Dedicated cyclists who are living in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area could use self-propelled transportation year-round given the relatively mild winter climate. However, the summer months typically host the most cyclists out enjoying the roads. The same is true for pedestrians. People walk all year, but jogging and social hikes are most common in warmer seasons.
Unfortunately, collisions on rural roads often lead to very poor outcomes for the cyclists and pedestrians involved. What would make a pedestrian or cycling crash in the Lake Charles area more dangerous than an urban crash?
Higher speed limits mean worse collisions
There are multiple reasons why collisions between cyclists or pedestrians and motor vehicles in rural areas tend to be more severe. Perhaps the most significant is the higher speed limits on rural roads when compared with urban centers.
Motorists bound by a 55 miles-per-hour (mph) speed limit may travel at speeds well over 60 mph, meaning that they could cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to anyone they strike. Additionally, the lack of infrastructure can make such collisions more dangerous. Motorists may feel more comfortable breaking the law and driving off after hitting a cyclist when they know there are no traffic cameras or witnesses nearby. Rural roads are often the favored route home of those who are under the influence as well, which is another significant risk. Also, the lack of lighting during transitional times of day and after nightfall can make rural roads dangerous for those walking or biking.
What protects an injured cyclist or pedestrian?
If a cyclist or pedestrian gets hurt in a crash caused by a driver, they typically have the option of filing an insurance claim or possibly a lawsuit against the driver who hit them. If it was a hit-and-run collision, an injured person who also has a registered vehicle might be able to use their personal insurance policy to cover some of the crash costs if they have the right coverage.
Even when there is insurance available after a collision, filing a lawsuit may be necessary because of the higher costs associated with more severe injuries. Seeking legal guidance to better understand one’s rights after a pedestrian or bicycling crash in the Lake Charles area can lead to financial justice and a sense of closure after someone gets hurt.