New California Law Makes Bike Path Hit-and-Run a Crime

When it comes to hit-and-run pedestrian accidents, most often we think of an incident involving a vehicle. However, a new California law, which goes into effect with the new year, makes it a crime for a bicyclist to hit a pedestrian while on a bike path and flee the scene.

According to the Daily Bulletin, the law already applied to cyclist/pedestrian accidents on the road, but is now expanded to cover accidents on bike paths as well. Under the new law, “a bicyclist who strikes a pedestrian on a bike path causing injuries or death will now have to stay put, helping the injured person if possible and waiting for police” or else face criminal charges like a hit-and run motorist would face.

The new law was encouraged after several incidents of cyclist/pedestrian accidents along bike paths—pedestrians were hit and left injured on the path, while the cyclist rode away with no legal consequences to prevent them from doing so. One example was 61-year-old Bill Finbeiner who was hit by a bicyclist while walking along a path. He suffered “a fractured skull, a broken nose, facial fractures, a broken left hand and a broken left thumb, in addition to having two teeth knocked out and the back of both hands torn up.” However, it wasn’t a crime to hit someone and leave, so the cyclist rode away.

With this new law, hopefully cyclists will be more attentive to pedestrians while sharing bike and walking paths and encouraged to stop when they have hit and injured a pedestrian. If you have been hit and injured by a cyclist, it is crucial you get their information, much like a car accident. In the event you have injuries that require medical care and attention, the cyclist would be liable for the costs of those injuries. This means, an injured pedestrian may have a personal injury claim against a cyclist if the pedestrian can prove the cyclist was responsible for the accident.

Proving liability in a case like this can be tricky, and the cyclist may claim the pedestrian is at fault to avoid liability. If you are in a pedestrian/cyclist accident, you should get the cyclist’s information and contact an experienced pedestrian accident attorney who can help investigate the case and determine liability. To show the cyclist is liable, you must show that the cyclist’s negligence or reckless actions caused the accident. This can be done by showing the cyclist was distracted or failed to stop at a path crossing.

If you have been injured by a cyclist, you should contact the skilled attorneys at Walch Law. We have years of experience handling personal injury cases and will know how to help you get the compensation you deserve. Bicycle cases can be trickier than vehicle cases because car insurance does apply, but we can assist in determining other sources for financial compensation which could include home owner’s insurance. If you have been injured due to the fault of another, we are here to help you get the financial recovery you deserve so you can focus on your physical recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation at 866-INJURY-2 or 866-465-8792.

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