Two California Cyclists Get a $398K Jury Verdict After Wiping Out Due to Bike Lane Debris

Bicyclists have certain obligations when they take to the roads. They are required to observe the rules of the road, for example. Additionally, when a road has a bike lane and a bicyclist is traveling slower than vehicle traffic, the bicyclist is required to use that bike lane. This, of course, presents its own potential issue. What if you, as a bicyclist, are using the bike lane as required by the law and you encounter unsafe conditions in your bike lane, which eventually cause you to crash and suffer injuries? What legal options do you have? Whether you’re hurt in a bicycle accident like this or in a different way, you need answers. Be sure to get them from an experienced San Mateo injury attorney.

As reported by the Fresno Bee, D.B. and M.R. were two bicyclists in Fresno County who found themselves in the position of traveling down a bike lane that became treacherous. They were among seven members of the Fresno Cycling Club out for a Sunday morning ride northeast of the city. As the road dropped into a descent, D.B. and M.R. hit an area where the bike lane was covered in sand and gravel.

M.R., who was in front, was unable to stop before hitting the debris. She wiped out and fell into the northbound travel lane, where a passing vehicle struck her. She suffered a broken arm and dislocated shoulder joint, which eventually necessitated two surgeries. D.B. wiped out, too. He suffered a broken wrist and broken finger, requiring surgery to address the finger injury, the Bee reported.

Imagine being in that position. You have, through no fault of your own, suffered serious injuries with much pain and suffering, and have incurred substantial medical bills, all due to the negligence of someone else. So, what can you do in a situation like this?

These riders sued the county for its failure to maintain the road’s bike lane properly. According to the bicyclists, the county had a duty to keep the bike lane safe and it was negligent in failing to clear the road’s bike lane of the sand and gravel that had collected. They argued that this failure caused their crash and their injuries, according to the Bee report.

As with any injury case, collecting all the relevant evidence matters a great deal. The Bee report indicated that, according to M.R.’s lawyer, the California Highway Patrol investigated the accident scene and found the sand area to be 100 feet long and as deep as seven inches in some places. The cyclists also presented proof that the road hadn’t been swept since a bicycle race that took place nine months before the accident.

Another thing that can help your case sometimes is the evidence that doesn’t exist. M.R.’s attorney sought to establish how frequently the road had been inspected. In doing so, M.R.’s legal team discovered that the county lacked any records to indicate that any recent inspections had been performed, according to the report. That lack of recorded recent inspections also helped bolster the cyclists’ position.

In the end, the jury sided with the cyclists, awarding M.R. $189,000 and D.B. $209,000. That included medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

Achieving success in your bicycle injury case is a journey that involves many steps, including collecting evidence and formulating claims and legal arguments. Make sure one of your first steps is retaining skilled counsel. The knowledgeable San Mateo personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos have been helping people injured in vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian accidents for many years. To set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, contact us at 650-345-8484 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

Family of a Southern California Bicyclist Killed by a Sheriff’s Deputy Receives $12M Settlement in a Case of Alleged Distracted Driving, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, June 27, 2018

Southern California Bicyclist Injured by a Pothole Settles with the City of L.A. for $6.5M, San Mateo Injury Lawyers Blog, February 20, 2018