According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 743 people were killed in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes in 2013 – the highest number of fatalities since 2006. Another 48,000 cyclists were injured in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes the same year. The 2012 National Survey on Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behaviors supports these findings, showing that nearly a third of all cyclist injuries are caused when bicyclists are hit by motor vehicles. Unfortunately, California is leading the nation in the highest number of fatal bicycle accidents.
NHTSA data shows that California had 141 cyclist fatalities in 2013 while the majority of states had less than 20.
What is Being Done About the Surge in Hit-and-Run Accidents?
In many of these bike crash cases, drivers fail to stop and help the victim. Instead, they flee the scene and are difficult to track down. With a rise of nearly epidemic proportions of cyclist hit-and-run accidents, a new law took effect in January 2014 which makes it more difficult for hit-and-run motorists to “run out the clock.” Typically when drivers flee the scene of a bike accident they are not caught. This is because there are often no witnesses and few resources to put into the cases. The driver simply has to keep quiet and run out the clock on the statute of limitations. This allows them to get away with injuring or even killing someone.
This new legislation also provides additional tools to law enforcement officers. The legislation extends the statute of limitations on hit-and-run incidents that result in death or serious bodily injury. It also extends the statute of limitations to three years from the date of the offense, or by one year after a possible suspect has been identified by law enforcement. According to Assemblyman Mike Gatto, author of the bill, it “will allow victims of hit-and-runs and law enforcement to obtain justice from cowards who do everything possible to avoid responsibility for their actions… Allowing the perpetrators to avoid prosecution just adds insult to these injuries.”
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The bicycle accident attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C., are dedicated to protecting cyclists that have been injured or worse in hit-and-run accidents. If you or someone you love has been involved in a bike collision in Davis, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.