Recent cases highlight this country’s shifting views on cyclist rights and the importance of giving cyclists consideration while driving.
On April 28, 2017, a jury in Jacksonville, Florida awarded $4 million to the widow of a triathlete killed after being struck by a car. In October 2012, Jared Bynum was just 30 miles into a 100 mile bike ride that would ultimately be his last. Jarod was riding on Nocatee Parkway when he was struck from behind by a 21-year old driver of a Honda CRV. Jarod was killed on impact on this limited access roadway. The 21-year old driver claimed to have not seen Jarod because she was blinded by the sun.
Traffic investigators noted in their report of the accident that the cyclist should not have been on the road and that there should have been signs warning him of the danger. Jarod’s widow, Kelli Bynum, filed suit against the driver and developer of the parkway. The jury agreed with the widow and traffic investigators that the accident was not Jarod’s fault and awarded Kelli $4 million. As a result of the accident and lawsuit, Nocatee Parkway now has signs warning cyclists that riding their bikes on the parkway is prohibited.
The San Diego City Council has also agreed to pay a cyclist $4.85 million for severe injuries he suffered after his bicycle was thrown 28 feet by a sidewalk damaged by a tree. Clifford Brown suffered from torn spinal cord ligaments, the loss of several teeth, and even a possible stroke after the accident. The San Diego City Council admittedly concurred that this settlement is much larger than typical city-involved cyclist accidents and reports show that the last three have been for $75,000, $98,000, and $235,000.
In a similar case, county officials took responsibility for dangerous road conditions for cyclists. Marin County in California recently settled a lawsuit for $300,000 with a bicyclist who was injured in an accident occurring at a busy intersection.
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