Who is Responsible When a Cyclist Hits a Pedestrian?
Cyclists aren’t the only victims in common cycling accidents. Sometimes pedestrians will be unlucky enough to be struck by a negligent bicyclist and be severely injured. In order to have their medical costs covered, the injured pedestrian would have to prove liability and identify the negligent party. However, insurance companies will pay the most attention to which party broke their respective duty of care before making a final decision on the claim.
Cyclist’s Duty of Care
In order to prove that a cyclist was responsible for injuring a pedestrian with their bike, the injured party must prove that the cyclist was acting in an irresponsible or negligent manner leading into the crash. The most common forms of cyclist negligence include:
- Rolling through a red light or stop sign
- Riding while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not wearing safety gear such as a helmet. Includes neglecting to use appropriate lighting while riding at night
- Not obeying traffic signs or laws
Cyclists should be aware that they are held to the same standard of responsibility as motor vehicle drivers when it comes to following their state traffic laws. In California, cyclists must stop at red lights just like any other driver and take care around pedestrian-heavy traffic. If a cyclist exhibited any of the behavior listed above, they may be liable for injuries that occurred during a bicycle-pedestrian-related accident.
Pedestrian’s Duty of Care
Pedestrians also uphold some responsibility while traveling. Not only must pedestrians utilize cross walks to cross busy streets, they must also adhere to traffic laws and be aware of their constantly changing environment. Common reasons for pedestrian negligence include:
- Ignoring traffic signals, signs, or rules
- Not using marked crosswalks
In some cases, the weather can impede a pedestrian’s vision, which could be used as a defense during the claims process. In general, pedestrians are responsible for being aware of their surroundings and utilizing the resources in place to cross roads safely. Cyclists involved in accidents with negligent pedestrians are advised to document as many details of their accident as possible to absolve themselves of liability.
If you’ve been struck by a cyclist and are unsure who is responsible for your injuries, give the experienced accident lawyers at Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger a call. We specialize in personal injury law. Contact us today to begin the process of moving forward with your personal injury lawsuit.