A suspected drunk driver ran into a large group of cyclists this morning, injuring eleven, two critically. KTLA news reported the early morning accident happened just before 2 a.m. near Culver City, along Jefferson Boulevard at Hetzler Road in Baldwin Village. The suspect, identified as 27-year old Christine Dahab, reportedly drove into a large group of cyclists, after revving her engine and jumping a curb. The group of riders, numbering approximately seventy to one hundred, are believed to be part of Midnight Ridazz, who generally ride in a large group every Wednesday night.
See the full KTLA news story and video HERE.
If the issue of intoxication were not enough, there were also witness reports that Dahab may have been using a cell phone at the time of the accident. This horrible accident is a stark reminder of what carnage a careless or intoxicated driver can do behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle. Bicyclists have just as much right to utilize public roadways as the operator of a motor vehicle. Unfortunately, when a driver acts recklessly behind the wheel of a car the consequences for a cyclist can be devastating. Had Dahab run her vehicle into another car, the consequences would likely have been much less devastating.
The cause of this particular accident is likely still under investigation, and it remains to be seen what issues of visibility, if any, may play a role in assessing overall responsibility for the accident. Under the law in California, when a cyclists rides on the street at night, they must have the following equipment:
(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.
Conceivably, whether the cyclists involved in this accident complied with the law above could be raised as a defense by Dahab. If she proves to have been grossly intoxicated at the time of the accident, such a defense may not be very compelling.
Compensation for the victims of motor vehicle versus bicycle accidents should be an important concern for all Californians. When a driver negligently or recklessly operates their vehicle, they should be held accountable for the injuries, damages and devastation they leave behind. An Orange County injury attorney with experience at handling such cases can make a fair assessment of these claims. Mr. Ralph has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases, including just this type. He can be reached at 714-919-4415 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Have you or a family been injured in a 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.