Bicyclist was hit by a vehicle making a left turn at an intersection. Who was at fault?
ARCCA’s expert conducted a comprehensive accident investigation that entailed:
• Reviewing the police accident report and photographs;
• Reviewing the deposition testimony of the driver, cyclist, and witnesses;
• Inspecting the subject bicycle;
• Conducting a site inspection, including documenting the speeds and positions of left-turning vehicles and roadway geometry;
• Conducting bicycle testing with an exemplar bicycle to assess the acceleration of bicyclists starting from a stop and quantifying the turning radius at various speeds; and
• Performing technical research regarding the accelerations of elite cyclists and pedestrian/ windshield impacts during frontal collisions.
ARCCA’s investigation revealed that the collision occurred in the middle of an intersection while the car was making a left turn on a green light at 20 mph.
Additionally, the bicyclist testified that he was riding at 15 mph, moved into the through lane of travel because there was a traffic cone in the shoulder, came to a stop at the stop bar with a red light, and then accelerated into his right turn, at which time the collision occurred.
ARCCA’s research revealed that a closing speed on the order of 35 mph is necessary for a pedestrian to penetrate the windshield of a car, which results in a 15 mph speed for the bicyclist at impact. The bicycle testing demonstrated that during maximal efforts, the test subjects could not accelerate to a speed of 15 mph over the distance from the stop bar to the point of impact. Additionally, the technical research showed that even an elite cyclist could not have been able to accelerate up to a speed of 15 mph over the aforementioned distance. The bicyclist testing also showed that the turning radius of a bicycle increased as the speeds increased.
Based on their bicycle accident reconstruction, ARCCA’s experts concluded that the bicyclist attempted to make a right turn on red at a 15 mph speed without stopping, which caused him to swing out wide into the path of the left-turning car. Furthermore, the experts concluded that the speed and position of left-turning vehicles was comparable to other vehicular traffic.