While it may be unreasonable to assume we, as pedestrians, are always safe so long as we do not walk blithely into an intersection or across a busy highway without looking, is it beyond reason that we should at least feel moderately safe from being hit by a car or commercial delivery truck when strolling along a public sidewalk or sitting inside a restaurant or other establishment? Our expectations of safety and security undoubtedly must be tempered by the knowledge that accidents do happen in places one would not necessarily expect.
To take it one step further, it is reasonable to assume that a slip-and-fall accident or other personal injury incident might happen in the absence of motor vehicle traffic. But people have been hurt, and some even killed, while minding their own business in a fast-food restaurant, at home or while standing and waiting at a street corner. Obviously, the closer one is to a public or even private roadway, the greater one’s chances of being involved in a car- or truck-pedestrian collision. As Maryland personal injury attorneys, we know these kinds of event can and do happen; the question is many times, when will they occur?
As pedestrians, we are all somewhat at the mercy of fate, unless of course one sequesters oneself at home, far from automobiles and other vehicles. And just as a bicyclist can be killed in a car accident or a motorcycle rider can be injured in traffic wreck, people on-foot should be aware of the ever-present dangers that a modern and mobile society present to those less protected against serious injury.
We were certainly reminded of this subject upon reading a news report out of Baltimore City, in which it was reported that more than a half-dozen individuals were hurt when the driver of a city bus apparently lost control of her vehicle. The bus, a relatively massive 60-foot-long articulated model, was stopped at the roadside near one of the city’s more busy commuter bus hubs. During a driver change, the vehicle apparently started to roll without the driver seated behind the wheel.
According to police reports, the accident occurred during the morning commute sometime after 9am. The huge commercial vehicle rolled out-of-control across the roadway and over the curb, hitting a shelter for bus passengers. The force of the collision broke the shelter from its mounting to the sidewalk and shoved the structure about six feet from its original position. so hard that it was knocked about six feet forward.
According to Baltimore transit police, the bus driver who was taking over the next shift apparently was not in the driver’s seat when the vehicle began to drift into traffic. At the time of the news article MTA officials did not have a definitive explanation for the mishap, such as driver error or faulty vehicle equipment, however the results of the accident cause injury to what police say was seven individuals.
Of those injured, four were taken to Sinai Hospital, a couple more were moved to Bon Secors Hospital, and another victim was transported to Maryland Shock Trauma in Baltimore. Each of the seven victims were said to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile, at the time of the article, the driver who authorities stated has been with the MTA for the past 15 years was scheduled to be tested for drugs and alcohol. This is standard procedure whenever this kind of incident occurs involving a commercial vehicle, such as a city bus.
Seven injured when bus hits shelter, ABC2News.com, September 20, 2012
MTA Police Investigate Bus Accident, Maryland.gov, September 20, 2012
MTA bus crash under investigation, WBAL.com, September 20, 2012