Why Do Pedestrian and Cycling Accidents Occur in Crosswalks and Trail Crossings?

Crosswalks are intended to create safe passage for people crossing the street. They can only serve their intended purpose when pedestrians and drivers alike obey the rules.

All too often we hear from clients who were crossing the street in a crosswalk with the walk signal illuminated when they were hit by a car who “never saw them”. We love to hear that phrase because it tells us a few important things about the case.

First, if the driver really never saw the person he or she hit, the driver must not have been looking. Someone who claims to have never seen someone who was struck by the front end of their vehicle must literally be driving with their eyes closed or aimed someplace other than the road, unless of course this mysterious person fell from the sky onto the hood of the vehicle.

Second, if the driver were looking, then they should have seen the pedestrian or cyclist in the crosswalk/trail/sidewalk. That means they are lying when they claim to have not seen anyone.

Third, they may have been driving too quickly. If a vehicle is traveling too quickly to see and appreciate the presence of a human being in its path, it is moving way too fast for safety.

Common Scenarios that Result in Injuries and Death to Pedestrians and Cyclists

  • Driver blows through a red light or stop sign
  • Driver rolls through stop sign
  • Driver fails to stop before the stop bar and hits a person in the crosswalk
  • Driver fails to stop at marked bicycle/pedestrian trail crossing
  • Driver fails to yield before turning or merging
  • Driver only looks for oncoming vehicles to the left before making right hand turn through crosswalk, trail or sidewalk
  • Driver waves cyclist or pedestrian through and then drives forward anyway


It is not uncommon for pedestrians and cyclists to be blamed for these collisions, even though the driver of the motor vehicle may have broken the law. Stay calm! The police report is not necessarily the final word on liability. Insurance companies make their own determination of fault after the fact. Read this for more information on how to handle an accident investigation when the cops get it wrong.

If you or a loved one was hurt while walking or riding in a crosswalk or trail, you should consider contacting an attorney with experience on the trails. Jim Dodson is a long time cyclist who has been representing fellow athletes injured in collisions for over 15 years. Call our office to speak with one of our intake specialists and get in touch with the right attorney for your case.