Cyclist Injured In Collision With Cement Truck Loses at BC Court of Appeal
Earlier this month the BC High Court dismissed an appeal by a cyclist who sustained serious injuries when he collided with a cement truck in 2004 (Sivasubramanian v. Franz).
The cyclist was travelling on the right hand shoulder of a roadway. As he approached an intersection there was a cement truck ahead of him signalling to turn right. The truck then started its turn and the cyclist collided into the midsection of the truck. The Plaintiff sued the cement truck driver. The case was dismissed at trial (you can click here to read my summary of the trial Judge’s findings).
The Plaintiff appealed arguing that the trial judge was wrong to dismiss the claim because the motorist should have seen the cyclist before the collision and should not have turned when he did. The BC Court of Appeal disagreed and dismissed the case. In dong so the Court made the following comments:
 In the case at bar, the respondent truck driver was in the midst of a lawful turn to the right from the curb lane when the appellant rode his bicycle heedlessly into the mid-section of the truck. I agree with the trial judge’s conclusion that it would be unreasonable for Mr. Franz to assume that the appellant, or indeed any other user of the highway, would ignore his indication to turn right, and that by the time the appellant reached the intersection, Mr. Franz was well into his turn and could not have avoided the collision.
 The appellant’s submission that he was so close to the intersection as to constitute an immediate hazard to which Mr. Franz had sufficient time to react and take evasive action is not supported by the trial judge’s findings of fact.
 Second, the appellant’s argument that the trial judge erred in finding that even if Mr. Franz had seen the appellant he would have been justified in making the right hand turn is supportable. Given the trial judge’s findings I see no error in her conclusion.
 I would not accede to the appellant’s arguments. Notwithstanding Mr. Thomas’ able submissions, cases such as this are fact-driven. As in Trac v. Sangra (1995), 17 B.C.L.R. (3d) 92, “this is a case that could be won, if at all, only at trial. For us to interfere would require us in effect to retry this case and to take a different view of the facts from that of the trial judge. That we are most reluctant to do.”
 In my opinion, the appeal should be dismissed with costs to the respondents.
This case demonstrates one of the most basic principles in personal injury lawsuits (tort claims); in order to successfully sue for personal injuries the other party must be at least partially at fault otherwise the result will be dismissal at trial.