Recently in Bike & Pedestrian Accidents Category

May 6, 2014

New Mexico Court of Appeals Allows Faulty Crosswalk Case to Proceed

A recent decision by the New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed a prior judgment, allowing a woman's product liability and negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer of a crosswalk lighting system and the City of Las Cruces, New Mexico to proceed toward trial.

The Accident

On October 9, 2008 the plaintiff was crossing at a marked crosswalk in Las Cruces, New Mexico, when she was struck by a car and seriously injured. The woman claimed that she pushed the button at the crosswalk, but the flashing lights did not function properly to alert the driver of the car that ultimately hit her. The woman filed suit against the manufacturer of the lighting system and the city of Las Cruces, alleging that the company supplied a defective product, which was negligently employed by the city and caused her to be injured.

The Lower Court's Ruling

The Defendants argued that the woman's claim was invalid based on her own testimony taken in a deposition. The woman said that she would have crossed the street regardless of whether the warning lights were flashing. Based on the fact that the woman suggested the defective lights were not a cause of the accident, the New Mexico district Court ruled that the plaintiff did not present sufficient evidence for a jury to decide that the city nor the manufacturers were liable for her injuries.

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September 18, 2013

Careless Driver Charged in Connection With Fatal Las Cruces Hit-And-Run Bicycle Accident

file000851924591 morguefile username dharder.jpgThe Las Cruces Police Department has arrested a 28-year-old man who stands accused of killing a 57-year-old man in an August hit-and-run bicycle accident. According to crash investigators, the bicycle rider was traveling south on Valley Drive around 9 pm when he was struck from behind by a red Chevrolet pick-up truck. Police stated the bicycle became lodged beneath the truck after the bicyclist was thrown several feet from the street. The driver of the pick-up truck purportedly continued heading south on the roadway. Police later found the bicycle on South Main Street under an interstate overpass.

Following the crash, emergency responders transported the bicyclist to University Medical Center of El Paso where he was reportedly placed on life support. Sadly, the 57-year-old man died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the hit-and-run accident three days later.

In early September, accident investigators received information that led them to question the 28-year-old man in connection with the fatal incident. He was later charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused bodily harm or death, careless driving, and evidence tampering. According to police, the man struck the bicyclist while reaching for his mobile telephone. He is currently being held in the Dona Ana County Detention Center.

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August 28, 2013

Bicycle Rider Killed in Accident with Pick-Up on New Mexico State Road 136 in Santa Teresa

file2571251923918 morguefile username MarcoMaru.jpgAn off-duty United States Border Patrol Agent allegedly struck and killed an El Paso Bicyclist in an early morning crash on New Mexico State Road 136 in Santa Teresa. According to New Mexico State Police Spokesperson Sergeant Emmanuel Gutierrez, the 29-year-old Border Patrol Agent claims the 47-year-old victim unexpectedly swerved in front of his pick-up truck as he traveled to work. Following the bicycle accident, the driver allegedly stopped and performed CPR on the man until emergency responders arrived. The bicycle rider was transported to Sierra Providence Hospital where he died about five hours after the accident.

The exact cause of the fatal bicycle accident is currently under investigation by the New Mexico State Police. According to investigators, there is no reason to believe the driver was distracted by his cellular telephone at the time of the deadly crash. Still, a bicyclist who was riding with the decedent at the time of the incident stated the 47-year-old was a conscientious rider for numerous years. Rolando Morales, Advocacy Director for EP Cyclists, added that the roadway is popular with bicycle riders and said vehicle drivers need to understand that bicyclists have the same rights as cars. Once the investigation is completed, it will reportedly be reviewed by the New Mexico District Attorney's Office.

As this case demonstrates, whether you are traveling by bicycle, motor vehicle, or simply walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected accident with a reckless or inattentive driver can occur at any time. Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Code requires that all bicycle riders who travel on a roadway in our state be afforded the same rights as motor vehicles. Regrettably, too many motorists choose to ignore this requirement. A bicyclist who is involved in a traffic wreck with an automobile may sustain severe and disabling injuries as a result of a collision. In too many cases, a New Mexico bicycle rider is tragically killed.

