When it comes to car accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists, West Virginia ranks as one of the states with the lowest rates of fatalities. In fact, West Virginia has one of the lowest rates in the nation of bicyclist-related deaths. The law in West Virginia remains that it is the responsibility of drivers to give pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way.
A new law passed in 2014 requires West Virginia drivers to follow a number of new requirements when it comes to providing both pedestrians and bicyclists the right of way. For instance, West Virginia drivers must now give bicyclists a three-foot cushion, especially when passing a bicyclist on any roadway. Additionally, bicyclists are no longer required to use an adjacent path as opposed to the roadway when riding a bike, and therefore are considered to be lawful drivers with the same right to use roadways as drivers of cars. The new law emphasizes common driver and bicyclist protocols including always yielding to bicyclists when turning left, allowing bicyclists to clear an intersection before making a right turn, never turning across the path of a bicyclist, and always merging into bike lanes before turning right.
With respect to pedestrians, West Virginia drivers are required to follow certain traffic regulations, including always yielding to pedestrians when they are walking through a cross-walk at an intersection. Whenever a vehicle is stopped at a marked crosswalk permitting a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass such stopped vehicle. West Virginia recognizes an overall code of conduct or “due care” provisions in its traffic laws as they relate to pedestrians where every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any confused or incapacitated person upon a roadway.
Overall, the statistics show that West Virginia drivers are safe and cautious when it comes to interacting with both pedestrians and bicyclists, but it is worth reiterating that West Virginia drivers have specific legal obligation and duties in this regard and that there can be significant penalties, fines, and other punishments for failing to respectfully yield to these groups that share the road.
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If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident involving a pedestrian or a bicyclist, you need attorneys expertise in such personal injury matters. Colombo Law is highly experienced in such matters involving pedestrians and bicyclists and provide the representation you deserve.