Advice from an Attorney: How Best to Avoid Pedestrian Vehicle Collisions
Interviewer: Since you have so much experience in this field, do have any advice for people?
Be Mindful When You Are Walking, Riding a Bike or a Motorcycle
Bill Levinson: Obviously my young man that broke the law jaywalking, fortunately he wasn’t killed but he was seriously injured. It is commonsense to obey the law; the real simple thing is to cross at intersections, cross when you are supposed to. If it is a controlled intersection that means it has lights; doubly pay attention when you are on a busy street.
I would say definitely do not ride your bike on a busy street. The margin for error is so small for you to all of a sudden have to turn your wheel to keep your balance. Like anything else in life, just pay attention. Pay attention to what you are doing.
If you are paying attention, you can prevent being injured by someone else’s negligence.
Interviewer: Are there any new trends in the personal injury field?
Bill Levinson: The current trend is in marking places of danger for pedestrians. When I started working here in South King County, none of the railway crossings had arms that came down. There were a number of people killed in my town crossing railroad tracks. The railway learned the hard way of what they have to do. They slowed the trains down, and they added the gates.
They have the crosswalks now that have lights specifically for pedestrians. There are substantially more speed-limit restrictions nowadays. There are traffic cameras that are picking up vehicle speeds as they approach school or crosswalk areas.
What Are Your Responsibilities as a Pedestrian?
Interviewer: Do pedestrians have any particular laws that they have to abide by besides jaywalking? Are there any certain regulations that differ from state to state that you may know of?
Bill Levinson: Not from state to state and the ones that you would think are commonsense are the rules in the state of Washington. There may not be marked crosswalk. Self-preservation means you pay attention when you are walking. I will give you another example that is interesting and that is individuals that are hurt in parking lots.
You are never supposed to walk behind a horse without touching their rump and letting them know you are there. You see somebody’s back up lights go on, you better move. I’ve had a number of cases involving wrecks between cars in parking lots where the parked car backs up at a high rate of speed and bang they hit a car that’s passing by them. Now with the tremendously sized malls and shopping areas, that worries me a lot when I walk through a parking lot. I’m really vigilant about vehicles that are parked especially when brake lights come on or backup lights come on.
Interviewer: Is there anything else that you would like to share in regards to pedestrian accidents?
Bill Levinson: It is important to discover any problem that anyone has that affects the result. Were they contributorily negligent; in other words were they partially to blame? A person walking through a crosswalk is just as much to blame a driver if the light changes and they are on a cellphone. Just use common sense and pay attention, those are the things that prevent a lot of folks from getting hurt.