Pedestrian Accidents Archives - Ellis Injury Law
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Car Accidents Versus Traffic Violence: Which Language Is More Accurate?

Destroyed windshield and front part of car after accident.

Despite efforts to reduce traffic accidents in the Los Angeles area, the number of accidents registered in 2019 appears to be about the same as the number in 2018 – evidence that the Vision Zero initiative, aimed at reducing traffic accidents to minimal levels, is not working as expected. Pedestrians were the victims in over 50% of fatal accidents in Los Angeles as of December 2019.

Yet the statistics have spurred an intriguing debate: is the way in which we speak of traffic accidents part of the problem? The word “accident” implies something that couldn’t be avoided. But some observers prefer the term “traffic violence,” especially when the victims are pedestrians or bicyclists hit by cars.

70% of Accidents Occur on 6% of Streets

“Accident” implies a random event. Yet the blunt fact is that 70% of serious and fatal accidents involving cars and pedestrians happen on just 6% of Los Angeles’s streets. This high-incident zone has been dubbed the High-Injury Network. The frequency and prevalence of serious accidents in the High-Injury Zone is not random; it’s predictable and mappable. This is why many observers feel that “accident” doesn’t cover the nature of what is happening.

Some also argue that to refer to car crashes as “accidents” makes it seem as if no one is ever at fault and that nothing can be done to prevent them.

The term “traffic violence” aims to turn the focus on the actions of drivers. The number one culprit in LA accidents is speeding. Some observers quoted in LAist note that speeding and other traffic violations need to be viewed as potentially violent acts – because, in the context of LA’s streets, they are. The shift in emphasis is not unlike what we have seen in regard to driving under the influence, which over the last four decades went from harmless party-related activity to a potentially criminal act with severe penalties.

A Different Perspective on Solutions

“Traffic violence” also shifts the notion of what can be done to prevent traffic incidents. Street design, traffic signals, and other potentially modifiable elements can be addressed to minimize the possibility of traffic violence. A decade ago, for example, the Federal Highway Administration found that HAWK pedestrian beacons can reduce accidents with pedestrians by almost 70%.

Other people, however, take issue with the term “traffic violence,” feeling that it implies that vehicle drivers set out to do violence. This is a crucial point of contention; some feel that a driver whose car hits a pedestrian should not necessarily be accused of an intentional act. Others quoted in LAist, however, say that the actions that led to the accident, such as speeding, were intentional. A choice was made to violate the speed limit. Others widen the scope of intentionality even more broadly, to include the design of city infrastructure that focuses exclusively on the demands of vehicle traffic rather than walkability.

Let a Los Angeles Car Accident Attorney Help

Whether you use the term “accident” or “traffic violence,” car crashes and pedestrian injuries and deaths continue to be a serious problem in Los Angeles. If you or a loved one has been in a southern California traffic accident, let Ellis Injury Law help you fight for justice. 

Please call today for a free initial appointment to discuss your case with an experienced and compassionate Los Angeles car accident attorney.

Additional Resources:

A Pedestrian Dies Every 90 Minutes in America

pedestrian accidents increasing in california

Pedestrian fatalities have dropped by over a third in places like the European Union and Japan, where cars are designed to produce less damage to pedestrians. Here, in America, the numbers have been climbing since 2010. Nearly 40,000 pedestrians died on US roadways from 2010-2017. The death toll is expected to exceed 6,000 for 2018, making it the deadliest year in three decades. A pedestrian dies every 90 minutes – mainly in lower-income, minority neighborhoods that rely on bipedal and public transportation to get to work.

Why Are Pedestrian Deaths Increasing?

  • We’re driving more.
  • Drivers and pedestrians are distracted by smartphones.
  • Broad, five and six-lane roads with high-speed limits account for the main travel arteries.
  • Travel navigation apps and devices increasingly send motorists down these main arteries.
  • There is a lack of median islands, sufficient lighting, sidewalks, and obstruction-free turns.
  • Requests for safety improvements in dangerous intersections go largely ignored.

Despite Vision Zero, L.A. Lags Behind

Vision Zero is a transportation safety initiative first implemented in Sweden and now employed by major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Orlando, and New York. The idea is that traffic deaths are preventable through a systems-based approach that lowers speed limits and separates pedestrians from traffic with barriers.

In New York, pedestrian deaths dropped 45% since implementing Vision Zero, with more than 350 safety engineering projects completed from 2013 to 2017. San Francisco saw a 41% drop in traffic fatalities over the same time period. Los Angeles, however, has seen an 80% increase in pedestrian deaths since 2017. Even though hundreds of projects have been completed, Los Angeles struggles with wide, multi-lane roadways to accommodate the influx of motorists.

If Not Roadway Re-Engineering, What About Cars?

Another option would be to adopt the EU safety standards for auto manufacturers. European-sold vehicles have redesigned vehicle front ends with softer bumpers, repositioned engine components, and raised the heights of hoods to cushion the impact of pedestrian heads and legs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says these improvements have “likely contributed to a downward trend in pedestrian fatalities in Europe and Japan,” but adds that pedestrian safety regulations fail to pass a cost-benefit analysis.

Lawsuits Put Pressure On Policymakers To Act

Citizens affected by pedestrian accidents can do more than create memorials that remind motorists to slow down and save a life. They can file lawsuits, placing pressure on city officials to design safer roadways. With the help of a qualified pedestrian accident lawyer, They can sue maintenance personnel who failed to clear brush from intersections or maintain working lights. They can sue auto manufacturers for failing to design cars to standards they know can save lives. They can sue other drivers who are preoccupied with smartphones, drinking and driving, or who are simply not paying attention.

Ellis Injury Law understands the heartache of placing a wreath of roses at the site of a terrible tragedy. For decades, we have helped grieving family members and survivors with devastating injuries like head trauma, broken bones, organ perforations, and permanent disabilities obtain compensation to afford better care.

Our consultations are always FREE OF CHARGE, and we ask for NO MONEY UPFRONT. Our clients only pay for legal services IF and WHEN we recover money on their behalf. You have nothing to lose by calling an experienced and compassionate car accident lawyer at our firm to explore your options.  

Additional Resources:

Crossing Guard Killed in Simi Valley Crash

emergency vehiclesA crossing guard died in Simi Valley on December 18 after being hit by a vehicle that jumped the curb after a collision involving 3 cars. The woman, 62, was apparently setting up safety equipment to help children cross the street at about 2 p.m. near the intersection of Los Angeles Avenue and Socrates Avenue when the accident occurred. She was taken immediately to a local hospital and died shortly after arrival.

The crossing guard’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. Neighbors noted, however, that she was a vibrant woman who had recently retired and was simply helping out a coworker that day.

Second Accident in Area Involving a Crossing Guard During Year

The accident occurred near Arroyo Elementary School in Simi Valley. The Simi Valley Police Department is still investigating the causes of the accident. Tire tracks of the blue Chevy Cruz that jumped the curb were visible on the lawn where the guard was struck.

The Simi Valley Unified School District issued a reminder that drivers need to drive safely in and around the neighborhood’s schools.

This is the second accident involved a crossing guard this year in the school district. The first victim survived.

Police have asked that anyone with information concerning the crash, including videos or other images, contact them.

If You Want to Talk to a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer

Accidents like this in the Los Angeles area show how dangerous car accidents can be both to motorists and pedestrians. People can be injured or killed by direct collisions, the choices of other drivers, and even while being a bystander to an accident.

The Ellis Law Firm has two decades of experience in investigating and litigating car accidents in Southern California. If you want to discuss your car accident or pedestrian accident, call a car accident lawyer at Ellis Injury Law at 310-641-3335 today.

All initial consultations are free.

Additional Resources:

  1. Klemack, John Cádiz and Shahan Ahmed. Crossing Guard Killed in 3-Car Crash Near Elementary School in Simi Valley. NBC Los Angeles. December 18, 2018.
  2. Spillabotte, Victoria. Crossing guard struck and killed in 3-vehicle crash in Simi Valley. Fox LA. December 18, 2018.

