A bike rider has been charged in connection with a crash in Pickens County, South Carolina (SC), that left a pregnant pedestrian and her prematurely delivered baby dead. The collision on Mount Olivet Road outside of the community Six Mile occurred at around 9:30 pm on July 22, 2016. The announcement that the bicyclist allegedly failed to use a headlight while riding at night, as required by South Carolina law, was made two months later.
According to police, the deceased victim had been walking along the shoulder of the rural highway, facing into oncoming traffic. The location where the bike rider hit her head-on is not illuminated by street lamps. The woman's companion and the bicyclist confirmed that no one saw anyone approaching until it was too late to avoid the crash.
The expectant mother initially survived, and her baby was delivered by C-section at 26 weeks. The premie lived only a few hours, and the woman succumbed to her own injuries the day after the emergency delivery. A ticket for operating a bike without a headlight carries a maximum fine of just over $230. Virginia, like South Carolina, requires a headlight on a bicycle after sunset, as well as a rear reflector. Unfortunately, a significant number of bicyclists do not heed these important safety requirements.
Fatal pedestrian accidents usually involve cars and trucks. A bike can also inflict serious injuries on a person, especially when a fall to the ground results in brain, head and neck injuries. Also, since bicycles are classified as vehicles, bike riders must follow all the same laws as drivers (with some allowance made for speed limits). Just as a driver who forgets to switch on his or her headlights at night is consider negligent or reckless, so is a bicyclist who does not even equip his or her bike with a light.
The family of the woman who lost her life in this Pickens County pedestrian-bike crash could have strong grounds for filing wrongful death insurance claims against the man on the bicycle. Consulting with an experienced and caring Carolina wrongful death attorney would help the woman's loved ones understand how the bike rider's car insurance might apply, if they have coverage under underinsured/uninsured provisions of their own policy, or if pursuing a civil lawsuit directly against the bike rider makes sense.