A vehicle attempting to enter a shopping center made a left turn through a line of stopped traffic proceeding in the opposite direction. A cyclist collided with the right rear of the vehicle as it drove onto the apron of the entrance. The cyclist was riding in the right shoulder passing the stopped traffic on the right. The cyclist’s head impacted the c-pillar of the vehicle, while his upper body penetrated the right rear window. The cyclist was riding a high performance road bicycle, was not wearing a helmet, and sustained serious head injuries. The bicycle frame sustained a complete frame failure.
Reviewing the police accident report and photographs;
Reviewing the deposition testimony of the cyclist, driver, and witnesses;
Conducting an inspection of the subject bicycle;
Conducting a thorough site inspection, including documenting the line of sight and roadway geometry;
Utilizing 3D computer animation to assess the vehicle driver’s and cyclist’s lines of sight;
Performing bicycle helmet testing to assess the head injury threshold with and without a helmet;
Performing a bicycle safety analysis of the cyclist’s actions/or inactions; and
Conducting a braking analysis for the cyclist.
ARCCA’s investigation revealed that, had the cyclist been wearing a bicycle helmet that complied with the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) safety standards for bicycle helmets, his head injuries would have been eliminated or significantly reduced. The 3D animation demonstrated that the left front of the vehicle would have been visible to the cyclist prior to the cyclist becoming visible to the driver of the vehicle.
Additionally, ARCCA’s investigation showed that the cyclist was passing the vehicles on the right in an unsafe manner and riding at an excessively high rate of speed. Furthermore, the braking analysis demonstrated that if the cyclist had been exercising a reasonable degree of attention, he would have been able to see the left-turning vehicle in time to safely bring his bicycle to a controlled stop.