Woman Fatally Hit Looking for Dog During Early Morning Hours

A 27-year-old woman out looking for a dog was hit and killed by a passing car in Panorama City on October 8. The accident happened shortly before 3 a.m. The driver, a 21-year-old man, remained at the scene and was tested for alcohol.

Police indicated that neither alcohol nor speed seemed to have been a factor, however. Footage of the car shown on CBS news, however, indicated that the area was very dark at that time in the morning. The accident occurred in the 8200 block of Burnet Avenue.

The woman appeared to have been looking for a neighbor’s dog, which has since been found. Neither her name nor the name of the driver has been released.

Family members of the woman were alerted immediately about the accident by a witness. Some of them approached the driver. Police were called to maintain order.

Pedestrian Accidents on Rise

The tragedy highlights a recent spike in pedestrians being killed by car accidents. Between 2006 and 2016, the number of pedestrians fatally struck by a vehicle climbed 12%. During 2015, the last year for which statistics are available, 5,376 pedestrians were killed by cars nationwide — 15 people every day.

Liability in Pedestrian Accidents

While it’s not possible to comment on what caused the October 8 accident, certain comments can be made about liability in pedestrian crashes.

In any accident, motorists and pedestrians are both responsible for obeying the rules of the road, any laws, and regulations. Motorists must drive safely, for example, keeping an eye out for pedestrians as well as other cars. The vehicle’s safety equipment, such as headlights and horn, must be in proper working order. The drivers must obey the speed limit. Pedestrians have the right of way if they are crossing a street.

Pedestrians must follow the rules of the road, laws, and regulations as well. They should cross the street in designated areas if there is one. They should walk on a road on the shoulder or the edge, in the same direction as the traffic.

In addition, pedestrians are urged as a safety measure to wear bright or white clothing and reflective material so they may be seen. It is also a safety measure to carry a flashlight at night so they can be seen. Pedestrians should watch out for cars and be aware of traffic patterns.

A court may find either driver or pedestrian negligent in an accident if they have not followed rules of the road, laws, regulations, and basic safety precautions. In addition, of course, neither should have been drinking. A court may also determine that each party is negligent to some degree. If this happens, any monetary damages one party receives may be reduced by the percentage they are deemed liable for the accident.

If You Need to Contact a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

The Ellis Law Firm aggressively represents victims of car accidents in the Los Angeles area. If you or a loved one has been hurt or killed as a result of injuries caused by a car in a pedestrian accident, or other type of accident, please contact us today at 310-641-3335. We have two decades of experience in California law.

Our consultation is free. We will perform a thorough case review and advise you of your rights. We will fight for those rights.

Additional Resources:

  1. Woman Struck, Killed by Car While Looking for Dog in Panorama City. CBS Los Angeles. October 8, 2018.
  2. Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Fact Sheets.
  3. Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. Safety Tips for Pedestrians.

How Trick or Treaters Can Stay Safe on Halloween

Little children in Halloween costumesFor a child, Halloween is an exciting time to get dressed up and acquire as much sugary loot as possible. But for parents, Halloween can be a bit scary. They know that, in the midst of the goblins and witches roaming the streets lurks a real danger: The potential for pedestrian accidents. Compared to other days of the year, twice as many young pedestrians are killed on Halloween. That’s according to Safe Kids Worldwide, which also notes that about 12% of kids five years of age and younger are allowed to go trick or treating without their parents.

How old is old enough to go out alone?

One of the most effective ways to keep your child safe on Halloween is to go out trick or treating together. You know your child best. Consider your child’s maturity level and awareness of traffic hazards when deciding how old is old enough for your child to go out without you. Generally, it’s recommended that all kids ages 12 and younger be accompanied by an adult.

How can parents choose the safest possible costumes?

