A bike rider was struck by a motorist Saturday around 8:15 p.m., April 13, 2019, and was taken to a local hospital. The accident happened across the street from the Greyhound bus station on Richards Boulevard near Sequoia Pacific Boulevard.
Witnesses at the scene say that the motorist appeared to be going the speed limit and the cyclist crossed the street against the light and was hit by the car. Sacramento Police are still investigating the accident and no charges have been filed.
Street Crossing Accidents
For many reasons, bike riders don’t always cross the street at the crosswalk or even the intersection. Unfortunately, when this happens, the risk of serious injury or death goes up. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 62 percent of all pedestrian/cyclists accidents occur when the
Under California Vehicle Code, to get the legal protection of a crosswalk, a bike rider is supposed to walk their bike across the street and only do so when the crosswalk “Walk” sign is lit. This gives the pedestrian the right-of-way in the crosswalk if the light is green, and the same code gives the car the right-of-way when entering the intersection under a green light.
So What if I’m hit While Committing an Infraction?
If you cross against the light or outside the crosswalk, you are committing an infraction which can result in a $200 fine. However, this does not automatically mean that if you do break a traffic law and are hit by a car that the fault is automatically yours.
If this were true, then anyone caught in a crosswalk against the walk light could be run down without the driver being held accountable. In civil court, the law requires the victim to prove that the at-fault person was negligent, and under California law, a violation of a traffic law can not be used in a civil court to be the only proof that the person was negligent.
This brings up a strange scenario, but one that happens all the time. An injured biker or motorist could get a ticket for violating a traffic law, and in civil court, the fault of the accident could be on the one who didn’t violate the traffic code.
So Who’s At Fault?
In a civil court, the question of liability will hinge on whether the driver was acting reasonably when he or she struck the cyclist. Was the cyclist being unreasonable under the circumstances when he crossed the street outside the crosswalk? Did she walk out in front of a car? Fail to look both ways? Or was the driver going too fast, texting or impaired? All of these might create negligence on the part of the driver or the victim.
The court will hear evidence and make a determination as to who was negligent, and since California is a comparative negligence state, both might share in the negligence and the law assigns the losses to each party based on their percentage of negligence.
Do I need an Attorney?
Although it’s not a requirement to get an attorney to file a claim, you should talk to a professional who can advise you of your rights and of the law. The attorneys at Bay Area Bike Law have the knowledge and experience to help you in these cases. They are the only firm in North California that deals exclusively with bicycle law. A consultation is free, and if you decide to have them represent you, there are no fees paid until you get paid by the insurance company.
Start putting someone on your side, call us at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online. If you still wonder if we’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.
Please be aware that these case results do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter. Every case is different and case values turn on small facts and differences. Thus, the results achieved on one case do not necessarily mean the attorney will achieve the same result, or a similar result, even for a case which may have some similarities.