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What Happens if a Cyclist Hits a Pedestrian?

As cycling becomes increasingly popular as a mode of transportation, the risk of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians also increases. While both cyclists and pedestrians need to be aware of their surroundings and follow traffic laws, accidents can still happen. So, what happens if a cyclist hits a pedestrian?


One of the first questions that may arise in the aftermath of a cycling accident involving a pedestrian is who is liable. The person who caused the accident will be held liable for any injuries or damages sustained by the other party.

In the case of a cyclist hitting a pedestrian, the cyclist may be found liable if it is determined that they were at fault for the accident. For example, if the cyclist was riding recklessly or ignoring traffic laws, they may be held responsible for the accident. On the other hand, if the pedestrian was crossing the street outside of a crosswalk or not paying attention to their surroundings, they may also be liable for the accident.

It is important to note that each state has its own laws regarding liability in cycling accidents, so it is important to understand the laws in your state.

Criminal Charges

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the cyclist may face criminal charges. For example, if the cyclist was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, they may face charges of DUI. If the accident was caused by reckless or careless behavior, the cyclist may face charges of reckless driving or vehicular assault.

In cases where the pedestrian is severely injured or killed, the cyclist may face even more serious charges such as involuntary manslaughter or vehicular homicide.


If the pedestrian is injured in the accident, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. This may include medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident. The cyclist’s insurance company may cover these costs, or the pedestrian may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against the cyclist to seek compensation.

In cases where the pedestrian is killed in the accident, their family may be able to seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Preventing Accidents

While it is not always possible to prevent accidents, there are steps that both cyclists and pedestrians can take to reduce the risk of a collision.

For Cyclists:

  • Follow traffic laws: This includes stopping at stop signs and red lights, using hand signals to indicate turns, and yielding to pedestrians when necessary.
  • Wear a helmet: Wearing a helmet can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury or death in the event of an accident.
  • Use lights and reflectors: Using lights and reflectors on your bike can help make you more visible to pedestrians and other drivers on the road.
  • Stay alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards like pedestrians or other vehicles.

For Pedestrians:

  • Use crosswalks: Crosswalks are designed to help pedestrians safely cross the street. Use them whenever possible.
  • Look both ways before crossing: Always make sure to look both ways before crossing the street, even if you have the right of way.
  • Stay alert: Pay attention to your surroundings and be aware of any nearby bicycles.
  • Avoid distractions: Don’t use your phone or listen to music with headphones while walking, as these distractions can make it harder to notice oncoming bicycles.


Accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians can have serious consequences for the individuals involved and their families. By following traffic laws and being aware of their surroundings, cyclists and pedestrians can help to reduce the risk of accidents. However, it is important to know what to do in the event of an accident, including understanding liability and the potential for criminal charges or seeking compensation for injuries or damages.

It is also important for cyclists and pedestrians to have insurance to protect themselves in an accident. Cyclists should have insurance on their bikes, and pedestrians should have health insurance to cover medical expenses in the event of an injury.

In the aftermath of a cycling accident involving a pedestrian, it is crucial to seek legal counsel to understand your rights and options. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.

Overall, cyclists and pedestrians must be aware of their surroundings and follow traffic laws to help prevent accidents. However, if an accident does happen, it is essential to understand the steps to take and the potential consequences involved.