Pedestrian and Bicycle Accident Reconstruction
Commuter, Bicycle, Skating, and Electric Scooter Crash Analysis
Pedestrian and bicycle accident reconstruction requires a very specialized skill set in order to accurately reconstruct the incident. Often times, there is very little physical evidence as a result of the crash, or the physical evidence is not properly documented by emergency personnel. Under these circumstances, the keen eye and experience of a well-qualified accident reconstructionist is crucial to understand what happened, and why. Veritech’s forensic engineers are experienced with reconstructing all types of vehicle accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders and in-line skaters.
Veritech engineers are experienced with reconstructing all types of pedestrian versus vehicle accidents, including those involving automobiles, semi tractor-trailers, trains, and even construction equipment. These types of accidents can be very serious or even fatal, and therefore require special attention when performing a reconstruction. For example, one of the most significant reconstruction issues is related to the substantial weight difference between a pedestrian and a vehicle. Due to the large difference in weight, it can be difficult to determine the speed of a vehicle at impact with a pedestrian using standard accident reconstruction techniques.
Because of this, methods that are unique to pedestrian accidents have been developed. These methods take into consideration the geometry of the impacting vehicle’s front end, the location of the vehicle’s point of contact on the pedestrian’s body, and even consider whether or not the pedestrian became airborne as a result of the impact. Pre-impact visibility and environmental factors also play a significant role in these accidents, and therefore should be accounted for appropriately.
Skateboards, Longboards, and Inline skates
Veritech’s forensic engineers have experience in reconstructing collisions where pedestrians are riding on skateboards, longboards, in-line skates, and other wheeled sports equipment. The performance characteristics of a skateboarder or roller-blader involve much faster traveling speeds (and likely subsequent impact speeds) compared to a walking pedestrian. Additionally, the acceleration and braking rates for a pedestrian on a skateboard are also much different than a walking or running pedestrian. Also, the height of a pedestrian’s center of gravity changes when riding, and furthermore, the center of gravity can change depending on the posture of the pedestrian while riding.
Even the action of riding and propelling forward will result in a dynamic position of the pedestrian’s center of mass, producing a different accident situation than a simple walking subject. Veritech has performed real-world tests on a number of subjects while riding skateboards and longboards. From these tests, performance characteristics unique to skateboards have been developed for the sole purpose of aiding in forensic engineering and accident reconstruction.
Bicycle and Electric Scooter Accident Reconstruction
Perhaps the most common type of mechanized transportation for commuters, aside from automobiles, could be riding bicycles. Bicycles provide a user the ability to achieve significantly faster speeds than walking. What’s more, riding bicycles is a favorite recreational activity of many individuals. When things go wrong, bicyclists crash, sometimes individually from a loss of control and other times from contact with another rider or automobile. Bicycle accidents can be very serious, largely due to the increased speeds involved but also due to the loss of stability during a crash. While many on-road accidents consist of impacts with automobiles or stationary objects, off-road accidents can be just as severe, resulting in injuries from contact with rough, rocky surfaces.
A relatively new mode of transportation involves the use of electric bicycles (also known as “E-bikes”) and electric scooters for commuting and recreation. These two-wheeled vehicles are powered by a small electric motor with an onboard battery and have the capability of reaching 20 mph or faster. Many metropolitan areas are equipped with fleets of electric scooters and bicycles that are available for rent and can be used by virtually anyone. Rental companies such as Lime and Bird offer fleets of electric scooters and bicycles in many major cities across the country. These units are very popular and provide a quick and easy way for pedestrians to commute through congested city streets. Unfortunately, due to the relative ease in acquiring one of these rental units, many riders operate them without the use of a helmet or other safety equipment. Their usage on busy city streets around walking commuters and automobiles results in frequent accidents, and when an electric scooter or E-bike operator crashes without a helmet for head protection, injuries can be serious. Veritech has experience in reconstructing all types of bicycle, e-bike, and electric scooter accidents occurring on both on and off-road surfaces, and has developed their expertise due in part to their level of riding proficiency and extensive training in rider dynamics.