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How Uber’s Self Driving Cars are Endangering Pedestrians and Bike Riders

Jan 20, 2017 | Bicycle Accidents, Car Accidents, Pedestrian Accidents, Personal Injury

Pedestrians and bicycle riders are vulnerable road users because they are harder to see than cars, trucks, and other vehicles. If a pedestrian or bike rider is hit by a vehicle, the walker or biker also does not have the protection of vehicle safety equipment surrounding him. Serious or even fatal injuries are likely to occur in pedestrian and bike accidents, and New York injury attorneys should be consulted by victims or victim’s family members to find out if a personal injury or wrongful death case could be pursued.

Unfortunately, pedestrians and bike riders may be at even greater risk of crash injuries due to new technologies that are changing the way cars operate. According to Streets Blog, pedestrians and bike riders may face an added danger of collision injuries as a result of Uber’s new self-driving cars that are being tested.

Uber’s Self-Driving Cars are Creating Collision Risks

Streets Blog reports that Uber has been testing its self-driving cars, but the process by which the company conducted the testing was alleged improper and the tests have apparently not been going well.

One of the self-driving Uber cars was filmed running a red light in front of a pedestrian, which pretty clearly creates an obvious risk to the safety of that pedestrian.  Uber’s self-driving cars also reportedly made “several” dangerous right turns. The right turns were risky because the car cut right across a bicycle lane, which of course puts bike riders in serious danger.

The risks to pedestrians and bike riders was so grave due to the actions of the autonomous cars in turning into bike lanes that Uber actually started requiring the human backup drivers in the cars to turn off the automated feature and drive the car manually when the vehicle started to approach an intersection where a right turn had to be made in an area where bike lanes were present.

The ability to rely on a human driver to prevent the risk to pedestrians and bike riders works only as long as there actually is a human backup driver. Uber, however, reportedly wants to switch to self-driving cars as quickly as it can because paying drivers is a huge part of the company’s operating costs. If the company could switch to self-driving cars, it could save a substantial amount of money on labor costs.

Unfortunately, if the company makes this switch and the cars still fail to work in a way that protects pedestrian and bike rider safety, the streets are going to become a much more dangerous place to be. While the company clearly should wait until all the glitches are fixed, Streets Blog suggested that Uber cut corners on getting proper permissions for testing, which suggests there is a potential risk that the company could cut corners again in the future in an effort to get driverless cars out as fast as possible.

If a self-driving car malfunctions or fails to follow the rules of the road and a crash happens as a result, victims should consult with New York law firm RMFW. Our injury attorneys can help to determine all parties who could be held accountable for the collision caused by the self-driving car, and can help walkers or pedestrians take legal action against those who are to blame.