14th June 2021
Explaining the Term “Vulnerable Road User”
A vulnerable road user is a person on the road that isn’t behind the wheel of a car or truck. This includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, roller skaters, and skateboarders (and more). They are classified as vulnerable because of the lack of protection they have compared to a passenger vehicle or larger commercial vehicle.
Vulnerable road users are more likely to get into accidents that result in serious injury or fatality because of this lack of protection. They are also considered vulnerable because road infrastructure is made to benefit drivers and not pedestrians or cyclists. The infrastructure in place for vulnerable road users isn’t as good, leading to more accidents and injuries.
Vulnerable Road User Statistics in North Dakota
When compared to other states, North Dakota is generally a pretty safe place for vulnerable road users. However, that doesn’t mean that accidents don’t occur. In 2019 14,221 total motor vehicle accidents resulted in 4,258 injuries and 100 fatalities.
Out of those 100 fatalities:
- 25% were car occupants
- 40% were pickup truck and SUV occupants
- 3% were large truck occupants
- 11% were motorcyclists
- 5% were pedestrians
- 2% were cyclists
That means that 19% of the fatalities in North Dakota in 2019 were vulnerable road users.
Is North Dakota Considered to be a Safe Place for Vulnerable Road Users?
While North Dakota has a low fatality rating for vulnerable road users, the state also has a meager population. This means that the rate at which fatalities occur is similar to some other, higher-population states. However, if you look at a list of the most dangerous states, you won’t find North Dakota in the top ten as it’s generally considered pretty safe.
Vision Zero has done (and continues to do) a great job educating the public about careful driving and improving roads throughout the state. Vision Zero aims to reduce fatalities because of motor vehicle accidents in North Dakota as low as possible within the next four years and beyond.
Causes of Accidents Involving Motorcyclists, Bicyclists, and Pedestrians
There are many different reasons why motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents occur. For the most part, they occur because of negligence. Everyone on the road owes a duty of care to each other. This means that when driving (no matter what type of vehicle), they’re driving safely to keep themselves and everyone around them safe.
When this duty is broken, an accident can occur, whether texting or driving under the influence. Negligence may take many forms, but is often:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, looking for a playlist, looking for directions, and more.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Dangerous driving, speeding, or driving aggressively
- Cutting people off, leaving doors open on the side of the road, or not watching for vulnerable road users before turning, merging, or changing lanes
What Vulnerable Road Users Can do to Keep Themselves Safe
Unfortunately, you can’t control how everyone else on the road drives, but you can think about your own safety and protect yourself as much as possible. To do this, make sure that you (as a vulnerable road user) are always paying attention. Follow all the rules of the road and pay attention whether you’re walking or biking.
Not all accidents are preventable on your part, but some can be prevented with defensive walking or riding. Follow safety procedures to reduce your risk of an accident.
After a Car Accident
If you’re involved in an accident with a car or truck, there are a few steps that you should take before leaving the scene of the accident. First thing’s first, you should always contact the police to start a police report. The at-fault party may try to talk you out of this, but don’t let them. Having a police report will be great starting evidence for your lawsuit.
After contacting the police, you should exchange information with the other involved parties and get the information of anyone who may have witnessed the accident.
Then you should begin documenting the accident. Take pictures of your injuries and your vehicle (if you were riding a bike or a motorcycle), and the vehicle that hit you. Record a statement for yourself, so you don’t forget any details down the line.
Once you’ve spoken to the police, you should leave the scene and head directly to the hospital or emergency room for immediate medical attention. After receiving medical attention, you should begin contacting attorneys. You mustn’t speak with any insurance companies before hiring an attorney, as they may try to trick you into damaging your lawsuit.
Contact an Attorney With Experience Representing Injured Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and Motorcyclists
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a motor vehicle, please contact our talented team of attorneys here at Sand Law. We have years of experience representing vulnerable road users, and we’re ready to take on your case and get you the compensation you deserve.