I don’t have statistics for accidents on sidewalks, and if the statistics were right in front of me now I don’t know if I’d believe them. Personally, the only time I filed a hit-and-run bicyclist report was in 1992, when I was injured just badly enough to get a taxicab to the emergency room. I’ve been in that particular type of accident on other occasions, but got up and walked away after the bicyclists bolted to avoid being held accountable. So, I’m led to believe that incidents of this nature are underreported.
Many people are unaware that it’s illegal to ride a bicycle, skateboard, scooter or other wheeled transport method on the sidewalk. Maybe some of them are also unaware that it’s illegal to leave a pedestrian lying on the ground after knocking that person down. After causing said accident, the negligent person is supposed to stay at the accident scene and notify the authorities.
Staying at the scene and notifying the authorities isn’t what negligence is all about, though.
Cluelessness abounds. When a skateboarder got very close to hitting me on the sidewalk last month, he put his hand up to his chest and said, “Lord have mercy.”
That was it. No apology, no concern for the fact that he’d nearly splattered a woman who is old enough to be his grandmother. He sought comfort in his religious beliefs and quickly walked away with the skateboard under his arm.
Most of us, after being sent flying by one of these ignorant and selfish people, will eventually get up off of the concrete and pigeon droppings and walk away. If we can, that is.
After a pilot program was completed recently, the decision was made to allow battery-operated rent-a-scooters back into public places in San Francisco. Although they’re not supposed to be on the sidewalk any more than the bicycles or skateboards, many people rode scooters on the sidewalks during the pilot program and they’ll do the same when the two-wheeled monsters return.
Use your peripheral vision, especially if you’re walking with pets or vulnerable humans. Your quick judgment calls are essential. And, by “judgement calls,” I don’t mean hitting anyone. This refers to moving out of harm’s way, and, if you think it’s safe, possibly calling the errant person an asshole.