PKSD Newsletter: Less Traffic, Increased Walker and Biking Fatalities
Getting outside for some exercise has provided an important source of relief to many Americans across the country who continue to maintain social distancing recommendations. Unfortunately, the reduced traffic and emptier roads have also tempted drivers to engage in more reckless behavior behind the wheel. In Wisconsin, as in other states, this has led to an increase in serious or fatal injuries of pedestrians and cyclists.
At PKSD Law, we support getting out to enjoy some fresh air but encourage pedestrians and bicyclists to stay alert at all times to protect themselves from becoming a victim of a negligent driver. Read PKSD’s helpful tips for staying safe in this month’s newsletter.
What Walkers and Cyclists Can Do
While we hope that drivers will uphold their duty of care by following safe traffic laws, we know from experience this does not always happen. There will always be that driver who cannot wait to send a text, who decides speeding is a worthwhile risk, or who will recklessly choose to get behind the wheel while impaired by fatigue, alcohol or drugs.
To protect yourself, you must remain alert in your surroundings and be proactive on your behalf. Here is a non-exhaustive list of how you can take responsibility for your own safety:
- Use sidewalks whenever possible.
- If you have to walk in the road to maintain social distancing, do so facing traffic. You will see cars from further away and have more time to get to safety.
- Follow traffic laws and rules of the road.
- Check for traffic in both directions whenever you cross the street.
- Use crosswalks whenever possible, but do not assume traffic will stop for you.
- Do not walk or cycle distracted. If you need to take a call or text, move to a safe area first.
- Wear protective gear, such as a helmet, whenever you ride your bike.
- If you go out when there is less visibility, such as early morning, twilight or night, wear reflective clothing and, if you are cycling, make sure your bike also has reflectors and lights to help drivers see you.
Additionally, remember that walking or cycling while fatigued or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will reduce your awareness and put you at risk for an accident.
When driving a motor vehicle, you have an increased duty of care to others. This obligation extends to include other vehicles in traffic, but also pedestrians and cyclists.
Here are some recommendations that may help prevent you from causing a traffic accident or serious harm to another person due to negligent driving behavior:
- Follow local speed limits, even on emptier roads.
- Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Do not stop in a crosswalk while at a traffic light or waiting to turn.
- Be constantly watchful for pedestrians and cyclists, even in the streets. More people are getting out to exercise and may go into the road to maintain social distancing.
- Be mindful of cyclists who may be riding beside you or turning in front of you, even if you have the right-of-way. Many riders may be young or forget to signal.
- If you have to pass a cyclist, remember to allow three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle.
- Remember to check your blind spots, as well as your side and rearview mirrors for other vehicles, cyclists or walkers before merging or turning.
- Be mindful that some routes may have changed or been closed to better accommodate pedestrians and cyclists due to social distancing needs.
- Avoid cellphone use while driving. It only takes one distracted second to cause a serious accident, and the life you protect could be your own.
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys For Legal Help With Your Claim
If you suffer an injury because of a reckless or distracted driver, we recommend that you contact one of our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys today. We can arrange a free consultation to discuss your potential claim and legal options without the need for a face-to-face meeting. Our first commitment is to the health and safety of our community.
We operate on a contingency basis, so if we take your case, there is nothing to pay unless we achieve compensation for you first.
Call PKSD Law at: 877-877-2228 Free consultation. No face-to-face required.