Randy Lairmore, 58, suffered major head injuries after a vehicle struck him near the intersection of River Boulevard and Water Street. The Bakersfield Californian reports that the major injury collision occurred the afternoon of March 10, 2013. Police say Lairmore was riding south on River Boulevard north on Water Street on the right side of the number two lane.
About the same time, Kaycee Rich was driving a 1997 Honda Civic south on River Boulevard, preparing to make a right turn on to westbound Water Street. Officials say Rich activated her turn signal, slowed down and made a right turn onto Water directly in front of Lairmore. The bicyclist hit the right rear of Rich’s car. He was thrown from his bike and struck the roadway. He was hospitalized with major head trauma. An investigation is ongoing.
Bicycle Crash Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2010 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 49 injuries reported as a result of bicycle collisions in Bakersfield. In Kern County as a whole, 113 bicyclists were injured during the same year.
What Caused This Crash?
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver of the Honda may have failed to notice the bicyclist at the intersection. Under California law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles. However, bicyclists are often not as visible as other motorists and this might become problematic particularly at dangerous intersections or in situations involving distracted, inattentive, impaired or otherwise negligent motorists.
In this particular case, I trust officials are looking into why Rich failed to notice the bicyclist. If Rich is determined to have been at fault, she could be held liable for damages including but not limited to medical expenses, lost wages, cost of hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injuries, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
If a dangerous roadway or intersection caused this incident, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining the roadway can also be held liable. Under California Government Code Section 911.2, any personal injury claim against a governmental agency must be filed within 180 days of the incident. An experienced Bakersfield personal injury lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.