There are a lot of safety hazards to consider when choosing a Halloween costume, including flammability and whether toxic materials are a concern. But in terms of traffic safety, the number one consideration is visibility. Choose a costume with lighter colors and add reflective tape. You can also give your child a glow stick, but only if your child is old enough not to bite it. Hundreds of children have been treated in the ER for ingesting the fluid inside glow sticks. Another option is a string of blinking LED lights that is intended to be worn around the neck.

Talking about traffic safety with your child

Before every Halloween, sit down with your child for a traffic safety talk. No matter how old your child is or whether you’re going out together, your child can benefit from being reminded of the potential hazards. Remind your child to always travel on the sidewalks, look both ways before crossing a street, and assume that drivers can’t see them. Your child should also know that Halloween is a prime time for drunk driving. Even if your child is crossing at a red light, your child must wait for an approaching car to completely stop—just in case the driver is impaired and runs the stop light.

What to do next if your child was injured

The serious injury of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Always rush your child to the ER or call 911 right away. Even if your child insists that he or she isn’t seriously injured, there could be internal injuries that you can’t detect.

When the dust has settled and you’re starting to think about holding the responsible party accountable for their negligent or reckless actions, Ellis Injury Law is here to help. Our car accident lawyers in Los Angeles are seasoned litigators who routinely handle pedestrian accident lawsuits. We can help your family move forward from the accident by seeking compensation on your behalf. Call today 888-675-8254 to request a free consultation.

Additional resources for pedestrian safety on Halloween:

  1. Safe Kids Worldwide, Quick Tips for a Safe Halloween,
  2. National Safety Council, Halloween Safety On and Off the Road,

Five Ways Joggers Can Stay Safe on the Road

Fitness male running outdoors during sunset.Runners are a tenacious group of athletes. Inclement weather, darkness, and routine road hazards will never keep determined joggers from completing their daily runs.

The pedestrian accident lawyers at Ellis Law Corporation in Los Angeles respect the efforts that runners make to exercise outside in any conditions. When runners are sidelined in pedestrian accidents with careless motorists, we fight to get runners the compensation they need to rehabilitate from injuries and to get back on the road as quickly as is possible.

The great majority of runners know that they can increase their own personal safety by wearing bright clothing that is more visible to drivers and by running against traffic. Runners can further increase their own safety by following these five guidelines.

Tell Someone Your Planned Route if You Are Running Alone

If you give someone else information about where you plan to run and you do not return from your run within a reasonable amount of time, that person will have a much better opportunity to find you if you have experienced a problem. Running may be a solitary endeavor, but you do not forfeit any of the solitude of a run if you disclose your planned route to somebody else. You can also track your run in real time with apps on your smart phone, and allow your friends to see your route as it progresses.

Carry Identification and a Bit of Cash

If you get lost or you experience a mishap, your ID will help first responders to reconnect you with your friends and loved ones. Cash or a payment card will help you to get back home if you suffer an injury that prevents you from running.

Be Extra Careful on Hills

Hills are the bane of many runners for reasons other than safety, but runners should never ignore the safety hazards that a hill might also present. Drivers are unable to see anything on the other side of a hill as they approach its crest. If you are approaching the crest of a hill, take extra precautions to avoid drivers who are coming up the other side of that hill.

Turn Off the Music

Music and podcasts might motivate runners through their daily workouts, but the earbuds that runners wear will also block out traffic sounds that might alert runners to potential safety hazards. Use your earbuds when you are running on trails or in other areas that are not accessible to cars, but leave them at home if you have to run in areas that have a high traffic density.

Run With a Group

The popularity of running has spawned running clubs throughout southern California and the United States. Almost every runner can find a group that matches his or her running abilities and that have organized fun runs and group events at all times of the year. Runners may prefer to run alone, but there will always be strength in numbers where safety is a consideration.

