Pedestrians and bicyclists can be seriously hurt if hit by a motor vehicle. While being hit by a vehicle is always dangerous, the risk of being hit in a bicycle or pedestrian accident is greater after dark. After the sun goes down, drivers have to deal with challenges such as headlight glare, poorly lit roads, and reduced visibility. They may have difficulty judging speed and distance after dark.
Bad driving habits can be even more dangerous at night both to other drivers and to pedestrians or bicyclists. People sometimes have a drink or two with dinner, believing that small amounts of alcohol won’t impair their ability to drive, but this adds to the risk of having an accident after dark. Distractions such as cell phones can further reduce a driver’s focus on dimly lit roads.
Growing Danger to Pedestrians
In recent years, the number of people hit or killed in pedestrian accidents has continued to increase. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of people killed in pedestrian accidents increased by 35 percent between 2008 and 2017.
During the same time period, the number of pedestrians killed at night increased by 45 percent. Although pedestrian fatalities also increased during the day, it was by the much lower number of 11 percent.
More and more people are bicycling for exercise and some commute to and from work by bike. Drivers are encouraged to share the road with bicyclists, and as long as bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers watch out for each other, accidents can usually be prevented.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that bike fatalities most often occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Urban areas are much more dangerous to bicyclists than rural areas, and alcohol is frequently a factor in bike accidents.
Preventing Injuries and Fatalities of Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Preventing accidents between motor vehicles and pedestrians or bicyclists depends on both the driver and the pedestrian or bicyclists. Things pedestrians and bicyclists can do to help remain safe at night include:
- Avoid walking or riding on streets that aren’t well lit
- Wear bright clothing and reflectors to help drivers see you
- Pedestrians should stay on sidewalks whenever possible and make eye contact with drivers before attempting to cross the street
- Obey all traffic signals, street signs, and road markings
- Bicyclists should choose routes with less traffic and slower speeds
- Assume drivers may have difficulty seeing you, and watch out for them
Things drivers can do to help prevent accidents with bikes or pedestrians at night include:
- Stay alert at all times
- Avoid driving while under the influence of alcohol or other substances
- Avoid any type of distractions, such as phone calls, text messages, GPS or radio
- Slow down whenever visibility is poor because of dimly lit roads or poor weather conditions
- Keep windshield clean and free of debris
Injuries in Pedestrian or Bike Accidents
Drivers are expected to drive responsibly at all times, including after dark. Whenever a pedestrian or bicyclist is hit by a car or truck, there is the potential for very serious injuries. These injuries can include broken bones, internal injuries, head injuries, spinal cord damage and more.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a pedestrian or bicycling accident caused by someone else’s negligence, consult an expert in the field of personal injury law. Taos Injury Lawyers are among the most highly talented lawyers in the United States. Fill out the form on our contact page, and one of our lawyers be in touch promptly to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.