Negligent Drivers Injuring Cyclists Now Face Stiffer Penalties
Earlier this week, Senate Bill 5326. which increases the penalties for negligent driving, was signed into law.
Now, negligent drivers, who seriously injure or kill a cyclist, will face much harsher consequences. Thank goodness, is undoubtedly the response of many of our clients and their family members, when they learn about this. SKWC handles numerous cases, where negligent driving results in seriously injured or killed cyclists.
One SKWC bicycle injury client, a UW medical student, was riding his bicycle safely with a helmet, but when a vehicle made an illegal left turn in front of him, he did not have a chance. After his bike collided into the offending vehicle, the force of the crash threw him violently to the pavement. He suffered traumatic brain injury, a broken femur, and facial lacerations.
Another SKWC client was tragically killed at 14 years old, when a Pierce County police car hit him. In that case, the young boy was riding his bicycle lawfully with his friend.
The police officer did not have his siren on, and looked down to adjust his radio. But when he looked back at the road, the officer saw the two children on bicycles. The officer was traveling at about 50 mph and had no time to stop or avoid hitting the young boys. He began to brake as soon as he could to bring the car to a stop.
Time will tell how this new law will affect cases, where law enforcement agents are found negligent.
The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Adam Kline (D-Seattle) explains, “A small fine is not a stiff enough penalty for killing or seriously injuring someone due to negligent driving. This bill puts reasonable expectations on motorists to pay attention to bicyclists and other non-automobile users of the roadway, and will help provide some sense of justice to families who have lost loved ones.”