Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cyclist Struck From Behind By Motorist Suffers Severe Head Injuries

A cyclist riding on Clairemont Mesa Blvd on August 25 was struck from behind by a motorist. The motorist was going so fast that the cyclist "went over" the hood of the car after being struck from behind by the motorist. Severe head, pelvic, and facial injuries were/have been sustained by the cyclist.

Fortunately, the motorist did not flee the scene. According to the Advisory Message report released by the SDPD, 'The driver of the car did not see the bicyclist due to the sun in his eyes.'

Analysis w/ possible solutions for crash prevention:

Obviously, the driver should have used more discretion when driving under conditions that prevented him from having the ability see. But what does the law say?

According to the California Vehicle Code's Basic Speed Law,

CVC 22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

[Italicized emphasis has been added]

Sounds like the motorist violated the Basic Speed Law since the sun was in his eyes and failed to safely control his car and yield. It's nice to know that there was a law that's meant to protect us from such situations. However, this law did not protect this innocent cyclist. One innocent man may have the mental and physical quality of his life comprised forever, while the other is sitting fine.

So, what can be done? Prosecution of the above-mentioned motorist is certainly desirable.

How can these crashes be prevented in the future? One SD Bike Coalition email list contributor suggested that California create a Strict Liability Law that is similar to countries in Europe:

In summary, as far as I understand, a motorist involved in a crash w/ a vulnerable road user (such as a cyclist) is assumed to be guilty and must prove how he/she could NOT have prevented the crash from happening, under the Strict Liability law.

It's reasonable to assume that under the Strict Liability law, drivers would drive far more cautiously. Doing so would create a safer and more pleasant society for all road users; cyclists, other motorists, pedestrians, the disabled, the elderly, and children.

To get involved, contact your local political representatives and/or the California Bike Coalition to learn how you can help.

If you have any info in regards to the above-mentioned crash please contact the SDPD investigators who are working on this case. More info on the crash and contacts here.

Our thoughts go out to the cyclist and his family.

Edit to original entry: Meant to italicize 'visibility' rather than 'weather' when citing the Basic Speed Law. Thanks to the reader who pointed this out. My mistake. Now fixed.

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