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Massachusetts Bill Aims To Protect Pedestrians, Cyclists

Close-up of the feet of a man in black sneakers crossing a street on the zebra or pedestrian path.

'Vulnerable road users' are at a greater risk of injury and death.

For many, riding a bicycle or walking serves as a healthy outlet to get exercise, not to mention saving on the cost of fuel.

But cyclists and walkers face greater risks of getting injured or killed than people using vehicles to get around. As a result, pedestrians and cyclists are “vulnerable road users,” to use the language in a Massachusetts bill designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians, construction workers, and emergency responders.

According to an article on WWLP.com, the bill – which needs approval by Gov. Charlie Baker – requires drivers to leave a safe distance when passing “vulnerable road users.” That means if you’re driving, you must give 3 feet of distance, plus 1 foot for every 10 miles over 30 mph.

The bill is an important step toward reducing injuries and fatalities in cycling and pedestrian accidents. As experienced pedestrian accident lawyers in Massachusetts, we know the devasting impact of crashes involving people riding bicycles or walking. That's why we support this effort to protect vulnerable road users and take pride in holding negligent drivers accountable for their actions.

The bill also addresses the danger that trucks pose to pedestrians and cyclists. If the bill receives the governor’s signature, trucks owned or leased by the state will need new safety devices, such as backup cameras and mirrors, making it easier for drivers to see vulnerable road users.

How to avoid pedestrian and cyclist accidents

While the bill is under consideration, drivers can now do their part to reduce the risk of accidents involving vulnerable road users. Here are a few safety tips:

  1. Pay attention: Always be on the lookout for cyclists and people on foot. Also, be extra cautious when driving through neighborhoods and in school zones where children are near the road. They can be unpredictable and may dart out in front of your vehicle.
  2. Observe local laws: Pay attention to speed limits. Slow down when approaching crosswalks, and be prepared to stop for pedestrians.
  3. Keep a safe distance: When approaching a cyclist or pedestrian sharing the road, slow down and give them plenty of room when passing.

Bicyclist riding down street in Boston.

How do pedestrian and cyclist accidents happen?

Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists can happen quickly. There are many reasons why these accidents happen, but one of the top causes is driver inattention. For example, the person behind the wheel might be looking at a cell phone or distracted in another way and fail to stop at a stop sign or red light.

Here are a few other common causes:

  • Speeding, which increases the chances of a severe injury in the event of a collision with a pedestrian or cyclist.
  • Failing to yield the right of way to pedestrians, which often occurs when someone is in a crosswalk or when a vehicle is making a left turn.
  • Drunk or drugged driving. Impaired drivers lose their judgment and may be prone to speed or drive recklessly.

How a pedestrian accident lawyer can help if you were hit by a car.

If you or a loved one was hit by a car while walking or on a bike, contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone for a free consultation. Our Massachusetts pedestrian accident attorneys are ready to provide legal representation for vulnerable road users injured in accidents through no fault of their own.

We put experience and resources to work for clients to help them obtain compensation for their losses. You may be entitled to damages for medical bills, lost earnings, and other out-of-pocket expenses in addition to non-economic damages for pain and suffering and psychological losses.

As contingency fee lawyers, we only get paid if we win your case. Contact us today. Tell them you mean business!

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If you were injured or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident in Boston, Worcester, Springfield or Holyoke, a personal injury lawyer can fight to help you obtain compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone, serving Massachusetts, our personal injury attorneys have an impressive record of trial verdicts and settlements.

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