Court grants summary disposition against bike rider struck by car
In Ascencio v. Snider, et al., the plaintiff sued the owners and driver of a car that struck him on his bicycle. The plaintiff argued that when the young driver of the car made a left turn from a bank parking lot, he violated right-of-way law by strking the bike as it traveled on the sidewalk adjacent to the highway. The car's insurance attorneys argued that even if the driver violated the bike rider's right of way, the bicyclist was more than fifty percent at fault because he saw the left-turning vehicle stopped at the bank exit and attempted to pass in front of it.
This would sound like a question of fact for jurors, however, the Court of Appeals sustained the trial judge's decision to summarily dispose of the bicyclist's injury claim. it held that reasonable jurors could not conclude that the left-turning motorist was even equally culpable for causing the collision: the driver had an "adequate excuse" according to the Court--even if the driver was presumed negligent by statute--because the bike rider "darted unexpectedly" in front of his vehicle.