Call the Ellis Law Corporation to Get Back on the Road After a Jogger Accident

California’s respective car and running cultures are often at odds with each other. A runner is no match for the bulk and momentum of an automobile in a pedestrian accident. If you have been struck by a car while you were running in Los Angeles or elsewhere in southern California, call the L.A. pedestrian accident lawyers at the Ellis Law Corporation for an analysis of any claims you may have against the driver that caused the accident. We will review all of the facts of your jogger accident and, if warranted, we will fight to recover the highest amount of compensation that may be available to reimburse your medical and rehabilitation expenses and any other damages that you might have suffered.

Additional Resources:

  1. 11 Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads.
  2. 6 Running Safety Tips.
  3. 6 Ways to Stay Safe When You’re Running Alone.

The Best Running Gear 2018

Fitness male running outdoors during sunset.Runners in southern California are very fortunate that they can indulge all year around. It makes for great fitness levels, whether you run along the beach, in the Los Angeles hills, or just get your running cardio in around your neighborhood.

What’s the best gear and accessories for runners this year? There are as many opinions as there are runners, but here is a list of some top gear, tech, and accessories.

Two Great Shoes

Every summer, the online edition of Outside tells its readers the top picks for running shoes. This year, the top 2 picks are the Saucony Peregrine 8 and the Invo8 Talon 290.

The Saucony Peregrine 8 is rated highly because it returns energy for the energy you expend. It is particularly recommended for technical trails and mud – yes, mud. It does rain here, and running can be slow going when it comes.

Do you run on hard-packed ground, in the hills or earth baked hard? Then the Talon 290 is for you. Best for flat to moderate grades, where the feel is described as “buttery.”

A Place for Your Heart Monitor…and Your Phone

Checking their heart rate before and after is something runners commonly want to do. They may or may not want to check their phone after a run. But, let’s face it, a phone is convenient. Plus, it’s a way to plan your route, call for aid if you ever need it, and take pictures upon attaining the summit.

The way to have both a heart monitor and a place to carry a phone is the Shapeheart Armband, one of the year’s best tech offerings.

The Shapeheart’s case is magnetic, so getting the phone out is very convenient.

An Accessory to Carry Almost Everything

Fanny packs have been with us forever, but they aren’t great during a run. They bounce up and down and can be annoying.

Enter the FlipBelt. It’s a carrying case you wear, but it’s flat and therefore doesn’t bounce. You can also carry a phone in this, as well as cash or credit cards. You can even buy bottles of water that have been designed to fit in the FlipBelt.

All you have to do is simply pull the fabric tube up around your waist, fill it with anything and everything you may need on a run – credit card, phone, energy gels, emergency change – then flip it over. Just like that you have everything you need conveniently tucked around your waist.

If You Need a Pedestrian Accident Lawyer in Los Angeles

Running in southern California can be a dream. But it’s not a dream if you or a loved one is injured by a vehicle, bicycle, motorcycle, or even by a pothole. Other vehicles and unforeseen conditions can cause pedestrian accidents, despite safety precautions.

Ellis Injury Law has been successfully litigating pedestrian accidents in Los Angeles for over two decades. Let us help you if you have been injured while running or walking.

Contact us today at 310-641-3335 for a complementary consultation with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in LA. We will advise you about your case at no cost to you.

Additional Resources:

  1. Alger, Kieran. “Best running gadgets 2018: the top fitness tech to help you run better.” TechRadar, January 24, 2018.
  2. Nyberg, Justin. “The Best Trail Running Shoes of Summer 2018.” Outside Online. July 3, 2018.

“Frightening” Pedestrian-Car Accident at LAX Sends 2 to the Hospital

ambulanceA car suddenly swerved out of a lane at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Thursday, June 21, hitting a person sitting on one of the benches in the terminal.

LAX police noted that neither the driver, who was alone in the car, or the person hit was seriously hurt. Both were listed in stable condition, and the pedestrian was being examined for cuts or bruises.

While the investigation is currently ongoing, police believe that the driver may have swerved due to a medical condition.

Observers said that the car made a frightening bump when it hit the bench and the pedestrian. The vehicle, a Toyota Prius, had a crumpled passenger side.

