The NHTSA recently released its 2016 fatal motor vehicle crash data. Noteworthy among the data are the following:
Nationally, there were 37,461 fatalities during 2016, a 5.6 increase from 2015. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 492, a 9.0% increase from 2015 and the highest number since 1990. The fatality rate per 100 million Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) increased by 2.6% from 1.15 in 2015 to 1.18 in 2016. Fatalities in distraction related crashes were 9.2% of total fatalities in 2016. Approximately 28% of all fatalities were in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes (29% in California). There were 11.5 times as many un-helmeted motorcyclist fatalities in States without universal helmet laws (1,923 un-helmeted fatalities) as in States with universal helmet laws (166 un-helmeted fatalities).
Sometimes there are collisions between bicyclists and pedestrians which result in injuries, such as a recently reported collision between a bicyclist and teen pedestrian at Market and Third Streets in San Francisco. I am often asked whether there is any liability insurance which may cover the bicyclist or pedestrian in such circumstances. While motor vehicle liability or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies when a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured by a motorist, such insurance does not apply to a bicycle vs. pedestrian accident. However, the bicyclist’s or pedestrian’s Homeowner’s or Renter’s liability insurance may cover the at-fault party in a bicycle vs. pedestrian accident.
Our office mourns the death of Konstaninos “Gus” Vardakastanis, the owner of a number of San Francisco markets, who was killed this morning by a speeding hit-and-run driver as he walked across Jerrold Ave near the SF Produce Market. As one of his numerous admiring customers, I knew Gus as extremely hard working, family-loving, and forever wanting to please his customers in any way he could. Our family and entire neighborhood are saddened. He will be missed very much.
Pedestrians and Bicyclists Injured in Hit And Run – Insurance Coverage And Reporting Requirements
The San Francisco Department of Public Health has produced an updated map showing the streets in the City where the most high-injury traffic incidents have occurred, based on data from San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco Police Department.
Our office is once again a proud sponsor of the Golden Wheel Awards. Come join us at the event on June 20, 2017 at the Green Groom of the San Francisco War Memorial on Van Ness Ave.
According to an analysis of data from more than 40,000 cases of brain trauma in children, as published in the New England Journal of Medicine (11/13/15), the most common cause of brain injury in children under 12 is falling, most often from a bicycle, scooter or other wheeled device. These findings highlight the importance of educating parents regarding the importance of having their children where helmets.
Our bicycle injury lawyers are proud Gold Sponsors of the East Bay’s Bike to Work Day, May 11, 2017, organized by Bike East Bay (formerly the East Bay Bicycle Coalition). Please join us and thousands of bike commuters throughout the Bay Area to enjoy the healthful, enjoyable and environmentally beneficial way of getting to and from work.
Two bicyclists were severely injured while riding along Paradise Drive in Corte Madera during the morning of April 21, 2017, when an SUV traveling in the opposite direction made a left turn and collided with them. The driver of the SUV was reportedly a 16-year-old girl driving on a provisional license.
As I have described in a past blog post, left-turning vehicles are a common way in which bicyclists are injured in the Bay Area, almost always due to the inattention of the motorist. As a bicycle accident lawyer representing Bay Area victims, I have represented numerous cyclists injured in this manner, fending off the tendency of many motorists and their insurers to blame the cyclists.
The California Vehicle Code Section 21801(a) provides, and common sense dictates, that vehicles intending to make a left turn “shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.” Bicycles riding on the roadway are considered “vehicles” under the Code and thus have the right-of-way.
In cases involving severe injuries to bicyclists, the amount of liability insurance applicable to the vehicle and driver may be insufficient, especially where there are multiple victims making claims under the same policy. Bicyclists should be aware that in such circumstances the uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage provided by the bicyclists’ automobile insurance policies may provide them with an additional source of compensation.
As our law office has done for years, we are once again proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of Biketopia, Bike East Bay’s winter party and fundraiser. It is at the Impact Hub located in Oakland at 2323 Broadway, 6:30 – 10:00 p.m. If prior year’s parties are any indication, this will be a genuine good time and for a great cause. There will be food, music, and a silent auction with lots of fun items. Mingle with like-minded bicyclists and biking advocates. Hope to see you there.
Tragically, Mahin Ashki, age 58, was killed while walking in a crosswalk in Emeryville on 11/1/16. The incident occurred at the intersection of Christie and Powell Street when the truck, making a westbound right turn from Christie to Powell, hit Mrs. Ashki with the front of the rig, pulling her underneath the truck. As I have previously written about, right-turning trucks are a common cause of fatalities and severe injuries to both pedestrians and bicyclists. In the many pedestrian accident cases I have handled, accident reconstruction analyses and video evidence is utilized to prove fault and recover the substantial liability insurance available. And it remains to be seen whether any dangerous road conditions may have contributed to causing the incident. In any case, more training of truck drivers is clearly needed. Any witnesses are asked to call police at (510) 596-3700.