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Cyclist not Faulted for Hitting Parked Car in Agony of the Moment

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A stunning win by this injured cyclist is unanimously upheld against a quick turning driver which caused him to hit a parked car. This personal injury case concerned determination of blame in a car accident involving a cyclist. The claimant suffered injury when bicycling southbound on Blanshard Street in Victoria, B.C. and a vehicle suddenly pulled out into traffic from a nearby commercial loading without a turn signal (Graham v. Carson,2015 BCCA 310).

The trial judge found that as a result of the car pulling out into traffic too quickly  the claimant braked and steered to the right into a space between a  stopped SUV and a car parked at the curb. In doing so he hit his elbow on the mirror of the parked car, was spilled from his bicycle and injured. The trial judge found that cyclist “had a matter of seconds to decide what to do”.

The appellant was totally at fault because she failed to signal her turn into traffic and darted out into traffic.  The claimant had no contributory fault from trying to protect himself as he did, in a situation where the precipitous acts of the appellant threw the claimant’s bicycle and other traffic into disarray.

The court did not accept the appellant’s further argument that the decision below wrongly treats cyclists differently than motorists. The trial judge referred to the decision of  Skinner v. Fu, 2010 BCCA 321, when he said at paragraph 20:

… generally speaking, the law remains that following drivers will usually be at fault for failing to avoid a collision with a vehicle which has stopped quickly in front. But of course, the analysis of who is responsible for an accident will depend on a close examination of the particular facts of that particular accident. Precedents are of substantial value, of course, for determining the guiding legal principles, but are of more limited value for assisting in finding the facts in a case at bar.

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

Tags: Agony of the Moment, At Fault, Bicycle accident, contributory negligence, liability, Negligence

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