacles for one another. As with any driving situation, no one can anticipate when another party is going to break the rules. Following the rules of the road (and walkway) keeps everyone safe.

Blind Spots

Blind Spots

Many drivers forget to shoulder check or use their mirrors to look for cyclists.

Due to the size difference between a bicycle and a vehicle, it can be difficult to see a cyclist from a car. It’s very common for a driver to change lanes, turn, or open their car door in front of a cyclist. Drivers are expected to maintain a safe distance when overtaking a bicycle, but many do not realize what is considered “safe” (approximately 3 car lengths). Serious injuries can result from a driver’s negligence in these situations.

Accidents also occur when a cyclist is riding in an area not intended for wheeled traffic. Many cyclists (especially young ones) ride on sidewalks intended for pedestrians, rather than in marked bike lanes or on roadways. Cycling in pedestrian areas can create a dangerous situation.

Crossing and Jaywalking

Crossing and Jaywalking

In BC, the a pedestrian has the right of way in a crosswalk, whether that crosswalk is marked or unmarked. A driver must yield to a pedestrian crossing the road at an intersection, even if the driver has a green light. However, this does not mean that the pedestrian always has the right of way. A person on foot cannot, for example, step in front of moving traffic without the time safely stop. This applies to jaywalkers (who cross a roadway at a point in the road which is not an intersection) as well as pedestrians using a crosswalk. A pedestrian cannot put themselves in danger and then lay blame on a driver.

Drivers need to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians on the road. Stay alert and make sure you have a clear view of your surroundings if you are behind the wheel. Similarly, cyclists and pedestrians should make themselves visible to drivers. Wear bright colours or reflective clothing, use hand signals while cycling, and make eye contact to help drivers notice you.

Visibility and Weather Conditions

Visibility and Weather Conditions

Weather conditions, especially in BC, can make the roads hazardous for everyone, no matter how they might be travelling. Whether in a car on a bicycle, riding in dangerous conditions means that reaction times are slower. Many factors, including wet weather, low-light, winter ice and snow contribute to this. For pedestrians and cyclists, nighttime and rain can be particularly risky, as they can be hard to see in the dark, even with reflective clothing. Pedestrians are at risk of unexpected falls from slick sidewalks, heavy rain, or even blind spots from umbrellas. Be prepared for the weather, and be particularly alert in less-than-ideal conditions.

Visibility in a Crossway

Pulling into a crossway can be as simple as a driver pulling forward to see past an obstacle, and pausing too far into the crossway for a cyclist to avoid the collision. The law may consider this negligence on the part of a driver.

STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE AFTER AN ACCIDENT

  • 1 Stop Driving
  • 2 Ensure Everyone is Safe
  • 3 Call Emergency Services
  • 4 Exchange Information
  • 5 Record Information
  • 6 Stay Quiet
  • 7 Contact Your Insurer
  • 8 Get Legal Advice

Read more in-depth information on the steps to be taken post-accident.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE LONG-TERM

Injuries from bicycle and pedestrian accidents can range from minor bumps and scrapes to severe, lifelong problems. Because the human body is no match for a motor vehicle, riders and walkers are vulnerable.

Common serious injuries resulting from these types of incidents include head trauma (even when the rider is wearing a helmet), broken bones, spinal injuries , or soft-tissue damage, like whiplash. Sometimes these injuries require surgery or long recovery times. Victims can experience chronic pain, low mood, and difficulty returning to work. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a common, latent outcome of this type of collision. In the worst cases, collisions between a motor vehicle and a cyclist or pedestrian result in loss of vision, amputation, or death.

It can be intimidating to get back onto your bike or your walking route after an accident. Just as you would see a physician or and physiotherapist to help your body get back to normal, you may seek the help of a counselor to aid you in your emotional recovery after such a scary incident.

Part 7 (No-Fault Benefits)

In BC, every cyclist and pedestrian is covered by Part 7 of the Insurance Act, also called No-Fault Benefits. This means that if you are a cyclist or pedestrian in an accident involving a motor vehicle, you can receive compensation for any medical treatments you might require. Also, this compensation extends to recovery time that prevents you from working and treatment for emotional trauma. You may qualify for compensation if you have a family member who was seriously injured or killed in an accident, or if you were a victim of an accident caused while trying to avoid a primary collision with a motor vehicle. A lawyer can help you determine what benefits you may qualify for and fight for your just compensation.

If you or someone you love is dealing with the repercussions of a Traumatic Brain Injury caused by an accident, contact us.
We can determine the best course of action to get you fair compensation.

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