Whether it’s to get around town or for health purposes or commuting to work, many people enjoy biking, running, and walking, instead of driving or taking public transportation. However, when a car accident involves a cyclist or a pedestrian, those who are not behind the wheel often suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries.
Motorists have a duty of care to drive in a reasonable and safe manner, as well as follow traffic laws—especially when there is heavy foot traffic in specific areas. When drivers fail to obey the law, they can be held liable for their negligent or reckless actions.
The following are the most common causes of bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents involving motor vehicles:
• Distracted driving – Although our smartphones have become an essential part of our daily lives, many people continue to use them while driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving has become one of the most common causes of crashes in recent years. Other distractions include eating and drinking, having a conversation with occupants, and even grooming. In a few seconds, a distracted driver may not see a cyclist or pedestrian crossing the road.
• Intoxicated motorist – Alcohol and drug impairment can negatively affect a driver’s reaction time, judgment, and general driving skills. A drunk or drugged motorist can easily miss seeing a cyclist or pedestrian, especially at night or in poor weather.
• Failure to stop or yield – Drivers who do not completely stop at a traffic sign or light or fail to yield to pedestrians who have the right of way often lead to serious collisions.
• Backing-up accidents – When drivers put their cars in reverse and back up in driveways, parking lots, and streets, they may end up striking a cyclist or passenger.
• Dooring accidents – Before a driver opens their door, they may not check to see if anyone is around. However, drives are responsible for making sure the coast is clear. If a cyclist gets doored while legally riding, the driver or passenger who opened the door is at fault.
Five Common Causes of Bike and Pedestrian Accidents in Vermont