Bike vs Car II

One commenter on the KTUU story is wondering why details regarding the recent tragic loss of a cyclist have not been made public:  http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/city-streets-an-urban-hazard-for-anchorage-cyclists/-/21043658/23765170/-/ub3nfmz/-/index.html.

The reason is Anchorage Police Department does not release details of an investigation until after a decision has been made about prosecution.  If APD determines that the vehicle driver was in the wrong, then he or she could well be facing vehicular manslaughter charges, a homicide.  It will probably be several  weeks before the decision is made.  APD has probably interviewed all of the witnesses, inspected the car and bicycle and possibly taking blood tests of both the victim and the driver.  When the investigation is completed, APD will meet with the District Attorney's Office and the DA will decide whether to press charges.  If the DA prosecutes, it will alert the media.

Meanwhile, despite some mean-spirited comments on the KTUU site, cyclists are entitled under the law to use the streets as well as vehicles.  And vehicles under the law have a duty to keep a proper lookout.  And there is no duty under the law which requires users of the roads to proceed at the speed limit.

In fact,  the speed limit posted is the maximum speed limit for  good conditions.  Many, many people are receive tickets for driving less than the speed limit when road conditions are bad.  And, in turn, these people can be held liable for causing injuries or death to another if they exceeded a safe speed for the conditions.

Another issue in cyclist safety is the "right hand hook".  Many drivers fail to stop before turning right, fail to look both ways to ensure the traffic is clear.  Many drivers, if they do stop, roll past the white line designated for a stop and roll past the stop sign when they do stop.  That is the reason so many people ride in the street rather than sidewalks so that they can see the "rolling stops" from a distance.

For a complete list of the applicable laws, see http://www.muni.org/Departments/OCPD/Planning/AMATS/Documents.  Search for the Adopted Bicycle Plan Appendices.

If you are riding your bike and are injured in a collision with a vehicle, call a personal injury attorney.  Contact Keenan Powell: keenan@keenanpowell.com, (907) 258-7663.