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Can Bicyclists be Negligent in a Pedestrian Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on November 4, 2022

Pedestrians and bicyclists share roads, sidewalks, and many other pathways. However, who has the right-of-way may be questionable. Depending on the circumstances, a bicyclist or a pedestrian can be found negligent in an accident.

Are Accidents Involving Bicyclists and Pedestrians Rare?

Most stories about bicyclists and pedestrians involve motor vehicle collisions. However, the number of bike riders has increased over the last decade.

Major cities have lagged behind in law and infrastructure to make bicyclists and pedestrians safer from motorists. For example, Seattle’s old laws encourage cyclists on sidewalks. In addition, electric bikes have been widely introduced to the public. Sidewalks have become the new bike paths for much of the city.

While rare, accidents between pedestrians and bicyclists can happen. In some cases, injuries can be life-threatening.

Jogger Critically Injured by Bicyclist

In a recent article, a 34-year-old woman was jogging through New York’s Central Park. A bike rider struck her from behind, causing severe injuries.

The bicyclist was a 50-year-old man. He only suffered minor bruising to a knee. However, the young woman suffered a life-threatening head injury. Currently, she is listed in critical condition. The investigation is pending.

6-Year-Old Girl Suffers Internal Bleeding After Being Struck by Teen Bicyclist

In Chicago, a 6-year-old girl lies in critical condition after being struck by a bike rider on the sidewalk. The bicyclist was a young teen riding an electric bike. The little girl was running toward her father’s arms when the boy collided with her. She was then dragged all the way to the bus stop.

The 6-year-old suffered severe lacerations and abrasions to her body. She was taken to Community First Hospital, where she was listed in fair condition. However, after the young girl was transferred to Lurie Children’s Hospital, it became apparent her injuries were much worse. The 6-year-old suffered internal bleeding and remains in critical condition.  

After striking the young girl, the bike rider did not stop. The girl’s father stated that the boy looked back at the girl on the sidewalk and kept going. A police officer caught the teenager a few blocks away.

How Often Do Bicyclists Injure Pedestrians?

It is unusual for bicyclists to hurt pedestrians in an accident. However, some cities are seeing an increase in serious crashes with deadly consequences.

New York City

For example, in New York City, seven pedestrians have been killed in collisions involving bike riders in recent years. According to the article:

  •       Bicyclists have hurt more than 2,250 pedestrians
  •       In Manhattan alone, 134 pedestrians have been injured by bike riders
  •       Approximately 300 pedestrians a year are injured by cyclists

In the last reporting year, pedestrian injuries by bicyclists have increased by 12% in the metropolis.

Washington DC

Washington, DC, has also seen a spike in pedestrian injuries by cyclists. While bicyclists frequently argue for safer roads from motorists, pedestrians are taking issue with negligent bicyclists.

The article revolves around a controversial tweet that takes issue with cyclists running red lights and stop signs.

According to an article:

  •       6.5 minor pedestrian injuries occur each year due to bicycle crashes
  •       7 pedestrians have suffered major injuries in accidents with bicycle riders
  •       1 pedestrian has died from those injuries

As more people convert to cycling as their main form of transportation, pedestrian injuries have continued to rise.

Do Bicyclists or Pedestrians Have the Right-of-Way?

Bike and Pedestrian Accident Law

Most states require bicyclists to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians. Bike riders are usually required to follow the same rules of the road as motor vehicles for the sake of traffic laws.

For instance, bicyclists must:

  •       Come to a complete stop at a red light
  •       Obey all street signs, including stop signs
  •       Use signals when appropriate
  •       Travel with the flow of traffic
  •       Yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic
  •       Use bicycle lanes when designated

Bike riders and pedestrians often share the same pathways, leading to opportunities for collisions. Both have a duty of care. When breached, either the cyclists or pedestrians can be held liable.

Do Bicyclists Have a Duty of Care?

Bicyclists owe pedestrians the same duty of care as motorists. If they demonstrate a reckless disregard for the laws that apply to them, they are liable for the damage they cause.

Some examples of negligent behavior from bicyclists include ignoring stop signs and traffic lights, failing to wear the appropriate safety gear, riding while drunk or high, or being distracted by a cell phone. Disregarding the law and failure to behave appropriately can cause devastating injuries to pedestrians.  

Do Pedestrians Have a Duty of Care?

Pedestrians have a duty of care to those around them, including bike riders and motorists. For example, pedestrians must adhere to all traffic rules and regulations. If a pedestrian fails to utilize a crosswalk and causes a bicycle accident, they may be held liable for the bike rider’s injuries.

Some common reasons for pedestrian negligence may include the following:

  •       Public intoxication
  •       Failing to follow signs and signals
  •       Distraction

Pedestrians are responsible for remaining aware of their surroundings. Being distracted by a phone call or mobile app can be considered negligent in the same manner as a motorist.

What to Do in Cycling Accidents with Pedestrians

In the event of a collision between a bicyclist and a pedestrian, everyone’s safety should be the chief concern. It is important to call the proper authorities immediately.

Similar to automobile collisions, adrenaline can mask pain and the severity of injuries. Those involved in the accident should always seek medical attention. Some injuries can be delayed, presenting symptoms hours or days after an incident. For example, soft tissue injuries may take several hours to present with bruising and pain.

If involved in a pedestrian-cycling accident, it is crucial to exchange information. Some bike riders carry liability insurance. If so, take pictures of the insurance card and ID information.

It is also a good idea to take pictures of the scene. Be sure to record relevant signage, debris from property damage, injuries, and other damage. There can never be enough documentation in an accident that must establish fault.

Contacting an experienced pedestrian accident or bicycle accident attorney can help determine liability. Contact the firm today at (504) 500-5000 or at our website to schedule an appointment.