St. Petersburg Hit-And-Run Injures Pedestrian In Wheelchair

St. Petersburg wheelchair accidentHit-and-run accidents, unfortunately, happen all the time in Pinellas County and around Tampa Bay. An accident that occurred last night in St. Petersburg, however, was slightly different than many of the hit-and-runs we’ve recently seen: the victim was a pedestrian in a wheelchair.

St. Petersburg Wheelchair Accident

The accident occurred the intersection of 34th Street North and 13th Avenue North in St. Petersburg. The pedestrian, who has not been named, was in the crosswalk when the vehicle, thought to be a silver sedan, ran into him. The impact threw the pedestrian out of the wheelchair and onto the road, while the driver fled the scene. The pedestrian is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

If anyone has any information on this St. Petersburg wheelchair accident, they should call the St. Petersburg police department. In the meantime, all drivers should brush up on dealing with mobility-impaired pedestrians.

People with mobility impairments may use:

  • Guide dog or other service animal
  • Walker
  • Crutch
  • Orthopedic cane
  • Wheelchair

About 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to help with their mobility, with 1.7 million of them using wheelchairs or motorized scooters. People rely on assistive devices for a variety of reasons. Some people need assistance because of aging or degenerative conditions, while others have medical conditions, like cerebral palsy, that confine them to a wheelchair or other device. After an accident, like a car crash or a serious fall at work, someone may become paralyzed or seriously injured, and turn toward assistive devices to help them regain some mobility.

People with mobility impairments live productive and fulfilling lives. Like able-bodied people, people with mobility impairments still get to work, school, and other events. However, transportation is often lacking for people with mobility impairments, particularly those in wheelchairs. Buses and other forms of public transportation are often not well equipped with ramps or storage. It can also be expensive for someone to format their own vehicle to meet their needs. Because of these challenges, many people in wheelchairs travel as pedestrians.

Watch Out For Wheelchairs!

While they may not be physically walking, people in wheelchairs are still pedestrians because they use sidewalks and crosswalks. They also travel at a much slower speed than vehicles on the road. Unfortunately, wheelchair users are at a very high risk of pedestrian accidents.

There are many reasons for this:

  • Streets are not well-designed for wheelchair users. Sidewalks may be unevenly paved or too narrow, forcing wheelchair users to move into the road.
  • Wheelchairs are lower to the ground, hurting their visibility
  • Wheelchairs users might not be able to move out of the way if a car does not see them.

To prevent collisions with wheelchairs, drivers should be certain to follow traffic rules. According to Florida Statutes, when a person with a mobility impairment is crossing the street in a designated crosswalk, drivers must bring their vehicle to a full stop before arriving at the intersection. Additionally, drivers should, of course, take all necessary precautions to avoid injuring the pedestrian. To avoid all types of pedestrian accidents, drivers should never drink and drive, text behind the wheel, or do anything else that may prevent them from seeing a pedestrian or coming to a safe stop in time.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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