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How motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians can share the road legally and safely

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents |

According to whyy.org, the year 2020 was the worst year for fatal car crashes since 1997. The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) confirmed and recorded 111 deaths from January 2020 to October 2020 with 8 additional deaths to be added pending investigation.

Unofficial statistics from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia tallies 120 deaths in 2020 which included more recent events not yet in the PPD’s official tally.

Out of all fatalities, 60% of those were drivers and passengers of motor vehicles and 40% of those were pedestrians and bicyclists that were struck and killed by motor vehicle operators. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia reported 42 pedestrian deaths.

In 2019, according to Vision Zero, 319 bicyclists were hit by cars in Philadelphia and two were killed. While walking, 1,584 pedestrians were hit by cars and 28 were killed in these accidents.

Tips for motorists

Here are some PennDOT safety tips to consider. 

  • It is illegal to force a bicyclist off the road and violators may face criminal charges. 
  • When passing a bicyclist, motorists must allow at least four feet between their vehicle and the bicycle. 
  • Motorists should check for bicyclists in mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes and at intersections, as bicycles are small and may be difficult to see.

Tips for bicyclists

Here are some bicycle safety and share the road tips from PennDOT:

  • Wear a properly fitted helmet 
  • Obey all traffic laws, including but not limited to, riding on the right side of the road, abiding by traffic signs and signals and using turn signals. 
  • Travel at less than the posted minimum speed. And, additionally, bicyclists may operate on a shoulder or berm but are not required to do so.

Tips for pedestrians

Pedestrians, like bicyclists, are vulnerable on the road and must practice safe behaviors while walking.  Here’s how:

  • Wear light-colored or reflective clothing for high visibility.
  • Make eye contact with motorists and look both ways before crossing the street.
  • Avoid distractions while walking. Many people get into the habit of looking at their phones while walking, which takes their focus away from what is ahead as well as oncoming traffic.  Just as motorists should not drive distracted, pedestrians should not walk while distracted.

If you have questions or have been injured in an accident, contact an experienced lawyer.