On Sunday evening, a 50-year-old bicyclist was seriously injured in an Orange County traffic accident. The cyclist, who has yet to be identified, was struck by a vehicle in Santa Ana and was taken to UCI Medical with critical injuries, necessitating emergency surgery. According to the report by the Orange County Register, the traffic accident was reported in the 100 block of North Euclid Street just after 6:15 p.m. Citing official sources, the Register reported the accident is still under investigation, and it is not clear if the bicyclist was in the street or in a crosswalk at the time of the collision. The driver was not arrested and apparently no citations were issued.
See the Orange County Register HERE.
The area of the accident appears to be relatively flat and the roadway is straight. It is unknown if the accident happened at or near an intersection or who had the right of way. Given the time of the accident, it may be that lighting or visibility of the rider played some role in the occurrence of the accident. One issue that should be considered in assessing responsibility and something all bicyclist should keep in mind, a bicycle operated during darkness must be equipped with all of the following:
(1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
(2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
(3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
(4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors.
(California Vehicle Code Section 21201)
Visibility of bike riders is often an issue when a traffic accident occurs. Those operating motor vehicles are rarely looking for bicyclists, and the likelihood a driver will see a cyclist at night (absent the above equipment) seems remote. Given the severity of the accident, the police department will likely do a detailed investigation and analysis to see if the driver was attentive and whether the bicyclist complied with the above statute.
Compensation for the victims of bicycle versus motor vehicle accidents caused by negligent drivers should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver operates their vehicle without paying careful attention to the roadway, they should be held accountable for the injuries and damages they cause. An Orange County auto accident lawyer with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling Orange County automobile accident cases, including those involving bicycle accidents. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a loved one been injured or killed in a motor vehicle versus bicycle accident?
Nothing in this post is intended to suggest the Law Offices of Paul W. Ralph currently represents anyone involved in the news story above. This posting should not be construed as legal advice or an opinion on the merit of any particular matter. A consultation is the best way to obtain an assessment of your potential case.