Cyclist Found 15% at fault For Collision While Riding in Cross-Walk

In my continued efforts to document BC decisions addressing fault for vehicle/cyclist collisions, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, addressing an crosswalk collision involving such an incident.
In last week’s case (Callahan v. Kim) the Defendant motorist stopped at an intersection on a red light.  He intended to make a right hand turn.  At the same time the Plaintiff cyclist approached on the sidewalk to the motorist’s right.   The Defendant failed to see the Plaintiff who entered the intersection on his bicycle as the Defendant commenced his right hand turn.  The Court found both to blame with the motorist shouldering 85% of the fault.  In coming to this decision Madam Justice Fenlon provided the following reasons:
[10]         As for Mr. Kim’s vehicle, I find that he stopped at the stop line on Riverwood Gate, intending to make a right turn north onto Coast Meridian. He looked quickly to his right and failed to notice the plaintiff who at that time was either at the pedestrian control button or approaching it. Thereafter, as Mr. Kim admitted, he was looking to his left and then ahead and did not check right again before moving into the crosswalk and colliding with Mr. Callahan…
[18]         In assessing whether Mr. Kim failed to meet his duty of care, a number of considerations come into play. First, Mr. Kim was proceeding against a red light. Second, Mr. Callahan was in a marked crosswalk with both a green light and a pedestrian walk sign in his favour. I find that, even though Mr. Kim acted within the law in making a right turn on a red light, he had a clear duty to give way to a user of the crosswalk. While Mr. Callahan contravened s. 183(2)(b) by not dismounting and walking his bicycle across the street as required by the Motor Vehicle Act, and therefore did not have the statutory right-of-way, he was nonetheless a user of the crosswalk. A crosswalk is precisely where other users of the roadway are expected to be, especially when the traffic signals are in their favour.
[19]         I conclude that Mr. Kim departed from the standard of care he owed in these circumstances when he failed to check again to his right before setting his vehicle in motion to start his right turn. Mr. Kim’s failure to do so was a direct cause of the accident…
[33]         In my view, the case before me is far more like Dobre. In that case, the plaintiff cyclist approached the intersection by riding on the wrong side of the street but stopped before entering the marked crosswalk, looked left and right and pushed the button to activate the pedestrian warning light. He was pedalling slowly across the intersection and was close to the centre of the road when the defendant’s car struck the rear wheel of his bicycle. As in the case at bar, the plaintiff in Dobre checked to his left and observed a car approaching but assumed it posed no hazard to him. In that case, N. Brown J. apportioned liability 85% to the driver and 15% to the cyclist.
[34]         I find Mr. Kim’s conduct in failing to observe the plaintiff in the crosswalk and in starting a turn without looking to his right to be far more blameworthy than Mr. Callahan’s failure to make eye contact. Taking into account all of the circumstances in the case before me, I conclude that liability should be apportioned 85% to Mr. Kim and 15% to Mr. Callahan.

Callahan v. Kim, cyclist collisions, Madam Justice Fenlon, section 183 motor vehicle act

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ERIK
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Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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