(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident/personal injury case and its proceedings.)
The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in a personal injury case present such issues to the court.
Description of Street at Accident Scene
The intersection of River and Ridge is controlled by a tri-light signal system. There is no tri-light signal facing the frontage road or facing the sidewalk; the tri-light signal faces the Boulevard (i.e., the four main travel lanes of River). The frontage road has a stop sign controlling each corer; the sidewalk has a walk/don’t walk signal at River and Ridge.
At the area of the accident, River is a relatively new Boulevard Project, inaugurated in the summer of 2006. The Boulevard has two through lanes going north and two through lanes going south; these four through lanes are divided by a raised concrete median, four feet wide, planted with trees. There is no parking along the through-lanes, which are each 11 feet wide (i.e., narrower than a standard freeway lane). Instead, there is another four-foot wide raised concrete median at each outer edge of the through lanes, also planted with trees. These latter medians border the through lanes on the east and west edges thereof. Next, there is an 18-foot wide paved street, marked One Way eastbound and westbound (also part of the Boulevard Project) for motorized traffic, bicycles and for parking. The parties refer to this street as the Frontage Road.
Since bicycle riding on the through lanes of the Boulevard would be very dangerous due to the narrow lanes, though it is not prohibited by law, the designer’s intent was for bicycles to use the Frontage Road. The Frontage Road is, therefore, marked on each block with bicycle symbols that have two chevron stripes to indicate that bicycles may, and should, go on the Frontage Road- it is not a dedicated Bicycle Lane. Bordering the Frontage Road on its outside, are 12-foot wide concrete sidewalks on the east and west side of the Boulevard.
Ridge is a two-lane street with parking at both edges. Ridge is 38-feet wide, bordered by a standard sidewalk.
Plaintiff contends that he was riding the bicycle on the Frontage Road (which he erroneously calls a bicycle lane); Defendant contends that he saw plaintiff at the last moment, when it was too late to brake, and saw that plaintiff was riding on the sidewalk.
At the intersection of River and Ridge, there are two large traffic control boxes that, together with planted trees along the sidewalk, serve to partially obscure a driver’s vision (under similar circumstances as defendant making his right turn) southbound on the sidewalk. Same also serve to partially obscure a bicycle rider’s vision (under similar circumstances as plaintiff riding northbound on the sidewalk) of cars turning right onto Ridge from the Boulevard. (See Part 3 of 7.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.