Rollerblader 10% at Fault Following Crosswalk Collision

Reasons for judgment were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing fault for a collision between a rollerblader and a vehicle.
In this week’s case (Chabot v. Shaube) the Plaintiff was rollerblading and entered an intersection in a marked crosswalk.  She had the right of way.  She passed 4 of 5 lanes when the Defendant motorist, who failed to see her, moved forward attempting a right had turn.  A collision occurred.  Despite having the right of way the Plaintiff was found 10% at fault for the collision due to her speed when crossing.  In reaching this division of fault Mr. Justice Brown provided the following reasons:
[30]         The defendant should not have rolled to a stop and proceed as she did, considering the traffic, the time of day and the marked crosswalk in front of her. Her passenger saw the plaintiff and called out a warning.
[31]         As for the plaintiff, once she chose to skate across the intersection, she should have skated at a pace that slow enough to allow her to stop as quickly as if she were walking or at most slowly jogging, which is, for all practical purposes, instantaneously, after allowing a moment to see and react. In other words, she departed from the standard of care of a reasonable person in similar circumstances. By skating at a fairly brisk jog, she failed to exercise sufficient care for her own safety when crossing a busy intersection during morning rush hour at UBC…
[34] The plaintiff was not walking. She was travelling considerably quicker than a pedestrian walking. She does not have to guard against every conceivable eventuality, or to assume a vehicle in the designated right turn lane might not respect her right of way. Only, considering the circumstances, to be more vigilant and to take reasonable precautions for her own safety, considering she was skating across the intersection, could not see traffic on the other side of the bus and could not stop as quickly as she could on foot.
[35] The law does not declare the plaintiff broke the law by skating across the crosswalk. Cyclists are obligated to dismount when they enter a crosswalk, see s. 183(1)(b) of the Motor Vehicle Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 318. But the Motor Vehicle Act does not include roller blades in its definition of “cycle”, see s. 119(1) “cyclist”; they are pedestrians. Further, I appreciate inline skating is a popular way to get around in good weather. Some road skaters appear very adept and agile skaters. I accept the plaintiff was an experienced skater and that she knew how to stop properly on skates. She was not obliged to remove her skates to cross. But having chosen to skate across the crosswalk, she needed to take reasonable precautions for her own safety, commensurate with her speed and visibility of traffic beyond the stopped bus.
[36] As noted in Karran, “fault may vary from extremely careless conduct, by which the party shows a reckless indifference or disregard for the safety of person or property, whether his own or others, down to a momentary or minor lapse of care in conduct which, nevertheless, carries with it the risk of foreseeable harm.” I find the plaintiff’s conduct falls within the range of a momentary or minor lapse of conduct, which nevertheless, carries with it the risk of foreseeable harm. Based on this finding, and the circumstance that she was always within a marked crosswalk, I apportion 90% fault to the defendant and 10% to the plaintiff.
 

bc injury law, Chabot v. Chaube, Mr. Justice Brown, Pedestrian Collisions, rollerblading

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ERIK
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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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