Example – Bike lanes are safer than sidewalks.

Since I am not a trained attorney feel free to correct my analysis…

There was a report in the Post Bulletin about a cyclist who was injured by the driver of a car.

Here is what happened:

William Hayes, 39, of Mazeppa, was unable to see because he was looking directly into the sun as he turned northbound onto 17th Avenue Northwest from Seventh Street, according to Interim Rochester Police Chief John Sherwin.

I was particularly interested in this comment:

No citation was issued because the men were determined to be equally at fault, Sherwin said.

Here is the police report:

 photo bike crash_zpsgfhbrlkh.jpg

I disagree that both men were equally at fault, however according to the law they were. Chief Sherwin is correct. Had the cyclist been in the bike lane in the very same location it is more likely that they would have been seen by the driver AND the driver would have been entirely at fault.

Here is my interpretation given plenty of experience and no education.

First of all, if you are blinded by the sun and hit someone it is because you are not operating a motor vehicle at an appropriate speed for the conditions.

Second, there is an obligation for a cyclist to stop at an intersection if they are riding on a sidewalk. Pedestrians have the right of way when they step into an uncontrolled intersection, transparently bikes do not. In a bike lane, because they are going straight and there is not lights / stop signs, the cyclist could continue.

Had a driver made a left turn and hit a car or bike going straight the other direction they would be liable. Because they were on a sidewalk they were both less safe and not protected by the law.

2 comments

  1. A person lawfully operating a bicycle on a sidewalk, or across a roadway or shoulder on a crosswalk, shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances minn statutes 169.22 subd 4(f).
    (a) Where traffic-control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall stop to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any crosswalk at an intersection with no marked crosswalk. The driver must remain stopped until the pedestrian has passed the lane in which the vehicle is stopped. No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. This provision shall not apply under the conditions as otherwise provided in this subdivision. 169.21 subd 2a

    1. So I guess the only question is the “so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.” Hard to say if the cyclist was knocked unconscious.

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