San Diego News10 reported that an intoxicated bicyclist sustained serious injuries as a result of being struck by a hit-and-run driver on October 14, 2010. The auto accident happened at around 8 p.m. in the bike lane on Pomerado Road, near Caminito Vecinos. Police stated that the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet, had no reflective gear on, or lights on his bike. The cyclist was reported to have been drinking, and at the time he was hit, was wearing a backpack with beer containers inside it, which police think may have saved his life. Police Sergeant Art Doherty said “He had a number of beverages in the backpack. It probably absorbed the impact.” The bicycle accident victim would not cooperate with police who had no description of the driver or the hit-and run vehicle. However, debris from the car found at the scene could lead police to the identity of the vehicle. The bicyclist sustained multiple injuries including abrasions, bruises, a fractured vertebra, and was transported to the hospital.
Applicable California Law
Drivers who are involved in an accident have the responsibility to remain at the scene of the accident to provide information and assistance (see my prior Blog post San Diego Hit-And-Run Auto Accident Causes Severe Brain Injury on California’s Hit-and-run laws). Bicyclist who ride on the streets have the same rights and duties, under the law, as any other vehicle on the road (see my prior Blog post Ramona Bike Accident Causes Fatality on California’s Bike Laws), which prohibit drinking while riding on the streets (see my prior Blog post San Diego Woman Arrested For Fatal Coronado Traffic Accident on California’s Drunk Driving laws). If after through investigation has been conducted, the driver of the hit-and-run vehicle cannot be identified, the bicyclist could pursue an uninsured motorist claim if he has auto insurance with UM coverage, since the accident involved a motor vehicle. However, since the bicyclist had been drinking, not wearing a helmet, proper reflective gear, or having lights on his bicycle, the value of his claim could be diminished to the extent it can be proved that he contributed to his own injuries.
Bicyclists, in particular those who ride while intoxicated or without proper protective gear, are at high risk of sustaining serious injuries if they are involved in an auto accident. Bicycle accidents often result in brain injuries, spine injuries, or wrongful death. Initiating a thorough investigation to determine who caused the accident and consulting with the proper medical specialists to determine the nature and extent of the injuries, are some of the many benefits of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney