We’ve been over this numerous times in this blog over the past several months: vehicles are required to stop for pedestrians or bicyclists who are in marked crosswalks unless drivers have a green light. So it would stand to reason that if an auto-pedestrian accident occurs in a crosswalk, the driver will probably be held liable for the resulting injuries.
Which is what makes the story of an incident that earlier this month very unusual.
On January 10 at about 5:15pm, a bicyclist was trying to cross the street at the intersection of Eugene Avenue and North Jones Boulevard, which is just north of Shadow Hills Shopping Center. But while the 23-year old bicyclist was crossing Jones Road, a sport utility vehicle slammed into him, sending him some thirty feet into the air and onto the center median. The victim is now in a coma at University Medical Center.
Here’s the intriguing part: the only citation written by police was for the bicyclist – for failing to walk his bike across the intersection (which is illegal). The driver of the SUV has not been cited.
Earlier this week, two witnesses came forward and gave sworn statements to police. They claimed that they were in a vehicle that was stopped at the crosswalk waiting for the bicyclist to cross – and that the SUV ignored the stopped traffic and struck the victim (which would be a citable offense; vehicles are required to stop at crosswalks where other vehicles are already stopped). The intersection is not regulated by a traffic signal, so once the bicyclist had entered the crosswalk, he had the right of way – so all traffic should have stopped.