On August 18, 2009, a cyclist was injured at Paddock Road and Seymour Ave. He was coming down Paddock with the intention of going straight through the intersection. A motorist coming the other way on Paddock [i.e., approaching the cyclist] had the intention of turnign left. The cyclist recalls the light was green, he entered the intersection and then got WHACKED by the 2007 Town and Country van that turned left in front of him.
The EMTs arrived. The cyclist was out of it. In fact, he was not conscious until 2 hours later!
To say he was surprised when a cop showed up and gave HIM a ticket is an understatement, to say the least.
The cyclist got the police report. In the “Narrative” section the cop wrote “Unit 1 [the cyclist] traveling westbound on Paddock failed to stop at crosswalk where the light stated “Do Not Walk” and struck Unit 2 [the van]”
Paddock and Seymour is big, hairy complex intersection. The cyclist assured me that he was in the lane furthest to the right on Paddock that went straight through the intersection and that the light was green.
We went to court yesterday. The charge, despite the “narrative” was clearly going to be a red light violation – i.e., that the cyclist ran the red light. A witness, not listed on the police report, was subpoena’d by the Prosecutor. The witness obeyed the subpoena and showed up, thankfully, then met privately with the prosecutor and the officer. When they emerged the prosecutor advised me that the witness COMPLETELY VERIFIED the cyclist’s version of events. The cyclist was riding lawfully, in the “straight ahead” lane to the witness’s left. The witness was turning right. The light was green.
In light of that, the officer recommended, and the prosecutor agreed, that the charges should be dropped. The Prosecutor advised the judge that they wanted to drop all charges, and the charges were dropped!
Next step – pursue the motorist’s auto insurance carrier for damages – including smashing a $1000 bike and the cyclist to suffer variety of injuries, incur medical expenses, suffer lost wages and lose out on the enjoyment of his life!
We are very happy for small victories… in this case those SMALL VICTORIES included:
– A witness who gave her name and contact information to police at the scene and wasn’t afraid to “get involved” as many are today.
– A witness who obeyed the subpoena and showed up for court.
– A police officer and prosecutor who were not afraid to admit that they were wrong
– A police officer and prosecutor who were not afraid to tell the court that they screwed up and the case should be dismissed.
The Bike Lawyer