Negligence in Accidents Between Cars and Pedestrians

It’s not possible to know the causes of this particular accident since the investigation is still ongoing. It is, however, possible to make some general observations about the law that surrounds vehicles and pedestrians in the state of California. The person sitting on the bench would be classified as a pedestrian because that person was on the side of a roadway.

Drivers have a duty of reasonable care when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle, to everyone. That includes fellow drivers, their passengers, other vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists. Reasonable care includes following the rules of the road, paying attention to traffic conditions, climate conditions, and any other factors which could affect driving conditions and safety.

Pedestrians are expected to follow the rules pertaining to them. They should not dart into areas reserved for moving cars, for example. If there are crosswalks or pedestrian stop signs, pedestrians need to follow them. If there are designated areas for pedestrians, such as terminal benches, they should use them.

In legal cases, one party can bring suit against another if injuries or death has been caused in an accident. One party may be found responsible for damages if they are deemed negligent by the court. “Negligent” means they didn’t exercise reasonable care. A driver going at 50 mph in a 25-mph zone, for example, could be found negligent because exceeding the speed limit failed to exercise reasonable care.

Call an Experienced Car and Pedestrian Accident Lawyer

There are far too many accidents involving cars and pedestrians in Los Angeles. If you or a loved one ever need a seasoned pedestrian accident attorney in southern California, call the attorneys at the Ellis Injury Law Firm. We have successfully litigated cases like these for 2 decades, winning maximum compensation for our clients. Trust in our track record — we have won 99% of the cases we take on! Please call today at 310-641-3335 for a free initial consultation.

Additional Resources:

  1. ABC 7 Eyewitness News. Car swerves off road, injures pedestrian at LAX. June 21, 2018.
  2. Car swerves off road, injures pedestrian at LAX. Inglewood Today. June 21, 2018.

46% Surge in Pedestrian Deaths Alarms Public Safety Advocates

risk factors for pedestrian accidents

The reputable Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released a paper studying the rise in pedestrian fatalities during 2009 to 2016. The authors found that, during this short time period, 46% more pedestrians lost their lives in accidents compared to previous years. The surge in fatalities is alarming to public safety advocates, some of whom have suggested technological and road design improvements that may help curb this rising trend.

Public safety study reveals alarming safety failures

The study authors evaluated data extracted from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and General Estimates System. They examined the linear progression of changes during the study period in both pedestrian deaths per 100 crash involvements and in horsepower per 1,000 pounds of weight. Poisson regression was examined to evaluate factors such as roadway, environmental, personal, and vehicle.

The results indicated that, during the study period, pedestrian deaths reached their low period in 2010. From 2010 to 2015, pedestrian deaths per 100 crash involvements increased 29%. During the entire study period, the largest increase in pedestrian deaths occurred in urban regions. This represented a 54% increase. On arterial roadways, there was a 67% increase in deaths, and at non-intersections, there was a 50% increase in deaths. Crashes in dark conditions increased too, with a 56% rise in fatalities. Additionally, the number of SUV involved in fatal pedestrian accidents increased by 82%.

Suggestions for safety improvements

The authors at the IIHS concluded their study by suggesting that transportation agencies focus their efforts on areas that represented the greatest increases in pedestrian fatalities. Specifically, the authors recommended that urban arterials be improved by road diets, median crossing islands, pedestrian hybrid beacons, and automated speed enforcement. The visibility of pedestrians during nighttime hours could be enhanced with better vehicle headlights and better roadway lighting.

Pedestrian fatalities in California: A look at the recent statistics

Here in Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti recently launched a high-profile campaign to end traffic fatalities entirely. The overall number of traffic fatalities, including pedestrian deaths, has indeed fallen slightly. Recent statistics show that during 2017, there were 244 traffic fatalities, including drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This is a six percent decline in traffic accident deaths.

However, pedestrian fatalities have surged in Los Angeles. In 2015, 74 pedestrians were killed on the city’s streets. During 2017, that number increased to 134.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Mayor Garcetti said, “Every life is important and we must keep pushing to do better. Safety is our top priority, and we will continue to set bold goals.”

