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Bicyclist Injuries

February 15, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

A 24-year-old bicyclist was killed by the driver of a garbage truck in City Center in late November of last year, according to The Inquirer. The driver and the cyclists were heading the same direction when the driver suddenly made a right turn in front of the cyclist. The victim was pronounced dead by the time he was transported to the hospital. According to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia it was the third cyclist fatality of the year, and the 26th death since 2010. Seven of those fatalities involved large trucks. As drivers continue to distract themselves more and more with cell phones, cyclists and pedestrians have the most to lose.

Typical Types of Crashes Involving Motor Vehicles and Bicyclists

  • Vehicle right hooks the cyclist, as was the case in the above story;
  • Vehicle fails to yield pulling out from side street;
  • Vehicle, while making a left turn, fails to yield crossing in front of cyclist’s path;
  • Driver drifts to the shoulder of the road and hits cyclist from behind;
  • Driver, while looking down at their phone, runs into the back of a cyclist stopped at a stop light or stop sign;
  • Road raged driver intentionally hits cyclist or runs them off the road;
  • Road raged driver throws an object at the cyclist;
  • Road raged driver, yells, buzzes by, or honks at the cyclist, causing them to veer of the road or crash; and
  • Dooring (car occupant opens a door directly in front of cyclist’s path).

The Problem With Unprotected Bike Lanes

The 24-year-old victim killed by the garbage truck driver was riding in the bike lane, and had the right of way. Motor vehicles making right or left turns across bike lanes have the legal responsibility to yield to cyclists, though they often do not yield. Bike lanes offer little to no protection for cyclists since all that separates the cyclist from 4,000 pounds of metal going by at 40 miles per hour is a white line. Bike lanes are also littered with road debris that gets picked up by car tires and thrown to the shoulder, sometimes making half of the bike lane or more unrideable. Other hazards that make the bike lane unuseable and unsafe include parked vehicles in the lane or overhanging into the lane, street parking to the right of the bike lane where car doors are being opened, garbage and recycling cans, moving trucks, police cars, USPS mail cars or other delivery service vehicles such as FedEx and UPS, sewer grates, broken glass, and much more. There is a push for protected bike lanes that use concrete or plastic bollards to create a physical barrier between traffic and cyclists. This, along with regular street sweeping of bike lanes, would keep distracted and aggressive drivers further away from cyclists. A day after the 24-year-old was killed, activists formed a sort of human chain protected bike lane at the location where he was killed, according to The Inquirer.

Contact Us Today

As a cyclist, you have the right to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against any party that causes you accidental or intentional harm out on the road. For immediate legal action, reach out to the trusted Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today.



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