‘Sharrows’ aren’t discussed often, but they can save lives if drivers are paying attention. Four years ago, a bicyclist was being sent to the hospital after being severely injured in a crash. Now, he’s making the news. Even as he was following the rules and riding in the sharrow-marked lane, a driver failed to see him, costing him years of pain and suffering. According to Seattle Times, a jury has just awarded the cyclist $38 million.
During the trial, attorneys defending the 51-year-old argued that Standard Parking valet drivers are frequently seen taking illegal shortcuts across the at least two traffic lanes on Eighth Avenue. During the trial, attorneys also added that safety training was lacking, and that this may have prompted the valet driver to crash into their clients.
The victim in this tragic crash was riding north and in the right lane at about 4 pm on his way home. He had been riding in the lane marked with “sharrows,” which are the white bicycle-shaped icons. The valet driver was behind the wheel of a client car from the Olive 9 across the northbound one-way-street when he failed to notice the cyclist traveling on his right. After the tragic collision, the valet driver was cited for failure to yield the right of way.
The sharrows used to mark bicycle lanes are important and shouldn’t be ignored by drivers.
If this accident is any indicator, drivers are often oblivious to signs ahead. They are also often unaware of road rules, driving carelessly and putting people’s lives in danger. If you’re a driver, stay alert to the signs ahead. Sharrows will mark the way for riders whose right to share the road with larger vehicles is protected by the law. If a rider is injured in a crash because you acted in a negligent fashion, you could be held liable in a court of law.
Due to this tragic collision, the 51-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury, aside from others. His shattered hip now prevents him from walking longer distances without crutches. This reality is all too common.
We must fight against distraction and against our impulse to ignore riders, motorcyclists, and pedestrians.
For more on this tragic crash, follow this link.