Were you affected by a pedestrian accident in southern California?

At Ellis Injury Law, our pedestrian accident lawyers in Los Angeles provide vigorous legal advocacy services to victims and their families. We firmly believe that one life lost is one too many, and we’ll do everything possible to help your family pursue justice in the court system. We invite victims or their family members to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation case review at our law firm. Call us toll-free at 888-828-5603 or fill out the contact form on our website.

Additional resources about pedestrian accidents

  1. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, An examination of the increases in pedestrian motor vehicle crash fatalities during 2009–16,
  2. Los Angeles Times, Pedestrian deaths surge in L.A., overall traffic fatalities down slightly,

When Bicycles Hit Pedestrians: Who’s to Blame?

The number of bicyclists in Southern California has grown significantly as more people use this eco-friendly mode of transport for daily commutes and healthy recreation. Although biking is a relatively easy activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, accidents can and do happen. There are weekend warriors who casually pedal in the wrong lanes, occasionally ignoring crosswalk signals, stop signs or encroaching on sidewalks earmarked for foot traffic. And then there’s the dilemma of shared spaces – pathways that are used by both bicyclists and walkers. 

When a cyclist hits a pedestrian and injuries result, who’s to blame? In accidents where property damage and physical harm are involved, it all comes down to who breached their respective duty of care. Just because you were the knocked-down pedestrian or bicyclist does not – in and of itself– establish fault. In these cases, insurance companies and the court determine liability based on laws of negligence.

Was the bicyclist traveling too fast, approaching the pedestrian from behind without adequate warning? Or was the pedestrian busy texting on their phone when they stepped in the cyclist’s path? Both parties must exercise a reasonable amount of attention and awareness to their surroundings – a concept known as “duty of care.”

Duty of care for pedestrians

Pedestrians owe a certain duty of care to others who are sharing the roadways or sidewalks. They are expected to exercise caution to avoid accident and injury. Distraction plays a large role in bicyclist-pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians who are engaged in conversation, walking their dogs, texting or listening to music, are at greater risk for an accident.

Other instances of pedestrian negligence:

  • Walking while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • Jaywalking despite oncoming traffic
  • Failing to use marked crossroads
  • Not walking in designated pedestrian areas

Duty of care for bicyclists

Bicyclists, just like pedestrians, are under a duty to exercise the same level of caution to prevent accident or injury to others.

A cyclist may be found negligent if they:

  • Ride in pedestrian-only zones
  • Violate traffic rules
  • Ride distracted
  • Ride under the influence
  • Ride without proper lighting at night
  • Travel above the posted speed limit
  • Fail to make their presence known (ringing a bell, etc.)

Bicycle-pedestrian accidents in California

Recent data on bicyclist-pedestrian collisions in California is sparse. The most recent study, published in the journal of Safety Research, indicates a downward trend in these accidents. Between 2005-2011, 6,177 pedestrians in California were involved in accidents with cyclists. The majority suffered injuries to the neck and head and were treated on an outpatient basis. Not everyone escapes serious injury, however.

In 2016, a reckless bicyclist knocked down an elderly woman who was using a marked crosswalk on the LA River Path. It was a hit-and-run accident that left the 64-year-old woman with severe injuries requiring hospitalization and surgery.

Superior legal advocacy in Los Angeles

Establishing negligence in a pedestrian-cyclist crash requires the investigative prowess of an experienced attorney. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the Ellis Law Firm has a long track record of success handling personal injury claims in Southern California.  Our award-winning team is committed to achieving the compensation our clients need and deserve. To discuss your case with an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer free of charge, call 310-641-3335. 

Additional Resources on Pedestrian -Bicycle Collisions:

  1. Cycling Weekly, New debate over who’s to blame as cyclist and pedestrian collide
  2. VeloSurance, What you need to know about cycling accidents with pedestrians
  3. NHTSA, Pedestrian Safety
  4. com, The Rate of Pedestrians Injured by Bicyclists Is Going Down