The summer months are peak vacation time. This means that more tourists are in town, and more pedestrians and cyclists can be seen on crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 54% of car accidents happen during the spring and summer months. Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities amount to about 16 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Some of the most catastrophic types of traffic accidents happen when a motorist hits a pedestrian or a bicycle. Without the protection of being in a car, a pedestrian or a cyclist can easily suffer devastating injuries in a crash.
Bike Traffic Laws
Both North Carolina and South Carolina have traffic laws that deal with bike and pedestrian traffic while driving on the road. Bikes must follow the same traffic laws as drivers in vehicles when navigating the roadways.
- Motorists and cyclists must obey all stop lights or stop signs.
- Cyclists must use bike lanes and streets for traveling and are not allowed on sidewalks.
- It’s illegal for motorists to drive or park in a bike lane.
- Drivers are permitted to pass cyclists, but they must give 4 feet of space on the side.
- Cyclists must use hand signals to signal turns or if they are stopping.
- Reflectors are required to be on the front and back of a bike.
- While not a law, cyclists should wear bright colored clothes to be seen by motorists.
A cyclist has as much right to the road as does a motorist. Except for moving to the far-right lane, it is not the cyclist’s responsibility to stop or get out of the way. A driver who causes a crash with cyclist can be fined. The amount of the fines varies depending on the infraction.
Pedestrian Traffic Laws
Every two hours, a pedestrian is killed in a car accident. To keep themselves safe, pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings when walking near the road. A few guidelines to consider include:
- Always walk on the sidewalk if one is available.
- If there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on far left of the road that is facing oncoming traffic.
- Maintain eye contact with motorists.
- Make sure to look both ways before crossing the street.
- Cross only at intersections or crosswalks.
- Yield the right-of-way to vehicles if there is no crosswalk.
- Follow directional signs, such as Walk/Don’t Walk.
- Confirm that the road you intend to cross is clear before continuing.
- Avoid wearing headphones or talking on cell phones.
- Do not walk while intoxicated or impaired.
Unfortunately, even if you follow all of the rules as a pedestrian, you may still be hurt in an accident if a driver is careless or negligent. If you’ve been hurt, you have the right to explore your legal options and should consult an attorney as soon as you are able.
Hurt in a Bicycle or Pedestrian Accident? We Can Help
An accident can change your life forever. If you have been severely injured in a bike or pedestrian accident, we may be able to help you. The law firm of Grimes Teich Anderson LLP has almost 40 years years of experience representing clients throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, including Asheville, Waynesville, Franklin, Greenville, Spartanburg, and surrounding communities.
As experienced car accident lawyers, we can help you in obtaining the benefits to which you may be entitled for your injury including medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses so you can focus on healing and recovery. Contact us at (800) 533-6845 for a free consultation.