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Pedestrian accidents: common questions

If you are one of our New Jersey readers, you know that pedestrians, including bicyclists, can be found on sidewalks throughout the state. In bigger cities, it is common for people to walk or ride a bike as opposed to driving their own vehicle.

Nobody thinks they will ever be involved in a pedestrian accident, but this could happen when you least expect it. Even if you are obeying the rules of the road and attempting to avoid trouble, the driver of a motor vehicle could make a mistake.

Here are two of the most common questions pertaining to pedestrian and bicycle accidents:

-- Are bicyclists allowed to share the road with other motor vehicles? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, "In all 50 states, bicyclists are either considered vehicles or have the same rights and responsibilities as the operator of a motor vehicle."

-- How can streets be designed to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on many factors, including location, traffic volume, and speed limits. On top of this, even the most well designed roads cannot account for human error.

As a pedestrian or bicyclist, there are steps you can take to improve your safety and avoid being part of an accident. The same holds true for motor vehicle drivers, including those of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and buses.

If a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, he or she should receive immediate medical care. From there, there may come a time when consulting with an attorney makes sense.

Source: Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, "Frequently Asked Questions" Jan. 07, 2015

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