Teen Cyclist Hit by Car in Crosswalk in West Petaluma
A teenage cyclist was hit by a car while riding his bike across the street using the crosswalk. According to police, a car had stopped to allow the rider to cross the street, but the car in the next lane didn’t stop and hit the cyclist. The accident happened Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 3:20 p.m.
The impact knocked the rider into the windshield of the car and onto the road. He was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial’s trauma center after suffering a broken jaw and other injuries. The midblock crosswalk at Lakeville Street at East Court was marked by stripes on the pavement but had no lights or signs indicating a crosswalk.
Police are still investigating the incident, and no charges have been file at the time of this report.
Riding a Bike in a Crosswalk
California law states that pedestrians crossing a street in a crosswalk have the right-of-way over a car traveling on the street. Of course, if the light is red against the pedestrian, the vehicle has the right-of-way.
Because the law only addresses pedestrians and not cyclists, many people think that this means that if a cyclist doesn’t dismount before using a crosswalk, then the car has the right-of-way. However, this is not entirely accurate. While it may mean that the bike rider doesn’t get the legal protection the same as a pedestrian, it doesn’t relieve the motorist the duty to use caution when approaching the crosswalk.
In other words, just because a cyclist is riding and not walking in a crosswalk doesn’t mean the driver can just run them over.
Another California law says that a violation of a traffic law doesn’t not mean that someone is deemed liable in a civil suit. This law separates the concept of being guilty of violating a traffic law and being negligent in a personal injury case.
So even if the cyclist is crossing the crosswalk contrary to the law, this doesn’t mean that anyone who hits the cyclist is going to be free from financial liability. In fact, the law gives the driver of a car the duty to operate their vehicle with care when driving up to a crosswalk or anywhere where there are pedestrians or cyclists.
So in a personal injury case, it will come down to whether the driver used the care and caution the law requires when approaching a crosswalk.
What if I’m Inured While Riding my Bike in a Crosswalk?
If you’ve been injured riding your bike in a crosswalk, then you need to talk to an attorney about your situation. Don’t talk to the insurance company or their attorneys as they will take anything you say and try to make the incident your fault.
The truth is that the law will ultimately decide whether someone is liable for your injuries not the insurance adjuster. Talk to an attorney at Bay Area Bicycle Law in a free consultation to find out the law and your rights.
Bay Area Bicycle Law is the only firm in northern California that deals exclusively with bicycle law, and the attorneys there have the experience to get you full compensation under the law. Call them at (415) 466 8717 or click here to contact then online. If you still wonder if they’re the right firm for you or even if you need an attorney, read this this for help answering these questions.