In the early hours of the morning, a vehicle traveling westbound above the posted speed limit proceeded through a green light and collided with a cyclist. The driver of the vehicle testified that they did not apply their brakes until the last few seconds before impact because the landscaping adjacent to the intersection had blocked their view of the approaching cyclist. Surveillance video of the incident showed that the driver entered the intersection with a green light and that there was a red light for the cyclist.
An ARCCA expert was asked to examine if the landscaping adjacent to the intersection would have created an obstruction for the driver and the cyclist, and then to create an animation that demonstrated the incident and the expert’s opinions.
A sightline analysis of the incident site and historical imagery indicated a concrete barrier structure adjacent to the area of impact contained landscaping that the driver claimed to have obstructed their view. These concrete barriers, excluding the landscaping, would have obstructed the visibility of any object below 54” in height. While approaching the intersection, the cyclist’s bicycle and a majority of their body would have been obstructed by the concrete structure from the westbound lane of travel. The driver in the westbound lane of travel would not have been able to detect the cyclist traveling northbound until 1.3 seconds before impact.
Based on human factors literature, this would not have been enough time for the driver to perceive, react, and avoid the cyclist. Additionally, ARCCA experts performed parametric time-distance calculations to determine if the collision would have occurred if the driver had been traveling at the posted speed limit. At 35 mph, as opposed to the actual 60 mph speed at the time of the incident, the vehicle and the cyclist would not have collided.
ARCCA’s expert determined that the presence or absence of the landscaping at the corner of the intersection would not have changed the outcome of the incident. To help demonstrate this opinion, the ARCCA visuals and animation team created an animation that depicted the incident and other scenarios, such as a lack of landscaping, the cyclist turning their gaze, and changes in vehicle speed.