Bicycle accidents are a sad fact of life for cyclists in LA and Orange County. As a Southern California accident attorney, I try educating my cyclist friends and clients of the dangers that can happen when it’s car versus bike.
Recently, my office received a call from a dear friend whose teenaged son was struck by a car while riding home from school. Thankfully, the boy didn’t need to be hospitalized–but it’s an event he’ll remember for the rest of his life. His bike was totaled and he was pretty banged up.
Witnesses at the scene saw the young cyclist begin crossing in the crosswalk. Just after he began crossing, the countdown clock began counting down from 15. That’s when a driver turning left began to negotiate his turn. The driver checked for oncoming traffic, but obviously didn’t check the adjacent crosswalk to make sure it was clear before he began to execute the turn.
Liability for the driver in this scenario is probably certain. The driver turning left failed to yield–end of story. Drivers turning left must yield not only to oncoming cars, but to pedestrians and cyclists in the crosswalk too.
Next time you’re at a stop light or busy intersection, always look where you will be after you complete your left turn in addition to looking where you are now. Scan the crosswalk to make sure it is clear of pedestrians. Keep a lookout for bicyclists who may quickly ride out into the intersection or who may already be crossing. It may take an extra second or two, but it could save a life.
It’s summer time in SoCal, which means more cyclists will be outdoors enjoying the warmer climes and longer daylight hours. Help keep our cyclist friends safe.