In 2015, a Philadelphia science fiction author was walking along Philadelphia’s then recently opened Schuylkill River Trail when he was struck from behind by a cyclist. The impact from the bike and then the pavement injured his spine, paralyzed his diaphragm, gave him a concussion and two black eyes. After two months in the hospital and several surgeries, he was released only to face months of therapy before he could return to “normal” life.
Philadelphia, like most big cities in the U.S. has been adding to their miles of bicycle lanes and shared use paths that help cyclists and pedestrian get around the city without starting their car. While this is seen as a good thing, there comes a cost, and sometimes that cost is in safety to good old-fashioned walkers.
The dream of many city planners of large municipalities like Philadelphia is to virtually eliminate fossil-fuel cars on the city streets and have people commute by mass transit, bicycle, ebike, scooter and walking.
While this seems far away in Philadelphia, the city has taken steps to increase pedestrian traffic especially in the downtown region. In 2018, the city installed pedestrian sensors which provide anyone who wishes a tally of pedestrian traffic at certain spots across the city.
This is to begin studies that will pave the way for more Shuykill type shared-use paths that are open to pedestrian, cyclists, ebikers and scooters but off limit to any motorized vehicles. The plan is applauded by many groups, but it isn’t necessarily good news for pedestrians which seem the most vulnerable group of those who use these trials.
Pedestrian-Bike Safety Concerns
In Philadelphia, it’s ok to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk if the rider is under the age of 13. This angers many pedestrians and shop owners across the city and they feel allowing bikes on the sidewalks puts their customers at risk. Though the law gives pedestrians the right of way, those rules see little enforcement and don’t seem to deter cyclists and other wheeled travelers from cutting off pedestrians and put them at risk.
As seen in the accident above, bike-pedestrian injuries can be serious. With the addition of ebikes and scooter, local emergency rooms have seen an increase in injuries cyclists and pedestrians alike. Some of the injuries that are common to pedestrians are:
- Head/facial injuries
- Shattered wrists/elbows
- Broken arms/legs
- Road rash
- Deep contusions
What to do if you Were Injured in a Bike-Pedestrian Accident
If you’ve been injured in a bike-pedestrian accident—whether you were the pedestrian or the bike rider—you should talk to a Philadelphia Bicycle Accident Attorney who can explain the law and inform you of your rights. Many people don’t think about seeking compensation when they are injured as a pedestrian or on a bike, but you owe it to yourself to find out the law.
Don’t suffer alone and leave it to an insurance agent to determine what compensation you deserve for your injuries. They don’t owe you anything but they do work for a company whose profits rely on paying you as little as they can.