Recently, a South Carolina woman was killed while she was crossing the street in her wheelchair. The woman crossed at an area that was heavily traveled and that sees a lot of foot traffic. Unfortunately, despite the fact that the area sees many pedestrians, bicyclists and wheelchairs, there are no crosswalks.
Our Rock Hill accident lawyers know that pedestrians need to be especially careful where they cross the road. Jaywalking or crossing at an area not designated as a crosswalk can be deadly as drivers may not expect to see you and may not be able to stop their vehicles in time to prevent hitting you.
Pedestrians Need to Obey the Rules of the Road
According to WBTW, an elderly woman was crossing Mr. Joe White Avenue in her wheelchair when she was struck by a van. The accident happened late in May.
Other pedestrians who regularly travel in the same area expressed concern about whether the location was safe. One resident, for example, indicated that he normally rides his wheelchair in the bike lanes along that road because the sidewalks are very bumpy. The bike lanes are smoother and allow the pedestrian to avoid the bumps, which he indicated can bend his wheels.
Unfortunately, when any pedestrians, including those individuals in wheel chairs, move in places where motorists might not expect them, this can significantly increase the accident risk. A person who crosses outside of a designated crosswalk, whether on foot or in a wheelchair, could easily be hit by a car that has the right-of-way and that is either traveling too fast to stop or doesn’t see the pedestrian in time. A person who walks or uses a wheelchair in a bike lane could also potentially cause an accident since bicyclists and drivers would not expect him to be there.
The more populated a location is and the more heavily traveled it is with cars, bikes and pedestrians, the more important it is for everyone involved- including pedestrians- to obey the rules of the road.
Pedestrians may have lots of reasons for their failure to obey the laws. For example, the absence of easily-accessible crosswalks in this particular location on Mt. Joe Avenue may have driven the victim to cross outside of a crosswalk. If the road is poorly designed or designed in an unsafe way, then the government agency responsible for road design could be potentially to blame.
In this case, however, the Public Works Department denies that more crosswalks were needed in this location. The Public Works Department said that a study was conducted several years ago and that no additional safety measures were needed. Further, representatives from the South Carolina Department of Transportation indicated that it could cost around $75,000 to add a crosswalk and pedestrian signals.
Of course, there is no guarantee that the Public Works Departments’ study was accurate or was the best measure of whether crosswalks should have been present in the area or not. Further the cost should not be a hindrance to installing a crosswalk that could save someone’s life.
The bottom line is that pedestrians need to obey the rules of the road, but the road also needs to be safe. If the road is not designed correctly, then the government could be partially liable for accidents that happen even if pedestrians do step outside of the normal safety standards. This would be an example of a comparative fault claim and an experienced attorney would need to be consulted by the injured pedestrian or his/her surviving family members to determine who was mostly to blame for the crash.