Pedestrians may be aware of large vehicles such as cars, trucks, and buses that they need to avoid when out walking, but they might not worry about cycles. However, a cyclist riding at a high speed can cause significant injuries to a pedestrian if they hit them with the cycle. Here’s what you need to know.
How Often Do Pedestrian Accidents Occur?
Unfortunately, pedestrians are involved in accidents far more often than most people know. Pedestrian deaths in accidents have been increasing in Texas, meaning pedestrians must become ever more vigilant while out walking, even if they’re just crossing a street or walking through a parking lot to a store.
There are many reasons for this. Pedestrians may be struck by cyclists in any of the following situations:
- Cyclists riding distracted.
- Cyclists not obeying the rules of the road (for example, not stopping at stop signs or yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks).
- Cyclists riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
What Should Pedestrians Do if They’re Struck by a Cyclist While Walking?
If you can, the first thing to do is call the police. You should file a report on the accident as it could be an essential piece of evidence if you later need to file claims or a lawsuit. Collect the name and contact information of the cyclist, but don’t engage in conversation about the accident itself (we explain why below).
Then, collect names and contacts for any eyewitnesses and look at whether or not there may be home or business security cameras nearby that may have filmed the accident. If possible, take photos of the accident scene, as those may be valuable later.
Following that, it’s vital that you see a doctor right away. Being hit by a bicycle can be just as physically harmful as being hit by a larger vehicle. You may feel fine at first, but there are injuries that don’t always make themselves apparent immediately and can worsen if untreated. Even if you think the injury is minor, seeing a doctor as soon as possible helps tie the injury to the accident. When someone waits to visit the doctor until much later, the cyclist’s insurance representative or attorney could try to claim that the injury was caused after the accident, not because of it.
Then, you should reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can go through your case with you and determine what damages you might be eligible to receive and how to go about filing for them, especially if it appears a lawsuit will be needed.
What Should Pedestrians Do to Ensure Their Safety While Walking?
The first and foremost thing pedestrians should do is to be vigilant and aware at all times when out walking. Always pay attention to all the vehicles and cycles coming and going. Beyond that, basic safety rules apply.
- Only cross streets at intersections and crosswalks and look carefully in both directions before crossing, even if the traffic light indicates it’s time to walk. Unfortunately, many cyclists (and drivers) don’t pay attention to stoplights.
- Walk on sidewalks rather than roads wherever possible. If there is no sidewalk, use the left side of the road facing traffic, and stay as far off the main road as possible.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals. It’s tempting to dash across the street on a red light when there doesn’t appear to be anyone else coming, but remember that cyclists can travel much faster than a walker can.
- Wear reflective clothing or carry a flashlight when it’s dark or the weather is poor.
- Don’t walk in designated bike lanes.
What Is Texas’ Comparative Negligence Law?
Texas follows the rule of modified comparative negligence. That rule states that if the injured person is found to be at least 51% at fault for the accident, they’re not allowed to make claims. While that may seem counter-intuitive, it’s not uncommon for both parties in an accident to carry part of the blame. For example, a bicyclist riding in the road rather than an adjacent designated bike lane could hit a pedestrian who’s jaywalking. Both would have some fault for the accident. If the court determined that the pedestrian was 40% responsible for the accident and awarded them $10,000 in damages, the liability percent would reduce that amount, and they’d receive only $6,000. If the court found the pedestrian 51% or more responsible for the accident, they’d receive no damages from the cyclist.
Because this type of comparative negligence raises the stakes, working with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. The cyclist’s attorney will work hard to push as much blame onto the pedestrian as possible in hopes of avoiding a payout altogether.
What Should I Do if I Need Help Pursuing Damages After Being Hit by a Cyclist While Walking?
Call DB Law 24/7 at 346-818-3311 to set up a free nationwide case review. We can help determine what your best course of action is, whether you should file for damages, and what you can expect to receive.
It’s important not to do something, too, and that’s discuss the accident with the cyclist, their insurance representative, or their attorney. Their goal would be to put as much fault for the accident on you as possible or to have you accept a settlement that’s much lower than you might be eligible for. Don’t respond to any communications from them, but forward them to your attorney.