A recent motorcycle accident involving an intoxicated pedestrian illustrates the dangers of "drunk walking" to both motorists and pedestrians.
September 05, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Motorcycle strikes pedestrian in S.E. Portland
Article provided by Sarah Nelson, P.C.
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Motorcyclists owe other motorists on the road the duty to drive with reasonable care and to follow the rules of the road. They also owe pedestrians the same duties. That being said, pedestrians also have responsibilities while walking along busy roadways and across streets. Pedestrians are supposed to use marked crosswalks or cross at an intersection and obey traffic laws applicable to them. In addition, just as a motorcyclist should not drive while under the influence, a pedestrian should also be careful where he or she walks after drinking. A recent motorcycle accident involving an intoxicated pedestrian illustrates the dangers of "drunk walking" to both motorists and pedestrians.
Unfortunate incident on Southeast Division
On a Sunday evening in August, a motorcyclist was traveling east on Southeast Division Street near 148th Avenue when a 61-year-old man walked off a sidewalk and began to head across the street. The cyclist laid down his motorcycle in an attempt to avoid an accident but it skidded, striking the man who was crossing the street. According to the Portland Tribune, an early investigation into the incident resulted in a determination that the pedestrian walked directly into the path of the motorcycle and was not in a crosswalk. The preliminary investigation also showed that the motorcycle driver was not impaired by drugs or alcohol. However, the pedestrian appeared to be under the influence at the time of the crash.
The pedestrian was transported to OHSU Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The motorcyclist was treated at the scene for minor injuries. The police issued no citations in connection with the accident.
Data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2013 showed that more than a third of pedestrians killed in motor vehicles crashes in 2011 had a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, which is above the limit which an Oregon motorist can be charged with driving under the influence. For pedestrians aged 25 to 34 years old, half of those killed in an accident were impaired by alcohol. As with motorists, alcohol can cause pedestrians to have slower reaction times and to make poor decisions, such as crossing a road in the wrong place.
If the pedestrian sued the motorcyclist, could he recover?
Hypothetically, if the pedestrian in the accident described above filed suit against the motorcyclist to recover for his medical bills or other damages, it is unlikely that such a suit would be successful. The pedestrian would have to prove that the motorcyclist was negligent and that his negligence caused the pedestrian's injuries. Negligence is the failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in the same circumstances.
In this case, the facts seem to show that the motorcyclist acted reasonably. He attempted to stop when he saw the pedestrian walk into the street. He had not been drinking or using drugs, according to the account of the story in the news, nor was there any mention of speeding. On the other hand, the pedestrian was intoxicated, he stepped out into traffic and he was not in a crosswalk. It is arguable that since the pedestrian violated the rules of the road applicable to all who share the roadways, any recovery would be reduced by his comparative negligence.
Injured in an accident?
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. An experienced attorney can advise you as to your rights under the law.
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