A cyclist was hospitalized when he was struck by a vehicle while crossing a busy street near Cal State Fullerton. Witnesses at the scene say that the cyclist was crossing Folino Drive outside the crosswalk when a car driven by a student hit him. The cyclist, a 60-year-old man, was taken to Placentia-Linda Hospital where he is expected to survive his injuries.
According to police, the accident happened around 3 pm Tuesday, January 22, near the intersection of Folino Dr. and Nutwood Ave. There are crosswalks at the intersection, but according to University Police Capt. Scot Willey, many people cross at that spot even though the crosswalks are close by.
“We stop people quite a bit and warn them about the crossing right there, since it has been an issue over the years, whether it’s pedestrians that are walking or riding bikes. It’s a busy corner and people are flying through there. That does happen quite a bit,” Willey said.
Bicycles and Crosswalks
Many bike riders cross streets outside of crosswalks. The reasons vary, but often it’s because of convenience. Shooting across the road when you don’t think any cars are coming is easier and quicker than finding an intersection crosswalk and then waiting for the lights to change. California law considers crossing a street outside a crosswalk a violation that can result in a $200 fine. Handing out these fines are a low priority for police, however, in high-accident areas, police will issue tickets to violators.
Under California Vehicle Code, a pedestrians in a cross walk must wait until there is a green light in their direction, or a crosswalk signal indicating it’s ok to cross, before they cross the road. 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.
Also, according to CVC, cyclists are supposed to get off their bikes and walk when crossing at a crosswalk or at an intersection that doesn’t have a crosswalk. This puts the cyclists under the right-of-way protection as a pedestrian.
So What if I’m hit While Committing an Infraction?
Like most states, California has a law that says any criminal violation (including a traffic infraction) is not to be used in a civil court to indicate liability. This means that if you break the traffic laws, it doesn’t automatically mean you are negligent in a personal injury trial.
For the cyclist that is struck by a car, this is good news because otherwise by not crossing at a crosswalk and dismounting, the cyclist would never be able to be compensated for their injuries.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s automatically the fault of the car, either. An injured person in an auto accident must prove that the person who hit them acted negligently.
So Who’s At Fault?
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? Or was the driver going too fast, texting or impaired? All of these might create negligence on the part of the driver.
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 northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law. A consultation is free, and if you decide to have BABL 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.