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Dad and Kid Injured Crossing Street in Santa Barbara

A father and daughter were riding their bikes and hit by a Toyota Tacoma when the crossed the street. The accident happened around 12:30 p.m. at the intersection of Castillo and Padre streets on Monday, February 25. According to witnesses at the scene, bystanders pulled the two out from under the truck before first responders arrived.

Officials say that the daughter was not wearing a helmet, and that the two were crossing at an intersection with no crosswalk. The father was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries and the girl was treated at the scene.

Street Crossing Accidents

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reports that around 800 cyclists die each year in auto accidents across the country. Many of those happen when the cyclist is attempting to cross the street.

California law protects pedestrians crossing a street in a crosswalk or at an intersection with no crosswalk. However, this doesn’t mean that the person crossing can just run out in front of a car, rather a vehicle has to give the right of way to a pedestrian crossing with a green light, and requires a pedestrian to yield to the right-of-way of a vehicle that has a green light. The law also requires that both the pedestrian and the driver of a car use due caution.

Is a Cyclist a Pedestrian?

This question comes up often when there is an accident involving a cyclist and a car at an intersection. California law does not give the cyclist the same protection in a crosswalk that it gives a pedestrian. However, this doesn’t mean that a cyclist riding their bike in crosswalk can just be run over. The truth is, very few cyclists get off their bikes and walk across a crosswalk, and this doesn’t mean they are fair game for motorists.

Whose Fault is It?

When a motorist hits a cyclist in a crosswalk or at an intersection, police might give one or the other a citation for violating the traffic code. However, the fact that someone got a traffic ticket doesn’t mean that they can’t get compensated for their injuries when struck be a car.

Why is this? Because a personal injury suit is in civil court which looks at whether the driver was negligent. To be negligent, it must be proven that the driver did not use due care in operating their vehicle such that the injured was unable to proceed safely.

It works like this: If a cyclist crosses at a crosswalk but did not stop at a red light and then just darted out in front of a car that had no warning, then it’s most likely that the jury would find that the driver acted reasonably and was not negligent. However, if the cyclist entered the crosswalk against the red light and got halfway across, and the driver hit the cyclist without even trying to avoid the accident, it’s likely that the jury will consider the driver negligent even though he or she had a green light.

Do I need an Attorney?

If you are struck by a motorist while crossing the street at an intersection, or anywhere else, it would be good to speak to someone who can advise you. Cyclists in Santa Barbara and in the Bay Area benefit from talking to a specialist who understands bicycle law and personal injury and can advise you.

The attorney’s at Bay Area Bicycle Law have the experience dealing with hit-and-run accidents, and they are the only law firm in Northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law. Call Bay Area Bicycle Law to get someone working for you. You can call (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact us online.