Is the City to Blame for a Bicycle Crash?
As reported by the Long Beach Post, a young man named Bradley Lembke is seeking to hold the City of Long Beach accountable for a bicycle accident that ultimately killed his father. Bryan Lembke, Bradley’s father, was rear-ended on his bicycle by a driver traveling at a high speed. The crash left Bryan Lembke brain-dead, and his son to face the tragic decision to take his father off life support. Bradley Lembke claims that the city neglected a dangerous stretch of roadway where his father’s accident occurred.
California leads the nation in bicyclist fatalities, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle crash caused by someone else’s negligence, get in touch with The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (562) 901-0840 or toll-free at (888) 454-5569. Our Long Beach personal injury attorney is a dedicated advocate for injured bicyclists.
How the Fatal Bicycle Crash Occurred
On November 7, 2018, Bryan Lembke was riding his bike west on Spring Street where it bisects El Dorado park when a blue Honda Accord hit him from the rear. The driver, who had sped onto Spring Street from a 605 off-ramp, told police officers that he never saw the bicyclist before the crash. Witnesses told police the vehicle driver was speeding before the wreck. However, the investigating officer wrote that Bryan Lembke was primarily at fault for the accident because he was riding in the center of the right lane, not further to the side of the road.
Is the City Responsible for a Biker’s Death?
Bradley Lembke claims that the City of Long Beach contributed to his father’s bike accident and death by mismanaging Spring Street. He claims that the stretch of road that traverses El Dorado Regional Park is dark at night or early in the morning and that motorists frequently speed through the area. If Bradley Lembke had been riding further to right before the crash occurred, he would have risked riding in an uneven gutter with debris in his path. Bradley Lembke argues that, although Long Beach encourages people to bicycle as a safe means of commuting, the city failed to provide adequate infrastructure to support cycling in the area where his father was fatally injured.
What Makes Roads Hazardous for Bicyclists?
Bicycles are much lighter and less stable than 4,000-pound, four-wheeled motor vehicles, and much more susceptible to road hazards. Hazardous road conditions that can lead to serious bike accidents include:
- Cobbled or brick roads
- Graveled or chip-sealed roads
- Low-hanging trees or bushes extending onto the roadway
- Potholes caused by shoddy, temporary road fixes that crack or sink, or by long-term wear and tear
- Sewer grates with bars running in the same direction as traffic
- Rail tracks that run on the roadway in the direction of traffic or cross the road at an angle or curve
- Dead animals in the road
- Paint stripes on the road that become slick when wet
Filing a Claim for Damages Against the Government
When a bike accident is caused by a road hazard, the most likely responsible party is the government entity (city, county, state, etc.) that maintains the roadway. However, there are special rules impacting the timeframe in which an individual can file a personal injury claim against the government. Sovereign immunity still exists – the doctrine that the government cannot be sued without its consent. Also, there are much shorter deadlines to meet when filing a lawsuit against a city or other government entity.
After a serious bicycle crash, your best course of action is to speak with a Long Beach bicycle accident lawyer right away. Contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV for dedicated legal representation.