What Are Vulnerable Road Users?

What Are Vulnerable Road Users?

We recently published a blog discussing how fatal accidents increased for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in recent years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published the most recent statistics on these traffic accidents. All three groups are known as “vulnerable road users” or “vulnerable users”. This is a catch-all term to describe people who are not using motor vehicles. Other examples of vulnerable users include people on skateboards, mopeds, farm vehicles or in wheelchairs.

Pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other vulnerable road users have little to no protection when they are involved in accidents. Some states have laws that help protect vulnerable users from harm. California does have some laws that take vulnerable users into account, but there is always room for improvement.

The League of American Bicyclists has three recommendations states can use while crafting vulnerable user laws. These recommendations include:

  1. Creating a “vulnerable user law”. This law would create consequences for motorists who hit and injure vulnerable users. Consequences could include fines, license suspension or incarceration.
  2. Creating a “safe passing law”. A safe passing law would require motorists to move over a lane or keep a distance of more than three feet while passing cyclists. California’s “Three-Foot Law” falls into this category.
  3. Creating a “where to ride law”. Under this law, cyclists would have more power to make safe choices about where they are riding in traffic lanes. In California, you generally must stay as far to the right of the road as possible.

What If a Vulnerable User Is Injured by a Motorist?

Vulnerable users may be able to recover compensation if they are harmed by motorists. In many cases, vulnerable users can be seriously hurt when they are hit by vehicles. Compensation from a settlement or verdict could help pay for the costs associated with an injury or loss.

San Diego bicycle accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek is an avid cyclist with years of experience handling personal injury cases involving vulnerable users. If you or a loved one were hurt by the negligent actions of a motorist, then you could speak to attorney Frederick Dudek about the possibilities of recovering compensation.



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