Share the road, drivers, because the alternative can be injuries and deaths from crashes with motorcyclists, bike riders and pedestrians.
Fatalities of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians from crashes with vehicles have increased in the past 10 years, according to a recent post by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The challenges of less visible road users
Motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians have the same rights to use the roads as drivers do, while facing the unique safety challenges of being smaller, less visible and more exposed.
Here are some details from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- In 2017, crashes with vehicles killed 5,172 people on motorcycles. That’s a 3.1 percent decrease from 2016, but motorcycle fatalities in urban areas increased 15 percent from 2008-2017.
- In 2017, crashes with vehicles killed 783 bicyclists, up from 718 in 2008. That’s an increase of 65, or 9 percent.
- In 2017, traffic crashes killed 5,977 pedestrians, up from 4,414 in 2008. That’s an increase of 1,563, or over 35 percent. Of the 2017 pedestrian deaths, 214 were children.
In its “Sharing The Road In Virginia” pamphlet, the state of Virginia offers safety tips underscoring the message that cars, trucks, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians all use and have rights to the roads.
Drivers in Virginia who are entering, crossing or turning at intersections must slow down or stop, if necessary, to let pedestrians cross safely.
Virginia bicyclists are required to obey the same traffic laws as drivers, ride on the right side with traffic and yield the right of way to pedestrians.
The New York state legislature is considering a bill that would update The Empire State’s driver’s manual. The manual would be modernized to instruct new drivers that driving a car or truck means sharing the road with bike riders, in-line skaters, scooter operators and pedestrians.
Tips on how to prevent crashes
Here are share-the-road safety tips for drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians:
- Use extra caution when backing up across sidewalks or in parking lots.
- Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk because people you can’t see might be crossing.
- Watch for riders of motorcycles and bikes when making left turns at intersections.
- Slow down and prepare to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.
- Motorcycle and bike riders should ride defensively, assuming others cannot see you, and avoid getting distracted by music, phones or anything else that pulls your focus from the road.
- Bicyclists should use existing bike lanes and avoid riding on sidewalks when possible.
- In areas without sidewalks, pedestrians should walk facing traffic and as far from vehicles as possible.
- Always cross streets at crosswalks when they’re available because drivers know to watch for pedestrians there.
- On areas of roadways that lack crosswalks, pedestrians should cross at a well-lit place to increase visibility to drivers.
- Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely and continue watching for traffic as you cross.
- Stay alert while out walking on roadways, meaning don’t get distracted by electronic devices like cell phones that shift your eyes and ears from the road.
- Don’t assume a driver sees you. Try to make eye contact with an approaching driver to ensure the driver notices a pedestrian is there.
Contact Davis, Davis, Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law today for help with sharing-the-road accidents or other vehicle-crash or personal injury cases in Virginia.