Right of Way – Sharing the Road with Pedestrians and Cyclists

Post By Corey Heit

When it comes to navigating the roadways, everyone has equal rights. Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians each deserve their equal share of the street. All three of these respective travelers have the same rights, restrictions and responsibilities. However, it is the duty of the dominant party, the motorist, to obey the laws with heightened diligence and to exercise greater awareness.

Sharing the Road

During your commute, try to realize that bicyclists are actually doing you a favor. While a bicyclist may be a slight nuisance, they take up a very minor part of your trip.  A person riding a bicycle means that there is one less car on the road. A bicycle rider does not emit pollution or contribute to further traffic congestion.

As the operator of a motor vehicle, you must practice empathy for a bicyclist or a pedestrian. Make sure to humanize them by placing yourself in their shoes. Do not drive with entitlement or disregard the rights that a bicyclist or a pedestrian possesses. Also, do not ascribe bad behavior to a particular mode of transport. By expressing empathy, you are able to travel with caution and ensure a safe transportation environment.

Bicyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable compared to automobile drivers. As a motorist, you must be aware of all road conditions and pay attention to potential situations that may arise. Being aware of road conditions minimizes the likelihood of crashes or collisions. Only pass riders when it is safe to do so and make sure to check your blind spots regularly. Follow at an appropriate distance and err on the side of caution while sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians.

Bicyclists and pedestrians should travel with the flow of traffic while remaining defensive and attentive. An easy way to avoid disaster is to wear proper gear. Create a notice of your presence with reflective apparel and bright articles of clothing.

Here are a few common tips for everyone who shares the road:

  • Reduce speed
  • When in doubt, yield and extend common courtesies
  • Allow for a safety buffer
  • Always check blind spots
  • Adjust according to weather
  • Announce presence by making eye contact

Drivers Must Exercise Discretion

Drivers have an increased responsibility to ensure pedestrians are safe on the road. They are expected to be aware of and avoid all hazards while driving. This means that most accidents involving a pedestrian-vehicle crash are the fault of the automobile driver.

In accidents that involve children, there is an additional responsibility for drivers. Vehicle operators can be held liable in an accident involving a child even if they follow normal driving procedures. Around children pedestrians, drivers are expected to exercise extra caution and attentiveness.

If you are a victim of a pedestrian accident, it is important to first exchange information at the scene. If necessary, seek medical help. Insurance adjusters normally assume that if you do not seek immediate medical care that you were not seriously hurt. Regarding legal matters, reach out to a pedestrian accident lawyer in Columbus, Ohio.

The statute of limitations for an action involving bodily injury is two years. Make sure to act urgently, so that the wheels of justice can be set into motion as quickly as possible. Heit Law is the bicycle accident attorney in Columbus, Ohio that will fight for your rights, whether you are at fault in the accident or merely an innocent victim. You can reach us by phone at 614-898-5300, toll free from anywhere in Ohio at 877-898-HEIT (4348) or via email to schedule a free initial consultation.

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