Francisco Donato, 44, was severely injured in a Chino car accident after his bicycle was hit by an SUV. According to a news report in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, the major injury collision occurred the morning of October 27, 2011 in the 13300 block of East End Avenue. Officials say 18-year-old Gerardo Mendez of Pomona was driving a 2001 GMC Yukon south on East End when he attempted to pass another vehicle on the right side. It was then that Mendez hit Donato who was riding his bicycle. Donato was airlifted to a regional hospital with life-threatening injuries. An investigation is ongoing.
My heart goes out to Francisco Donato and his family for what they are going through at this time. I wish him the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep Donato and his family 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 28 injuries were reported as a result of bicycle accidents in Chino. In San Bernardino County as a whole, five people died and 279 were injured in bicycle accidents, during the same year.
Possible Unsafe Pass
Based on this news report, the driver of the SUV, Mendez, may have struck the bicyclist while making an unsafe pass. California Vehicle Code Section 21754 states: “The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass to the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions … (b) Upon a highway within a business or residence district with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in the direction of travel. (c) Upon any highway outside of a business or residence district with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width and clearly marked for two or more lines of moving traffic in the direction of travel.”
The law states that motorists should not pass other vehicles unless they have a clear view of the rest of the roadway. In this particular case, it appears that Mendez did not see the bicyclist on the roadway as he passed the other vehicle. I trust officials are looking into whether Mendez was operating recklessly or negligently.
Fault and Liability
If that is determined to have been the case, then, the motorist could be held liable for the injuries and damages caused here. Injured victims can seek compensation from the at-fault driver for damages including medical expenses, loss of wages and benefits, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation and other related damages. Car accident victims and their families would be well advised to contact an experienced San Bernardino personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.