Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

Bicyclists and pedestrians have every bit as much of a right to use their legally designated areas of the roads and walkways as do motorists.  However, when drivers do not respect theses rights, lose attention to their surroundings, or simply make errors of judgment, cyclists and pedestrians lose.

Iowans are an active bunch.  Whether its RAGBRAI  (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) which is the largest and longest bicycle touring even in the world, Dam to Dam, Des Moines’ historic annual road race or, or the newer Hy Vee Triathlon, Iowans are out and about on Iowa’s roadways and paths.  Unfortunately, with an active population comes increased risk of car accidents and can accidents do not always involve two cars or trucks.  Every year, many Iowans are killed and many more injured in car accidents that involve a bicyclist or pedestrian.  In fact, in the United States, pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident than the passenger of a vehicle.   For more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding those most at risk and how to help prevent these accident, please click here.

Not only are bicyclists, joggers, and other pedestrians at greater risk of being in an accident, when they occur, a cyclist, runner or walker is much more likely to be severely injured or killed.  Also, sometimes it is not completely clear who was at fault or if the driver did something wrong.  For these reasons among many others, it is very important to have an expert legal team investigating the circumstances of such an accident and preparing the insurance claim or lawsuit if necessary.  One small mistake or misunderstanding in the investigation or claim process could compromise the value of a claim or the entire claim completely.  GRL law has the experience, expertise, and proven results to ensure the circumstances of your situation are properly investigated and if justified, a claim is brought against all responsible parties or insurance companies and the value of those claims maximized.

Pedestrian Accidents

When a car hits a person, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic. Regardless of the severity of the injuries, however, should a driver be at fault for striking a person crossing the street or otherwise near a roadway, that individual is entitled to compensation for their resulting injuries. While pedestrians can take precautions that vastly reduce the possibility of being involved in a pedestrian accident, with more vehicles on the road every day, pedestrian accidents are becoming a more frequent and serious issue. In fact, the National Highway traffic Safety Association reports that more than 78,000 pedestrians are injured in pedestrian accidents each year with nearly 5,000 resulting deaths.

Other than the increased likelihood of severe injury or death, pedestrian accident claims are very similar to other car accident claims. Should the negligence of another driver or any other individual be responsible, or even partly responsible in some instances, for injuries sustained by a pedestrian, that individual is entitled to recovery for the damages that they have incurred. (For a more extensive discussion of damages please click here (link)) . Negligence from a legal perspective occurs when an individual fails to conform to the standard of reasonable conduct that we expect from a similarly situated person and such action or inaction results in an injury or other damage to another. Those that can have potential liability for an accident include:

  • Drivers Of A Vehicle That Strikes A Pedestrian
  • Owners Of A Vehicle That Strikes A Pedestrian
  • The Owner Or Driver Of Another Vehicle Causing A Collision
  • An Automobile Manufacturer
  • A Municipality Or Other Party Who Is Responsible For Maintenance Or Repair Of The Roadway Or Area Where The Accident Occurs
  • Other Pedestrians

Only an experienced accident attorney will have the expertise necessary to determine all parties that are potentially at fault.

Injuries that befall a pedestrian are often severe. Some of the more frequent that occur as the result of a pedestrian accident include:

  • Wrongful Death
  • Head And Brain Injuries
  • Spinal Cord, Neck And Back Injuries
  • Fractured Bones
  • Loss Of Limbs
  • Paralysis

Given the severity of injuries often resulting from a pedestrian- automobile collision, the resulting damages are often correspondingly high. Accordingly, it is very important to speak with an experienced pedestrian accident attorney as soon after an accident as possible. Getting an effective injury attorney involved early will insure that the accident is properly investigated, evidence is preserved and the injuries and damages are fully explored.

Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle travel is allowed on all trails and most streets and highways across the State of Iowa. There are however, some exceptions which include highways and select four-lane highways and designated city streets. In 2013 there were four bicycle-motor vehicle fatalities while in 2012, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported 441 bicycle-motor vehicle crashes involving bicyclists with 3 fatalities and 438 injuries.

A bicycle traveling on a trail or road has just as much right to the road as other vehicular traffic. A person riding a bike on the road in Iowa is subject to all of the rights and responsibilities of the driver of a motor vehicle. This means so long as a bicyclist is complying with the “rules of the road,” other traffic must respect the right of the bicyclist to use the road and must modify their driving behavior accordingly. Vehicles must yield where appropriately and may only pass a bicyclist when it would be safe to do so, providing sufficient space to pass safely. It is also just as important to note that failure of a bicyclist to abide by the rules of the road may also serve to limit the bicyclist’s recovery in the event of a collision with a car or truck based upon the legal requirements of comparative fault.

Bicycle vs. motor vehicle accidents often times result in significant and serious injuries to the bicyclists. GRL Law has partners, associates and staff members that are avid cyclists and GRL law is passionate about ensuring that cyclists remain safe on Iowa roads. Remember, always wear a helmet and never hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.