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Alcohol-related pedestrian/bicyclist accidents

Among the things that can cause a lot of problems out on the roads is alcohol. Sometimes, alcohol is involved in pedestrian or bicyclist accidents. Now, drunk driving is not the only type of alcohol-related conduct that can be a factor in such crashes. So too can walking or biking while impaired.

A recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study looked at alcohol-related pedestrian and bicyclist deaths here in the United States. Specifically, it looked at how the percentage of pedestrians/bicyclists killed out on the roads who were impaired by alcohol has changed between 1982 and 2014. The study looked at such rates among individuals 16 and over.

The study found that, for both bicyclists and pedestrians, the rate of alcohol impairment among those killed out on the roads went down over this time period. However, the drop in these rates was much more modest than the drop in alcohol impairment rate among motor vehicle drivers who died out on the roads over this same period.

Why the differences in the drop in rates? The IIHS points to there not being much of a focus on the dangers of impaired walking and impaired biking in public safety campaigns as being a factor in this difference.

So, the many different ways alcohol could contribute to a pedestrian or bicyclist accident can be an important thing for people to think about when it comes to their plans for getting home after drinking.

Now, the fact that many different things can contribute to a pedestrian/bicyclist accident can be very impactful in personal injury cases involving such accidents. Whether a party is a plaintiff or a defendant in such a case, what evidence they present regarding crash cause can matter greatly. So, what legal guidance one has regarding evidence issues in such cases can have some very big impacts for them and the case.

Source: The Register-Herald, "Study: Alcohol-related walker, bike deaths slow to drop," Sarah Plummer, April 18, 2017

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