A 77-year-old man was killed in a Chula Vista car accident after he was hit by an SUV that was exiting a parking lot, the morning of January 19, 2012. According to a U-T San Diego news report, the fatal bicycle collision occurred on Fourth Avenue near L Street in Chula Vista. Officials say, the victim was riding his bike on Fourth Avenue when a Jeep Liberty that was pulling out of Rice Elementary School’s parking lot, struck him. The cyclist was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver has been described as an elderly woman. An investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of this deceased bicycle accident victim. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 37 injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in Chula Vista. In San Diego County as a whole, nine people died and 972 were injured due to bicycle accidents, during the same year.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news account, the driver of the Jeep SUV did not see the bicyclist as she exited the school’s parking lot. Drivers pulling out of public or private driveways must yield right-of-way to pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. According to California Vehicle Code Section 21804 (a): “The driver of any vehicle about to enter or cross a highway from any public or private property, or from an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all traffic.” Vehicles entering traffic “shall continue to yield the right-of-way to that traffic until he or she can proceed with reasonable safety.”
I trust officials are looking into whether the elderly driver in this case was distracted, inattentive, careless or otherwise negligent at the time. If the driver is determined to have been at fault, she can be held liable for the bicyclist’s wrongful death. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased victims can seek compensation from the at-fault party for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Chula Vista personal injury lawyer, who will analyze all aspects of the incident and ensure that the negligent parties are held liable.