Drivers should always be aware of bike riders and pedestrians, but they need to be especially cognizant during the week of September 11-17, 2011. Why? Because it is Bicyclist & Pedestrian Awareness Week. Officers will be enforcing traffic laws in areas shared by bicyclists and pedestrians, specifically near trails and crosswalks. Violators may be ticketed for failure to yield right-of-way for pedestrians, failure to obey stop signs, and failure to obey crosswalk signals, according to the Falls Church Times.
According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, serious accidents involving people who ride bikes or were walking or jogging increased in Virginia during 2010. For example, 88 lives were lost in accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians that year, which was a 5 percent increase from 2009. There was also a 2 percent increase in the number of injuries involving bike riders (621 injuries in 2010). More than 1,500 pedestrians suffered injuries in 2010, which was a whopping 12 percent increase from 2009.
Our firm fully appreciates how devastating an accident involving a car and pedestrian or bicyclist can be. We represented two men who were visiting Virginia Beach. They were he crossing Atlantic Avenue in the crosswalk at 23rd Street when they were struck in the eastern most lane by a car. Both of our clients suffered fractures of the right tibia and fibula. They both had to struggle with rehabilitation, miss time from work, and receive extensive, expensive medical treatment. Fortunately, we were able to secure a $545,000 settlement to help them cover their various expenses and get compensation for the pain and suffering they endured from this accident.
This is why it is so important for drivers to be cautious while driving around school zones, crosswalks and areas with a high volume of foot traffic and bike riders. No driver wants to be responsible for inflicting a serious injury on a pedestrian or bicyclist. Hopefully, this awareness week will remind all Virginia drivers of that basic fact.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.