In the Man of La Mancha, Don Quixote’s squire observes:
“Whether the pitcher hits the rock or the rock hits the pitcher, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.”
The same holds true for pedestrians and bicyclists who are hit by automobiles or trucks. Pedestrians or cyclists are at high risk for serious injury or death, and they need the serious personal injury attorneys at Easton & Easton, LLP who have a combined 70 years of experience in representing injured persons in these types of accidents.
Because of their speed and mass, motor vehicles are capable of inflicting great damage and injury to a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist and must be operated with these risks in mind. Even if the initial police report is against you, Easton & Easton, LLP has had great success in recovering monetary compensation for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists after we have investigated and established that most if not all of the fault belongs on the defendant motor vehicle driver.
This year our firm resolved a hard fought bicycle accident case against the State of California where our client – a weekly cyclist with over 10 years of extensive cycling experience – crashed on Northbound Newport Coast Drive in the gore point for the SR-73 toll road on-ramp due to ground down asphalt in the gore point. As our client approached the gore point, he was unaware that roadwork had occurred and the asphalt had been ground down on the on-ramp and gore point because there were no warning cones or roadwork signs.
As cyclists are not permitted to ride on freeways and the gore point is considered part of the SR-73 freeway, the State of California contended that it did not need to place any warnings at the gore point. The State of California’s Safety Expert testified at his deposition that cyclists needed to merge into the middle lane of the roadway in order to stay off the freeway on-ramp lanes. When it was pointed out that vehicles on Newport Coast Drive were traveling in excess of 60 MPH, the State’s Expert realized his ridiculous position. Through further litigation, we showed that the only reasonable path for cyclists on this roadway was to pass through the gore point, resulting in a settlement of $175,000 one month before trial.
Bicycles are common sights throughout Orange County, California. Many people use them for exercise and leisure while some prefer them at an alternative means of getting to work. Whatever the case may be, it is essential for a bicyclist to understand their vulnerability on California roads. The same rule applies to pedestrians. Both bicyclists and pedestrians have virtually no protection from the force of an impact of a motor vehicle, and both are much less visible to drivers than other vehicles on the road.
Bicyclists should strive to make themselves as visible as possible to passing motorists. This may include wearing brightly colored clothing, attaching reflectors to their bicycles, and riding with the flow of traffic. California law allows bicyclists to “take the lane” and occupy space in a lane of traffic like any other vehicle would on most roads. Motorists have a duty of care to treat bicyclists in the lane with the same respect as other drivers, and bicyclists are expected to follow the same rules as drivers when it comes to lane possession, turning, and signaling.
Pedestrians must avoid crossing roads outside of designated crosswalk spaces. While many pedestrians cross outside of crosswalks when the road is completely clear, it is not only illegal to do so but also dangerous. If a smaller vehicle suddenly turns near the pedestrian or enters the road in such a way that they cannot avoid hitting the pedestrian, the pedestrian can be seriously hurt. Pedestrians should only walk on sidewalks whenever available and only cross streets at designated crosswalks when the crossing signal indicates it is safe to proceed.
Another common cause of bicycle accidents in Orange County is car doors suddenly opening in the path of an oncoming bicyclist who does not have time to stop. For example, a driver parallel parks at a curb, and the bicycle lane is on the right side of the adjacent lane of traffic. The driver takes a moment to collect their things before opening the driver-side door, but the driver did not look in their rear-view mirror before opening the door. A bicyclist in the bike lane cannot stop in time to avoid either hitting the now open car door or swerving into traffic on the other side of the bike lane. In this situation, the driver could have prevented this accident by taking a moment to ensure the bike lane next to their vehicle was clear before opening the door.