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Old 07-29-09, 08:47 PM   #1
bellweatherman
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Witnessed a horrible accident yesterday

I was in the parking lot at the grocery store putting the bags up in my car. There was a car that I saw was exiting the parking lot, going a bit fast in my opinion. The guy didn't stop before entering the street even though there was not a stop sign.

There was a kid, maybe 8 years of age or so, that was riding on the sidewalk, but going against the flow of traffic. The driver just nailed him. It was terrible. The little kid was knocked unconscious and somebody called the ambulance. When the kid started to come back to his senses, he was screaming in agony about his leg.

There was a crowd that formed so I couldn't see his injuries. I'm just wondering though. Is the driver at fault?
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Old 07-29-09, 08:50 PM   #2
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If the kid was riding at a pedestrian speed against the flow of traffic on the sidewalk, I'd say the driver is at fault.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:51 PM   #3
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The driver should have stopped before rolling crossing the sidewalk. I've almost been nailed like that just walking on the sidewalk.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:54 PM   #4
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Driver's fault.
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Old 07-29-09, 08:55 PM   #5
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How fast was the kid going? There is no "flow of traffic" on a normal sidewalk.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
I was in the parking lot at the grocery store putting the bags up in my car. There was a car that I saw was exiting the parking lot, going a bit fast in my opinion. The guy didn't stop before entering the street even though there was not a stop sign.

There was a kid, maybe 8 years of age or so, that was riding on the sidewalk, but going against the flow of traffic. The driver just nailed him. It was terrible. The little kid was knocked unconscious and somebody called the ambulance. When the kid started to come back to his senses, he was screaming in agony about his leg.

There was a crowd that formed so I couldn't see his injuries. I'm just wondering though. Is the driver at fault?
At least partially, yes. When leaving a parking lot even if there isn't a stop sign or light one should slow down and look for all forms of traffic.

I had a similar close call this past weekend, I was passing a bus that was in a right hand turn lane that was in front of bowling alley. There is a bus stop in the right turn lane, and the bus stop is just a couple of yards south of the driveway coming out of the parking lot.

Instead of waiting for the bus to pass to make sure that it wasn't "hiding" anything the driver just pulls right out into the street.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:16 PM   #7
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Shimon Peres would have called the kid an "obstacle to Peace" and found him to be at-fault: "If he hadn't been there, it wouldn't have happened!"
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Old 07-29-09, 09:21 PM   #8
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I'm sorry to hear about this. It's a perfect and unfortunate example of why we teach that riding on sidewalks and against traffic is dangerous.

If it happened as you describe, then to me the driver is at fault. He have been more careful when pulling out of a driveway, across a sidewalk, where pedestrians or kids on bikes may be present. I don't know what TX law says about this situation though, if anything. Unfortunately, the driver may not be charged if it's not clear that a law was broken.
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Old 07-29-09, 09:53 PM   #9
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I'm sorry to hear about this. It's a perfect and unfortunate example of why we teach that riding on sidewalks and against traffic is dangerous.

If it happened as you describe, then to me the driver is at fault. He have been more careful when pulling out of a driveway, across a sidewalk, where pedestrians or kids on bikes may be present. I don't know what TX law says about this situation though, if anything. Unfortunately, the driver may not be charged if it's not clear that a law was broken.
The automobile operator committed a crime by not stopping before proceeding across the sidewalk and also by failing to yield for the pedestrian.

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Sec. 545.256. EMERGING FROM AN ALLEY, DRIVEWAY, OR BUILDING. An operator emerging from an alley, driveway, or building in a business or residence district shall:

(1) stop the vehicle before moving on a sidewalk or the sidewalk area extending across an alley or driveway;

(2) yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian to avoid collision; and

(3) on entering the roadway, yield the right-of-way to an approaching vehicle.
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Old 07-29-09, 10:02 PM   #10
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I'm sorry to hear about this. It's a perfect and unfortunate example of why we teach that riding on sidewalks and against traffic is dangerous.
True, but considering that the cyclist in question is an eight year old child approximately, they need a safe environment to practice and learn the skills needed for dealing with traffic. The same goes for adults who have either never ridden a bike or are returning to bike riding.

Quote:
If it happened as you describe, then to me the driver is at fault. He have been more careful when pulling out of a driveway, across a sidewalk, where pedestrians or kids on bikes may be present. I don't know what TX law says about this situation though, if anything. Unfortunately, the driver may not be charged if it's not clear that a law was broken.
It also sounds as if it is a hit and run "accident." I put accident in quotes in this case because had the driver in question stopped before proceeding he wouldn't have hit the child.
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Old 07-29-09, 10:08 PM   #11
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I used to go to a lot of political-demonstrations. And saw a great number of peaceful people get their heads cracked by police and national guard troops. I felt helpless not knowing what to do - so I took the EMT course at my local hospital. It, too, is like riding a bicycle.

