Car versus Bicyclist or Pedestrian

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC

We often write about vehicular crashes, but other cars on the road are not the only things that warrant caution. Both drivers and pedestrians need to take extra precautions under these conditions. Pedestrians should only cross the street at crosswalks and intersections. If there is no marked crosswalk available, exercise patience and make sure the path is clear of all cars before crossing. Virginia law states that “pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles.” This means you cannot just step out onto the road. Never assume that a driver sees you and never try to “beat the car” across the street. Even though pedestrians have right of way in most instances, that doesn’t matter if the driver doesn’t see you or stop for you. Drivers should be aware that during certain times of the day there are more likely to be pedestrians and keep an eye out for them. Between the hours of 6-9 a.m. children are typically walking to school or to the bus stop. From 2 to approximately 4:30 p.m. they are coming home. Children, even teenagers, tend to be less aware of their surroundings and more likely to wear headphones as they walk, which causes inattentional blindness. Drivers should not assume that pedestrians will stop to look for cars at intersections. Pedestrians and bicyclists should both wear bright, reflective clothing in order to make themselves as visible as possible.

Under Virginia law, bicycles are considered vehicles and subject to the same laws as cars. This means you must follow all traffic laws and road markings, including stopping at stop signs, red lights, etc. You are to ride on the right side of the road, going with the flow of traffic. Also remember that it is illegal to wear headphones while riding a bicycle. Same as pedestrians, bicyclists should never assume a car can see them. As a matter of safety, bicyclists should yield to cars if there is any chance of confusion as to who has right of way, simply because in a collision with a car you will be the one gravely injured. It is always better to be safe than right. Drivers should be sure to keep an eye out for bicyclists and give them a wide berth whenever the road allows.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another, the aftermath can be a confusing process. You're hurt, your life's routine disrupted, and you don't know the correct procedures to protect your rights. Feel free to review the information we have on our website to gain a better understanding or call our office at (757) 453-7579

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