When cyclists or pedestrians are struck by a car, the outcome is usually always poor. A person on foot or on a bicycle is completely vulnerable to injuries, while the driver of the vehicle will be protected by the heavy steel frame of the automobile. While it’s important that we continue to remind drivers of the importance of being aware of people outside of their own vehicular bubble, the rest of us on (or near) the road will have to resort to our own forms of defensive walking and/or riding to stay safe.
You Can’t Count on Drivers to Keep You Safe
Unfortunately, drivers today are more distracted than ever. That means that the average pedestrian or cyclist cannot afford to assume that drivers are watching for them.
Self-Defense Tips for Pedestrians:
- Avoid distractions. Talking on the phone, wearing headphones or reading from your smartphone all prevent you from hearing or seeing your surroundings. If your distraction causes a car to hit you, you may struggle to recover damages.
- Follow traffic rules. If you cross the street anywhere other than a crosswalk or marked intersection, drivers won’t expect you.
- Never assume a driver will give you the right of way. Make eye contact with them if possible, and always check for drivers who may be turning or exiting driveways.
- Remain visible. If you intend to be out at night jogging, walking your dog, etc., take measures to be seen by using reflective clothing or flashlights.
- Do not walk while drunk. While walking is deemed safer than driving after a drink, choosing to walk while intoxicated puts you at risk. Almost half of all traffic crashes resulting in pedestrian casualties involve alcohol consumption, of which 34 percent was the part of the pedestrian.
Self-Defense Tips for Bicyclists:
- Remain seen. Ensure you have the correct lights installed on your bicycle, as required by your state’s law. Always wear bright, reflective colors that will stand out.
- Make eye contact or wave at drivers to ensure that they see you. Also, make sure you’re using hand signals to indicate to drivers what direction you are heading.
- Watch out for parked cars. “Dooring” accidents occur when drivers and passengers open their doors into traffic, without checking, and cause cyclists to collide with the door or to be thrown into traffic.
- Avoid sidewalks. You are more likely to injure a pedestrian or surprise a driver who doesn’t expect a bicycle to be crossing in a crosswalk.
- Ride with traffic. When you ride against traffic, cars don’t expect you. If you approach a red light, stop like a car. If you would prefer to use a crosswalk, get off your bike and walk it like a pedestrian.
In the event that an accident occurs despite your preventive measures, be sure to collect as much information as you can. This includes the contact information of the driver and any witnesses, and as many photos as you can obtain. For a full list of the information you should collect after an accident, this article can help.
Help Keep Pedestrians and Cyclists Safe
A little reminder can go a long way. Help us spread awareness and remind drivers to take just one extra second to look twice for bicyclists and pedestrians by requesting a free Yield to Pedestrians or Watch for Cycles sticker!
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident due to a negligent driver, we are here to answer your questions. Contact us at 800-800-5678 or start a live chat 24/7 at Hupy.com.