Cycling Accidents and Courts Reactions

Cycling accidents, like any other unfortunate event of this nature, are always a very sad occurance.  However, what makes them even more problematic, has been the attitude of the public and courts to them.  At the same time our society is striving for ways to reduce the green house effect and reduce our carbon footprint as a way to improve the environment, we have a strange attitude in a dominant chunk of the population still at odds with even the laws — there are too many instances where a bicycle rider ends up being hit (in some cases being killed) and the driver involved is found not guilty of anything

The tide, though, seems to be turning.  In a recent rulling by a court in Philadelphia a bicycle rider involved in a very serious accident won a significant rulling

In 2011, Ashley McKean was involved a horrific bike crash at Broad and Brandywine streets. McKean, a Temple student, was riding her bicycle when she was doored by a Honda Accord and then struck from behind and then run over by a van. According to a lawsuit she filed, she suffered multiple hip, pelvis and leg fractures, some of which caused permanent damage.

A jury rendered a verdict in that lawsuit very recently, and McKean won a $2.4 million judgment against those involved in the crash.

This case and associated rulling will hopefully increase awareness among drivers (many drivers do not even know the laws pertinent to bicycles sharing the road with other vehicles), and even drive some caution among driver who are consistently inconsidered of bicycle riders on the roads.   

What I mean by this is the behaviour by some ignorant drivers who continue to both drive aggresively around bikes and even engage in verbal attacks on bikers – and I say this from personal experience.  Once I had a car (an old clunker) slow down near me (while I was biking) with a passenger in the car yelling "…buy yourself a car.." – a sad statement I thought given that my bike probably was worth more than the vehicle the occupants yelling at me were in… But that shows you the state of mind many have…

At any rate, I am very glad of this latest award in Philadelphia – hopefully it will set precedent and help drive safety for bicycle riders across the nation.  

While this needs to happen, all of us bicyclists, need to continue following the laws and observe defensive practices.  Make sure you have your protective gear – e.g. helmet, bright lights etc. when you are on the bike.

For more on the rulling referenced in this posting plus some additinal links can be found here

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