Friday, August 7, 2015

Driver Who Killed 65 Year Old Bicyclist In Jersey County Taken Into Custody

Kajavion McCarvey
A 21 year old man is in custody more than two months after killing a 65 year old bicyclist in Jersey County, Illinois, according to  Kajavion McCarvey of East Alton turned himself in on Wednesday after Jersey County authorities announced charges of Aggravated DUI and Reckless Homicide against him earlier this week.

Carol Admire, Courtesy of
The arrest stems from a collision on May 23rd that left Carol R. Admire of Alton, Illinois dead at the scene.  She was riding southbound on the shoulder of State Highway 100 around 4:00 p.m. when the allegedly intoxicated driver, also southbound, hit her with his pickup truck, according to the  Initial media reports of the crash presented a slanted view of the incident, suggesting that Ms. Admire had been riding in too dangerous a location along the busy road.  Local television station KSDK placed emphasis on the existence of a bicycle path on the other side of the roadway from where Ms. Admire was riding.  The no-so-subtle suggestion is that she should have been riding on the path instead.  See for yourself:

It is important to remember that Illinois, unlike some states, does not require that bicyclists use a separated bike path where one has been provided.  Also, Ms. Admire was apparently riding with traffic, on the southbound side of the highway also known as Great River Road.  As noted in the news report above, the shoulder on which she was riding was commonly used by cyclists.  Great River Road is a scenic highway that runs along the Mississippi River.  In light of these facts, it is deeply disappointing that initial reports placed undue emphasis on the bicyclist's conduct rather than on the driver who may have been intoxicated.

In our experience, driver's rarely face criminal charges from causing injury or death to bicyclists.  It is encouraging to seen that the State's Attorney in Jersey County has decided to pursue charges that could see the driver facing in excess of 14 years in jail.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Drivers May Be Liable When A "Near Miss" Causes Injury

To horseshoes and hand grenades I would add bicycling in traffic to the list of activities in which close may be enough to do damage. While riding a bike, coming close to physical contact with a vehicle, i.e. a car door, may be enough to cause a crash and serious injury.
In a video making its way around the internet a terrified London cyclist is seen nearly being run down after trying to avoid a car door.  Check it out:

Even if the cyclist did not come into contact with the door (it is not clear from the video whether he did or did not), he was not “almost doored.”
He was doored.
A driver may be responsible for the harm caused by his or her negligent driving even if there is no actual contact. However, the lack of contact between car and bicycle can create evidence problems. When there is no contact it may be more challenging to prove that the driver’s conduct actually caused the bicyclist’s injury. Proving a causal connection between the driver’s bad action and the injury sustained by the cyclist is a vital part of every bicycle injury case. Inevitably the driver will assert that (1) he or she did nothing wrong, and (2) the bicyclist overreacted and crashed on their own. Furthermore, the burden of proving the casual connection between the driver’s conduct and the harm is a burden borne by the injury victim.  With evidence like the above video there can be no question regarding the dooring motorist’s fault.
Near misses that cause harm do not only arise from doorings.  Our law firm has successfully represented several bicyclists who sustained serious injuries from a variety of near miss scenarios. One particular case from a couple years ago is representative.  Our client and his friend were participating in an organized ride. The route took them through a downtown area in a central Illinois city. They were on a road with one lane of travel in each direction with no shoulder or parking on either side when our client heard his friend yell, “Truck!” He looked to see a semi tractor trailer bearing down on them. It did not look like it was going to stop so the two pushed as close to the curb as possible. The truck passed them at about 35 mph within 18 inches, in violation of Illinois’ three foot passing law. Somehow, while the two cyclists were attempting to get out of the way of the passing semi, they ran into one another causing our client to fall and break his leg. There was no contact between the cyclists and the truck.  After filing a lawsuit, we argued that but for the driver’s bad conduct the cyclist would not have fallen and become injured.  This proven persuasive and the case resolved for a substantial sum.

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