A bike rider suffered serious injuries when a car collided with him on Western Branch Boulevard in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA). The collision occurred just before 5 pm on January 9, 2016.
According to WAVY-TV 10, the driver was exiting a shopping center parking lot. The station did not indicate, however, if the merging driver turned into the bicyclist, striking him broadside or from behind, or if the driver crossed the path of the bike rider, making the bicyclist crash into the car. While those details do not matter to the nearly fatal outcome for the bike rider, they may determine whether police charge the driver with a moving violation.
If the driver cutoff the bicyclist, police could charge the motorist with failure to yield right of way. If, however, the crash resulted from a negligent turn, a charge like following too closely or even distracted driving may apply.
Whatever the criminal consequences for the person who ran into and injured the Chesapeake bicyclist, the lesson for everyone learning about the wreck is that they must watch closely for bikes and other two-wheeled vehicles at all times. Virginia law allows bicyclists to use all surface roads, banning them only from interstates and other restricted-access highways. Even a major road like Western Brach Boulevard can have bike riders, meaning car and truck drivers must share the road safely and respectfully.
The facts that spotting a bike and accurately judging its speed and distance do not stand up as excuses for causing accidents that injure or kill bicyclists. To avoid tragedies, drivers must take the extra time to double- and triple-check for riders and make sure the way is clear before turning or merging.