In the past, a pedestrian needed to be alert to avoid cars, motorcycles, and an occasional bicycle. Now, the sidewalks and streets have become a battleground with standard bicycles, pedal assist bicycles, and motorized scooters.
Motorized bicycles, such as pedal assist bicycles, can be very dangerous. Did you know they can reach speeds up to 30 mph? They have become the vehicle of choice for food deliverymen.
Motorized scooters can reach speeds up to 20 mph. Many young workers have adopted the scooter for their daily commute.
There are no licensing, registration, nor insurance requirements for motorized bicycles nor for motorized scooters. This means that these motorized vehicles can be operated with impunity with no financial repercussions to the owner in the event of an accident.
Consequently, owners are not penalized for negligence. I have personally witnessed these vehicles being operated on the sidewalks and heading the wrong way on bicycle paths.
In addition, there has been an increase in accidents caused by conventional bicycles. Indeed, I witnessed a bicyclist strike a mother and her daughter. The bicyclist expressed anger at the pedestrians, brushed himself off, and then sped away. He did not even inquire as to whether the mother and girl were hurt. Again, bicyclists can ride at high speeds without incurring any financial penalty. Indeed, many cyclists hit and run after a collision, because they lack insurance or financial resources.
Here is what you can do to stay safe:
- Always look both ways, and cross the road in the crosswalk with the utmost caution. Do not assume that a bicyclist will observe the rules of the road. I have seen many deliverymen riding the wrong way on a bicycle path.
- If you get injured, insist that the police and an ambulance be called. Do not feel that you are inconveniencing either the police or the bicyclist.
- Whenever possible, get the name and address of the bicyclist. If he is delivering food, get the name of his company. Take photos of the cyclist, the bicycle and the ID on your cell phone.