In recent years, cities across the country have promoted biking and walking as alternatives to driving. There are several reasons for this. For one, biking and walking are great exercise, and local governments have an interest in keeping their populations healthy. For another, when more people are walking and biking, fewer people are driving, reducing traffic and pollution.
The problem is that pedestrians and cyclists must often, especially in cities, share the road with cars and trucks. As a result, higher rates of walking and biking tend to come with higher rates of pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
North Carolina has some of the worst pedestrian and biking accident rates in the country, and the triangle area has some of the worst in the state. According to the safety advocacy organization Watch For Me NC, more than 3,000 pedestrians and 850 bicyclists are killed in crashes every year in the state. Together, these accidents account for about 15% or all traffic-related deaths in the state.
Most of these bicycle-automobile collisions occur at intersections. About a quarter of pedestrian-auto collisions occur when a car is turning at an intersection.
Because cars are so much bigger and heavier, and because pedestrians and bicyclists are so exposed, a collision with a motor vehicle is likely to lead to serious injury or death for the walker or biker.
Victims of these motor vehicle accidents are left with enormous medical expenses and they may never be able to work again. In cases of fatal accidents, the victims’ family members are lost without their income and companionship.
When these damages are caused by a driver’s negligence, the injured or their families may hold the driver liable for their damages through a personal injury claim. These lawsuits are important ways to hold careless drivers accountable, and to encourage others to be more cautious. They’re also absolutely crucial in helping the injured and their families cope with the fallout from a terrible accident.