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Campaign aims to reduce bike, pedestrian accidents in Billings


On many Billings streets, and particularly in the downtown area, motorists share the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. Unfortunately, when a motor vehicle collides with a pedestrian or a bicycle, the result for the person on foot or bike is often serious injury or death. In 2011, 30 pedestrians and 33 cyclists were injured, and two pedestrians were killed, in Yellowstone County auto accidents. In an effort to reduce injuries and deaths in collisions involving motorized and non-motorized transportation, a local community group, Healthy by Design, has initiated a safety campaign called "Crash the Myth."

The campaign aims to educate people about traffic safety by dispelling several commonly believed myths. For example, many people believe it is safer to ride a bike against the flow of traffic. But statistics show this is untrue; a cyclist going against the traffic flow is four times more likely to be hit by a vehicle. Similarly, a pedestrian who jaywalks is four times more likely to be hit by a car than one who crosses at an intersection.

The campaign also takes aim at cyclists who ride on the sidewalk: it is illegal in Billings' downtown business district, and can result in serious injury to pedestrians. The campaign also stresses that motorists must yield the right of way to pedestrians who are either in a crosswalk or about to step into the crosswalk-even at roundabouts.

When a pedestrian or cyclist is injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, they have the right to bring a personal injury claim against that driver. Damages that are recoverable include medical expenses, loss of income and pain and suffering. An experienced Yellowstone County personal injury attorney can advise the injured party as to their options and present their case in a way that will maximize their recovery.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Safety campaign works to reduce road accidents," Hannah Silveus, Sept. 17, 2013

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