Thomas Stipicevich, 43, suffered major injuries in a bicycle accident in San Luis Obispo after a left-turning vehicle struck him. According to a KSBY News report, the injury collision occurred at the intersection of Santa Rosa and Boysen Street the evening of August 14, 2012. Police say Stipicevich was riding his bike southbound on Santa Rosa when a car traveling northbound tried to turn left onto Boysen Street. The driver failed to see Stipicevich and struck him. He was transported to a local hospital with two broken legs. Officials do not believe alcohol or drugs were factors in this collision.
My thoughts and prayers are with Thomas Stipicevich who has been seriously injured in this bike crash.
San Luis Obispo Crashes
According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 54 injuries involving bicycle accidents in San Luis Obispo during the year 2009. Countywide, car accidents claimed 29 lives and injured 1,088 people during the same year.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the other vehicle was making a left turn and failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming bicycle. California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
Under California law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles. In this case, the driver should have yielded the right-of-way to the bicyclist. I trust officials are looking into whether the driver was distracted, inattentive or otherwise negligent at the time.
If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he or she can be held liable for the bicyclist’s major injuries. Injured victims can seek compensation to cover medical expenses, loss of wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Victims would also be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in California who will stay abreast of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.