This past October, a young missionary from Charlotte was killed while riding his bicycle in California. Even though the recent high-school graduate was wearing a helmet, he died of his injuries. Despite bike safety awareness, bike collisions with motor vehicles are on the rise and so are fatalities. Between the months of January and July 2012, 14 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motor vehicles. By the end of the year, there were 22 pedestrian and cyclist fatalities.
Analysis by the NC Department of Transportation found that most pedestrian accidents happen uptown, and in low-income areas where people rely on walking to their destination or to get to public transportation. The community is demanding safer streets for our pedestrians and cyclists. Charlotte, along with other Sunbelt cities such as Phoenix and Orlando, expanded exponentially during the automobile age, meaning our city was built for cars. Charlotte’s goal is to build 375 miles of sidewalks by 2035, however, city planners are running into funding problems as the city council keeps rejecting spending plans. Municipalities across the country are trying to renovate their cities into bike and pedestrian-friendly communities while also tightening budgets in a tough economy. Local residents are urging lawmakers to be proactive instead of reactive. The City of Charlotte has a tendency to approve sidewalks and bike lanes in certain areas only after a cyclist or pedestrian was injured or killed in that area. Residents want to see safety measures enacted before someone is seriously injured or killed. Many of those killed are Charlotte’s youngest residents with promising futures.
After a catastrophic injury or death due to a collision with a motor vehicle, you may feel helpless and overwhelmed, or that you life has been turned upside down. What should you do? After immediately seeking medical attention, you may be able to file a civil suit against the negligent driver. However, adverse insurance companies will thoroughly investigate whether you, either the pedestrian or the cyclist, were abiding by North Carolina law. Jaywalkers that were hit by motorists will have a more difficult time proving negligence. The same goes for bicyclists that were not following road rules at the time of their accident.
The Charlotte bicycling attorneys at Auger & Auger have seen the kind of injuries a pedestrian or cyclist suffers after a collision with a motorist. We have also seen the lasting damage it can have on the lives of victims and family members. Our attorneys urge pedestrians and cyclists alike to exercise extreme caution when walking or bicycling on streets without sidewalks. Jaywalking is risky, especially in the technology age when many drivers are distracted by cell phones. In the event you or a loved was injured or suffered a wrongful death due to a driver’s negligence, we can help you navigate through this difficult time and recover the compensation you deserve for your loss.