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Why drivers hit pedestrians and cyclists in traffic

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Personal Injury

Collisions between vehicles often lead to severe injuries and property damage losses. When a car hits someone who is on a bike or just walking on the road, the resulting collision often causes severe or possibly fatal injuries.

Occasionally, pedestrians and cyclists cause these crashes by making bad decisions. They may step out into traffic without checking for oncoming vehicles, which results in a tragedy. However, many pedestrian collisions and cyclist crashes most often occur while someone who is not traveling via a motorized vehicle is following traffic safety laws. Instead, it is a mistake by someone in a motor vehicle that causes the crash rather than an error on the part of the pedestrian or the cyclist.

They don’t notice people walking or on bikes

When someone attempts to explain to a police officer why they hit a pedestrian or a cyclist, the explanation is almost always the same. They claim they didn’t see the other party, which might actually be the truth. Researchers that look into how the human brain works have coined the phrase inattentional blindness to refer to this phenomenon.

Drivers and traffic can look right at someone and not recognize that they are there. The brain has to process so much information in traffic that it overlooks certain details to focus on what it thinks will be safety critical factors. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t pose any sort of threat to people in enclosed vehicles, so their brain doesn’t warn them to focus on those people.

Drivers have to specifically remind themselves to look for pedestrians and bicycles, as well as motorcycles, if they want to avoid causing a crash. Although there may be a reasonable explanation for why such collisions occur, that explanation does not absolve the driver of responsibility for causing a crash and injuring a pedestrian or cyclist.

Those who are injured in such collisions often have grounds to pursue an insurance claim. If there is no available insurance coverage or if their losses are extreme, they may be in a position to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Speaking with an attorney can help victims to clarify whether requesting financial compensation is a reasonable response to the injuries that may occur as a result of a pedestrian or cycling collision.