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Charlotte Rail Trail Accident Raises Questions About Pedestrian Safety

Aug 29, 2022 Brown Moore & Associates Pedestrian Accident

Charlotte’s Rail Trail offers residents and visitors the opportunity to walk or bike through key parts of our city conveniently and, ideally, safely.

Unfortunately, using the Rail Trail does not always guarantee one will avoid being harmed in an accident. As recently as August 14, a woman using the Rail Trail was seriously injured when she was struck by a vehicle at a crosswalk along the Rail Trail. Witnesses at the scene say the woman was thrown from the walking path and onto the light rail tracks.

The victim was eventually released from the hospital. However, her injuries were initially life-threatening.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation. It is too early to say whether this incident was the result of anyone’s negligence, and it is certainly far too early to determine who the negligent party may be.

Many often assume careless motorists are to blame when such accidents occur. These assumptions are frequently correct. Drivers can cause accidents when they are speeding, driving while intoxicated, looking at their phones, or engaging in other such negligent behaviors.

However, there are instances when accidents happen because those responsible for designing and maintaining safe roads and walking paths are careless. Some believe this incident may be an example of a Charlotte resident being seriously hurt because of poor urban design and planning.

Accident on the Charlotte Rail Trail Was Not a Surprise

Again, a full investigation must be conducted before anyone can say with confidence that this accident was a specific party’s fault. Regardless, some who live near the scene of the accident or use the Rail Trail often have already told reporters they aren’t surprised by what happened.

Some have pointed out that the crosswalk where the accident occurred is located in an area where many drivers may be accelerating relatively quickly. This is because the road slopes upward. As such, drivers might instinctively press down on the accelerator to maintain their speed. This can put someone using the Rail Trail in harm’s way.

The City of Charlotte argues that steps have been taken to minimize the chances of accidents happening because drivers are speeding up. The City has stated that all crosswalks on the Rail Trail are marked with easy-to-see paint and signs. The City has also installed optical speed bars in key spots. These are meant to trick drivers into thinking they are traveling faster than they might actually be.

Perhaps these safety measures are not enough. Modifications to the Rail Trail could be necessary to prevent future accidents.

Cases such as this serve as a reminder that it’s not always easy to determine who is to blame when pedestrian accidents happen. Although a careless motorist can cause a pedestrian accident, negligent government agencies can also leave pedestrians vulnerable to harm.

Keep this in mind if you are ever injured in a pedestrian accident in Charlotte. At Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC, our Charlotte personal injury lawyers can thoroughly investigate your case to accurately identify the liable party who may be responsible for compensating you. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 704-335-1500.