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Cyclist Killed by Motorist in Fresno

A car struck a cyclist seriously injuring him on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. According to the California Highway Patrol, the cyclist was riding on the shoulder of the road when a car drifted off the road and struck him from behind.

CHP say that the accident happened at N. Temperance and E. McKinley avenues early in the morning, The 56-year-old cyclist received CPR from a passerby, but was pronounced dead at the hospital. The driver of the car remained at the scene and was cooperative with police.

The driver could be charged with a misdemeanor vehicular homicide charge, but investigators say they have not finished their investigation and are trying to rule out distracted driving.

Cyclist Road Shoulder Accidents

In California, it’s legal to ride a pedal bike on any street with traffic, and a bicycle is treated the same as a car for purposes of vehicle codes. However, if the bike is going slower than the flow of traffic, then the cyclist is to ride on the far-right of the lane as practicable. CVC 21202.

Many cyclists prefer to ride on the shoulder when riding on roads where traffic is going faster than they can or want to travel such as roads with speed limits above 35 mph.  California vehicle code 21650 states “This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any shoulder of a highway ….”

This allows cyclists the right to ride either on the far right side of the lane on highway or on the shoulder.

Who’s at Fault when Cyclist Hit Riding on Shoulder?

Fault in a civil suit for injury compensation is separate from fault in violating the traffic code. Most people when they think about who’s to blame in a car accident look to the law to see if someone is in the wrong. While this ends up being accurate most of the time—like running a red light—it’s not the way fault works in a civil suit.

In fact, California has a law that specifically states that a conviction of a traffic violation does not confer civil liability on the driver. This means what happens on the criminal side of the court system stays there, and to prove fault in a personal injury case, you must show the other person was negligent.

So when a cyclist is riding on the shoulder and get hit by a car that veered off the road, the court will look at whether veering off the road was negligent. To determine this, the actions of the driver are looked at in light of their reasonability under the circumstances, if not, then the driver is at fault. If so, then the victim will have to bear the costs of their own injuries.

What if I’m Injured by a Car While Riding on the Shoulder?

If  this happens to you, remember that the insurance company for the driver is going to say you were at fault for riding on the shoulder or too close to the roadway. It’s not personal, it’s their job to pay as little as possible for an injury claim, and they are good at it.

At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we know bicycle law, and we aren’t phased by the misapplication of the law by insurance adjusters. As avid cyclists ourselves, we feel strongly in the rights of cyclists to ride on the streets, shoulders, bike lanes or wherever the law allows without being run over by motor vehicles.

We are the only law firm in northern California that deals exclusively in bike law, and we offer a free consultation where you can ask whatever questions you have about your case and your injuries. Call us today 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.