Earlier this month, two fatal auto accidents occurred within less than 24 hours and two miles of each other, shedding light on the dangers that pedestrians and bicyclists face as they follow their paths every day.
On November 4, 14-year-old Victoria Cartwright was walking to Dakota High School in Macomb Township when she was struck by a car and killed. In the wee hours of the following morning, on November 5, 29-year-old restaurant worker Kevin Clay Fletcher was killed while riding his bicycle home from his job.
While investigations into both of these incidents are ongoing, some facts are clear: The accidents happened on some of the darkest mornings of the year; Cartwright appeared to have jaywalked in an area where there was no continuous sidewalk and no street lights; the Cartwright accident occurred just outside of a school speed zone area; the Fletcher accident was a hit and run and may have involved two vehicles and not just one vehicle and the bicyclist.
Preventing Auto Accident Collisions Bicyclists and Pedestrians
While the families of the victims must live with the loss of their loved ones, so too the drivers of the offending vehicles must live with the accidents they have caused. There is a serious problem with cars and bikes sharing the road. Bicycle accidents are completely avoidable, especially in areas where there are designated bike lanes. It is critical for bicyclists to respect the rules of the road and for motor vehicle operators to respect bikers as fellow drivers who are simply operating a different mode of transportation.
Auto accidents involving pedestrians are also entirely avoidable. It’s essential to be alert, particularly in school zones, poorly lit areas, and wherever there are crosswalks. There has been a flurry of community activity in Macomb, arguing for the installation of more crosswalks, more adequate lighting, and lower speed limits in school zones.
It is also necessary for drivers to pay attention to the road in front of them. That means doing their level best to avoid distracted driving, an order that is difficult for some drivers to observe, especially when pinging, ringing, and dinging smartphones are a temptation for nearly every driver.
The Job of Pedestrians
Certainly, pedestrians have the right of way. And bicyclists and cars are expected to kindly share the road. But that doesn’t exempt pedestrians and cyclists from paying careful attention to their surroundings and following the laws of the road as they make their way too.
Just as distracted driving is a serious issue, so is distracted walking. Many pedestrians walk about with their nose in their phone, texting or following their GPS or even playing Pokemon Go, ignoring street signs and traffic lights, expecting other pedestrians to carry them safely across a street or for drivers to pay the most attention. Be sure to look up every once in a while. Put the phone away while you walk so that you can look out for yourself, no matter how safe the street you’re walking on seems to be.