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North Carolina’s Serious Pedestrian & Bicycle Accident Problem

Dan Brian   |  March 30, 2016   |  

The biggest threat to bicyclists and pedestrians on North Carolina’s roads are cars. Motor vehicles, which weigh thousands of pounds and can crush a body within seconds, continue to endanger those on their bikes and on their feet in North Carolina and other areas of the U.S.

Pedestrians and cyclists have the right to seek damages after they have been in an accident caused by the negligence of a motorist. If you are involved in a bike or pedestrian accident in North Carolina, turn to the trusted attorneys at Riddle & Brantley, LLP.

Statistics About Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

It is not just the state of North Carolina that should be concerned about the increase of pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents. The entire nation should be on alert. An article published by Reuters highlights a study that found pedestrian deaths from car accidents surged more last year than they had in the following four decades, and now account for a total of about 15 percent of all U.S. fatalities from traffic accidents.

Co-author of the study, Richard Retting, told Reuters reporters that, “We are projecting the largest year-to- year increase in pedestrian fatalities since national records have been kept, and therefore we are quite alarmed.”

The trend is no different in North Carolina, where pedestrian accident fatalities are more common than in most other states in the nation. The North Carolina Department of Transportation says that there are more than 2,400 pedestrians hit by cars every year in the state, making it one of the most unsafe for walkers.

Those who are on bikes face just as many dangers as do those who choose to get around on just two feet. PedBikeInfo.org reports that in a single year, more than 700 people lost their lives in bicycle crashes in the U.S. What’s more, the number of estimated bicyclist injuries was 48,000 that same year. The fact that bicyclists account for only 1 percent of all trips taken in the United States, but account for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, is cause for concern.

Why Pedestrian and Bicycle Crashes Are Increasing

Despite more safety measures in place in many cities across the U.S., including those in North Carolina, the rates of accidents are increasing. This fact has left many scratching their heads and wondering why more people are being killed, and what can be done to mitigate the problem. Some things that may contribute to the rise in North Carolina pedestrian accidents and bike accidents include:

  • Healthy economy. According to the Reuters article, one reason why more people are being hit has to do with more cars on the road, which is the result – in part – of a healthy economy. When more people are employed, more people need to commute for work. Further, lower gas prices encourage people to drive more. The more traffic, the more congestion, and the more accidents.
  • More teens on the road. The good economy has put more money in the hands of parents. Many of these parents have chosen to spend that money on purchasing cars for their teens, resulting in more teen drivers on the road. However well intentioned teens are, one cannot argue with the fact that teens are more inexperienced, and therefore more of a hazard behind the wheel.
  • More people traveling by foot and by bike. In an effort to improve the health of its citizens, mitigate the effects of harmful greenhouse gases, and relieve traffic jams, many cities have incentivized alternative modes of transportation. This means more people are biking to work, or walking to the grocery store, etc., than ever before. More people walking or biking means more accidents, statistically speaking.
  • More distracted driving. Almost everyone these days has a smartphone. While these phones can seemingly do it all, they do not keep us safe when driving. Rather, the distractions they create can be deadly. Distraction.gov estimates that distracted driving crashes killed more than 3,179 people in 2014. It’s not just drivers who are guilty of being distracted. Walkers and bikers may look at their phones, too.
  • Growing cities. The state of North Carolina is growing in infrastructure and population. This means a couple of things, like more construction zones (which can be dangerous for people using all forms of transportation) and more people on the roads in general.
  • Lack of safe walking or biking areas. While many cities have made more of an effort to increase the number of safe areas that bicyclists and pedestrians can use, there are still far too few bike lanes and other pedestrian or bike-only paths that are free from traffic. Creating more bike lanes and protected bike lanes could certainly help reduce the number of devastating accidents that occur each year.

What to Do after a Pedestrian or Bicyclist Accident

Injured persons in a bike or pedestrian accident have the right to file claims for damages, or file a lawsuit in order to recover the compensation that they deserve from the at-fault parties. When accidents result in fatalities, any surviving family members can bring a claim on the behalf of the deceased persons.

How Our Attorneys Can Help You

Bicycle and pedestrian accidents have tragic consequences. While nothing can change the fact that your accident occurred, our Pedestrian accident attorneys at the law firm of Riddle & Brantley, LLP, will advocate for you to help you get every penny that you need to compensate you for your economic and noneconomic losses. To learn more about our services, schedule your free case consultation today by filling out our online form.