Bicyclist Convicted of Vehicular Manslaughter for Fatal Collision with an Elderly Pedestrian


August 19, 2013

While stories about bicyclists being involved in collisions that result in a conviction for vehicular manslaughter are not that unique, a fatal bicycle accident in California reported by the AP focuses attention on a risk that is not quite as common.  The bicyclist in this fatal collision is not the wrongful death victim but the party who was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for running down a 71-year-old senior citizen according to the AP report.  Most pedestrians understand the potential risk posed by a motor vehicle but may be less attentive to the potential risk of being hit by a speeding bicyclist.

The conviction following a guilty plea to vehicular manslaughter earlier this month is considered to be the first conviction of this type of case in the country according to the AP.  The prosecutor in the case agreed to a sentence that would not include jail time but would result in a thousand hours of community service and three years of probation.  The prosecutor in the case told the AP that the purpose of the prosecution was to send a message to bicyclists that they must observe the same care to prevent injury to pedestrians that bicyclists expect from drivers of motor vehicles.

This case presents a valuable lesson for others involving transportation-related accident cases.  Pedestrians and bicyclists have to be aware of the presence of one another just as they are alert for motor vehicles.  A bicycle may not be as heavy as a car, but skilled riders can travel at a fairly high rate of speed and can cause a significant impact when they collide with a pedestrian.  Bicyclists can reduce the risk of crashing into pedestrians if they are attentive and slow down when near intersection, crosswalks or other high traffic pedestrian areas.  Pedestrians who are crossing the street should be alert for fast moving bicyclists or riders who are appear distracted.

While the vehicular homicide conviction is believed to be the first in the country involving a bicyclist running down a pedestrian, this type of accident is certainly not unique.  A similar fatal accident occurred in New York when a bike delivery person ran down and fatally injured a pedestrian.  A study conducted in New York by Hunter College professors based on data from the State Department of Health found that 1,000 pedestrians per year seek treatment in hospitals after being struck by bicycles.

Our Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates express our condolence to the victim of this terrible tragedy.  We urge bicyclists and pedestrians to pay attention and recognize the potentially devastating consequences when bikes and pedestrians collide.  

At Montlick and Associates, our Atlanta accident lawyers are providing effective legal representation to those injured throughout all of Georgia, the Southeast and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state of Georgia.  No matter where you are located our Atlanta injury attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

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