Bicycle/Truck Crash Kills Berkeley Cyclist
A bicycle/truck crash took the life of a 30-year old Berkeley woman on March 9 at 8:19 a.m., according to local authorities. The accident happened in the vicinity of San Francisco’s 6th and Howard Street area. The woman was identified by the city coroner’s office as Tess Rothstein. I would like to offer my condolences to the family and friends of the deceased in their time of grief and sorrow.
Details of the Bicycle/Truck Crash
Witnesses present at the site of the bicycle/truck crash told officials that the woman was heading down Howard Street near its intersection with 6th on an electric Ford GoBike when a car door swung open. The cyclist swerved to avoid hitting it and moved into the truck’s path in an adjacent lane.
Dangerous Area for Cyclists
The area around Howard Street is known as a high-risk area for bicycle accidents and the site of four deaths in the past two years, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The accident happened about 100 feet from a recently installed bike lane spanning the distance from 6th to 11th streets. A new approval is needed to extend this project from 6th to 4th streets.
Opening Car Doors in a Bicyclist’s Path
While it is against the law to open a car door in a bicycle’s path in California, it happens all the time. This law places the responsibility on the person opening the car door and not the bicyclist. It stresses that the driver or occupant of the vehicle must refrain from opening the door until it is reasonably certain that there is no oncoming traffic, including bicyclists. Being “doored,” as cyclists call it, can have disastrous consequences and cause serious injuries or death in some cases when the bicycle hits the opened door. In other situations, the cyclist can be injured or killed when moving from their lane into another to avoid crashing as in the bicycle/truck crash described above.
Frequency of “Dooring” Accidents
Up to 20 percent of bicycle accidents involve an open vehicle door, according to the League of American Bicyclists. It is important to report an accident of this type to authorities who can find the motorist guilty of breaking the law. A citation is an important element in a personal injury lawsuit since it helps establish liability in favor of the bicyclist or plaintiff.
Improvements Needed on Howard Street
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is calling for the following improvements on Howard Street:
- Accelerate the Howard and Folsom Streetscape Project approvals
- Extend the protected bike lane down to 5th Street
- Put a dedicated bike signal at 6th Street
- Put in signal-protected intersections from 6th through 11th Street on Howard
Injuries in “Dooring” Accidents
Even at low speeds, a “dooring” accident can cause serious injuries. Many times, the bicyclist is thrown over the bike’s handlebars. Some common injuries seen with “dooring” accidents are:
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury, particularly if the cyclist is not wearing a helmet
- Facial trauma
What an Attorney Can Do for You
After a “dooring” accident, a bicyclist can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party responsible for the incident. Your attorney can investigate the accident and determine fault, without which a claim cannot be filed. After showing that fault exists, the injured bicyclist or his or her family can obtain financial damages for:
- Medical expenses, now and in the future
- Lost time from work, including future losses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent disability
- Financial loss to the family in the event of a wrongful death
Berkeley Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Berkeley personal injury lawyer. Bicyclists injured in an accident with a motor vehicle often face daunting physical and financial loss. If this has happened to you or a member of your family has been killed, you have the right to reclaim financial damages. Call me at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach out to me online at my website, AutoAccident.com.
I am pleased to say that I was chosen as a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. This organization rewards those lawyers it feels practice with the highest degree of legal excellence with membership. I also belong to the Million Dollar Forum. We are attorneys who have garnered over $1 million for a client.
When you need to retain a lawyer, it is important to research their practice first. You can learn about mine on the following pages:
Ed Smith: Bicycle/Truck Crash Kills Berkeley Cyclist
Photo Attribution: Depositphotos_46253309_l-2015
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