Maybe this will compel a few of you to go take the EMT course. You never know when you'll be in the boonies and someone gets mowed-down by an idiot in a car. Feeling helpless sucks.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:23 AM   #12
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What ChipSeal said... He cited the Texas law, but that's the same pretty much throughout the South.

Children don't have the sensory and judgmental skills yet to ride safely on the streets or in traffic. So we recommend that they learn to ride on the sidewalks, in residential areas under adult supervision (most communities ban riding the sidewalks in commercial or business districts, but leave the residential areas open for just this reason) until their parents or guardians have enough trust in their skills and judgment to let them start riding in the street. Street crossings should be pedestrian-style, walking their bikes thru the crosswalks.

I recall in one Safe Routes to School training session last month that kids are about 10 years old before they can really be trusted in the streets by themselves. At any rate, I tell my students that it's the parents' decision, based on their confidence in the child's abilities. So, it's not at all unreasonable for an 8-year-old child to be riding the sidewalk. Drivers (and cyclists) have the same obligation to stop, look, and listen when they exit a driveway before entering the street.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:33 AM   #13
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It's no different than if the driver ran into a car on the main street.

Crossing a sidewalk to get to a street is the same as crossing a street to get to a street. Sidewalks get no respect though because cars aren't on them. It's the only reason people ignore where stop lines are painted and stop where the adjacent road begins instead.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:38 AM   #14
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Around here, it is expected, and legal, for children under 14 to ride on sidewalks. Even the local municipalities that have laws against riding on sidewalks, make exceptions for children under 14.

In any case, the driver, leaving private property, is expected to verify that it is safe to enter the right of way before proceeding......

He's gonna be paying for awhile.
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Old 07-30-09, 07:40 AM   #15
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Driver at fault. In any place that mobility and visibility is limited the driver must move slowly enough that stopping in time would have been probable even if the kid had tried to fling himself under the wheels.

I know that the law doesn't always respect this principle. But I'm talking about a higher law anyway; this is what you do if you don't want to be a murderer.
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Old 07-30-09, 08:42 AM   #16
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Going with the OP's visual account, the motorist will probably be found at fault for not taking adequate precautions before crossing a sidewalk, and entering a roadway.

This type of action doesn't pertain only to motorists, just last night I almost collided into the side of cyclist, going at a considerable speed, going against the flow of traffic, didn't stop or reduce speed before entering a controlled intersection. The cyclist finally looked in my direction well after I severely applied the brakes.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:35 AM   #17
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I was on the other side once. I rode my Harley slowly out of my driveway, because the view of the street was obstructed by the neighbors hedge, just in time to be plowed into by a ten year old neighbor girl riding full tilt downhill on the sidewalk on a bike. She fell down, skinned her knee, jumped up and ran home crying, about one minute later her dad was there screaming and ranting. I finally called the cops to settle him down. The father refused to take her to the ER to be checked out, so that was the end of it. However, after that, when she rode down the sidewalk, she slowed to a walking pace passing hidden driveways.
I felt sorry for her, but what could I do?
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Old 07-30-09, 09:45 AM   #18
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Driver's at fault... at least in Colorado.

Back in my days of my youth (I was, 12?), I was riding in Glenwood Springs, CO. Was riding on the sidewalk, downhill, going fairly fast. Driver in a truck pulls out of a parking lot, completely not looking for me. I smacked right into the side of his truck. Left a nice large dent and face print in the side of the truck. Broke my collar bone.

Anyways, driver left the scene. My brother got the license plate. Police found him. Cited him for leaving the scene and something else. Police found him at fault for the accident.

My family could have sued for medical expenses. Chose not to.

IOW, driver would be at fault in Colorado.
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Old 07-30-09, 09:52 AM   #19
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What ChipSeal said... He cited the Texas law, but that's the same pretty much throughout the South.
I think it's the pretty-much the same in the North too! (Note that the original poster is from Austin.)
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Old 07-30-09, 09:57 AM   #20
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Driver at fault. In any place that mobility and visibility is limited the driver must move slowly enough that stopping in time would have been probable even if the kid had tried to fling himself under the wheels.
Incorrect. It depends on what the kid was doing. If the kid was travelling recklessly fast or erratically enough that he couldn't reasonably have been seen or avoided then it would be his own fault. I bombed down a lot of sidewalks myself as a stupid kid, often with little regard for the consequences.
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Old 07-30-09, 10:30 AM   #21
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Naturally children do behave recklessly. That's exactly why drivers with obstructions around them should, even must, move very slowly. Run over a kid who is riding on the sidewalk a bit too fast and see if the law absolves you of guilt. It could happen, especially if you were inching out very slowly. But you are not guaranteed a pass on that.

But I'm not talking about official law anyway. I'm talking about moral law. If there is any reasonable chance that there is a child behind, say, that parked car, that hedge-row, etc., proceed so slowly that, to use my previous phrase, he couldn't get under your wheels if he tried. Sometimes when I do this the motorist behind me will get impatient. Happens often, as a matter of fact. Screw 'em. I'm not putting children at risk to please some idiot.

I'm not incorrect; the driver was at fault. He'll have to live with the knowledge that he hurt a child. Claiming that the kid was at fault will be very cold comfort unless he has no conscience at all.
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Old 07-30-09, 11:13 AM   #22
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The driver is at fault for failing to stop.

Interestingly, I failed my driver's test the first time I took it for a similar reason - I drove from an alley onto a main road without stopping at the sidewalk. No one was hurt, however.
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Old 07-30-09, 11:36 AM   #23
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Children don't have the sensory and judgmental skills yet to ride safely on the streets or in traffic. So we recommend that they learn to ride on the sidewalks, in residential areas under adult supervision (most communities ban riding the sidewalks in commercial or business districts, but leave the residential areas open for just this reason) until their parents or guardians have enough trust in their skills and judgment to let them start riding in the street. Street crossings should be pedestrian-style, walking their bikes thru the crosswalks.

I recall in one Safe Routes to School training session last month that kids are about 10 years old before they can really be trusted in the streets by themselves. At any rate, I tell my students that it's the parents' decision, based on their confidence in the child's abilities.
As an LCI and parent of three kids, I've struggled with the LAB's advice that kids under 10 are safer on sidewalks.

My personal decision with my children is to teach them to ride on the roadway, and not sidewalks, but to limit which roads they ride on and cross based on their emotional and skill development. My rationale is that if the traffic on the roadway is high enough to present enough of a risk to discourage them from using it, the intersection traffic will also be a significant concern, and exacerbated by the contra-flow travel that sidewalk cycling invites. Riding up and down a stretch of sidewalk in front of one's home does not pose much risk, but actually going anywhere requires crossing intersections. I want my kids to know how to negotiate those interesctions safely, or not cross them at all. On the 25 mph streets in my neighborhood, drivers are accustomed to children and adults in the road for all sorts of purposes, creating as safe an environment as can be expected for learning lawful roadway cycling.

In my city, collisions between motorists and bicyclists riding contraflow on the sidewalk are the most common type of car-bike collision. Next most common are drive-out and ride-out conflicts. Overtaking collisions are rare. I therefore refrain from endorsing sidewalk cycling for any age group that intends to go beyond the edge of their residential block, and encourage cyclists to seek out quiet streets to develop their roadway skills.
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Old 07-30-09, 12:06 PM   #24
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The driver is at fault for failing to stop.

Interestingly, I failed my driver's test the first time I took it for a similar reason - I drove from an alley onto a main road without stopping at the sidewalk. No one was hurt, however.
Legal requirements affecting pedestrians at driveways can be different from requirements at alleys depending on whether the junction is considered a driveway crossing a sidewalk or a crosswalk crossing a roadway.

If a driveway crosses a sidewalk, and no stop sign is present, the driver must yield to all traffic on the sidewalk, including anticipating its arrival, yet the driver may not be required to actually stop if there is no traffic requiring them to do so.

If a crosswalk crosses a roadway, such as an alley, the driver is required to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk, but pedestrian who has not yet entered the crosswalk is required to yield to drivers who are already lawfully in the process of entering/crossing the crosswalk area. Drivers may also have explicit stopping requirements based on signals or signs.

Adding to the legal complexity is that some commercial or institutional driveways will be designed as roadways, where the sidewalk ends and transitions down to a marked or unmarked crosswalk, but the vehicular facility might not be called a roadway.

If the collision in the OP was in fact a driveway crossing a sidewalk, the driver is legally at fault for failure to yield, whether he stopped first or not. If the pedestrian facility was a crosswalk, the driver may not be considered at fault if there was no stop sign and police believe that the cyclist was traveling at excessive speed unable to comply with the duties of a pedestrian entering a crosswalk (I doubt that would be the decision in this case).
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Old 07-30-09, 12:34 PM   #25
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There's always an implied stop sign when leaving private property and entering the flow of traffic on a public street. There does not have to be a stop sign. This is why you have to stop and yield ROW at the end of a driveway even though there's no stop sign there either.

Kids on sidewalks are considered pedestrians. Peds have the right of way over vehicular traffic.

Driver's fault. 100%.
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