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February 16, 2013

Driver Sentenced to Six Months in Jail for Negligent Homicide Following Death of Bicyclist in Laguna

826619_race_across_america_4%20sxchu%20username%20winjohn.jpgA 58-year-old motorist was sentenced to six months in jail in connection with the death of a 19-year-old bicyclist more than two years ago in Laguna. Gilbert Waconda allegedly struck the bicyclist with his sport utility vehicle as he rode on New Mexico State Road 124 in June 2010. The deceased bicyclist was reportedly on a cross country journey along Old Route 66 with three friends in an effort to raise money for charity.

According to Chief Prosecutor Dave Adams, there was no evidence that Waconda was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the fatal crash. Still, Adams alleged that Waconda was driving on the shoulder of the roadway when the wreck occurred and that his conduct was reckless. Although the motorist reportedly pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide as part of a negotiated agreement, a Laguna Pueblo judge handed down the maximum possible jail sentence and ordered Waconda to perform 600 hours of community service.

Whether you are riding a bicycle, traveling in a motor vehicle, or merely walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected accident with a reckless or inattentive motorist can occur at any time. Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Code requires that all bicyclists who are riding on a roadway in our state be afforded the same rights as automobiles. Unfortunately, too many drivers ignore this requirement. Sadly, a bicyclist may sustain serious and disabling injuries as a result of a crash with a vehicle. If you were hurt by careless motorist while traveling on your bicycle or in your car, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If you tragically lost a loved one in such a crash, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the wreck. A skilled bicycle accident attorney can explain your rights in more detail.

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January 27, 2013

Homeless Man Dies After Being Struck by Two Vehicles in Bizarre Santa Fe Pedestrian Accident

494458_highway_at_night%20sxchu%20username%20mightydrak.jpgA homeless man was recently killed after he was hit by two automobiles on St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. 48-year-old Ernie Baca was allegedly wearing dark clothing and walking in one of the westbound lanes of the roadway when he was hit by a Subaru that was headed west around 8:30 pm. Immediately following the initial crash, Baca was reportedly struck by another automobile. The injured man was purportedly transported to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center with serious head injuries. Sadly, Baca later died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the traffic accident.

The exact cause of the pedestrian accident is currently under investigation by the Santa Fe Police Department. According to Deputy Chief John Schaerfl, neither driver appeared to be intoxicated when Baca was struck. In addition, Schaerfl said speed does not appear to have played a factor in the crash. At this time, it is unknown whether Baca himself was intoxicated when he was hit. Schaerfl stated the area where Baca was struck is dimly lit at night.

Negligent, careless, or reckless drivers often cause pedestrian accidents in New Mexico and elsewhere. More than 4,200 pedestrians died and about 70,000 were hurt in traffic accidents throughout the United States in 2010. Sadly, that was a four percent increase over the previous year. Pedestrian fatalities in 2010 accounted for 13 percent of all traffic deaths. In addition, approximately 73 percent of all pedestrian crashes occurred in a city or other urban setting and about two-thirds of those killed were men.

Regrettably, whenever someone who is traveling on foot is struck by a vehicle the resulting injuries can be catastrophic or fatal. Depending on the facts of the situation, a pedestrian accident victim may be entitled to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost benefits and wages, suffering and pain, and any resulting disability. Certain relatives of someone who was killed in a pedestrian accident may be able to recover the costs associated with their loved one’s funeral and other damages. If you or a close family member was hurt in a New Mexico pedestrian accident, you only have three years during which to file a lawsuit. Because of this limitation, it important for you to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible following any traffic accident.

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July 30, 2012

Pedestrian in Critical Condition After Santa Fe Crash

1375248_untitled%20sxchu.jpgLast week, a pedestrian was left with allegedly disabling injuries after she was struck by an automobile in a crosswalk at the intersection of Cerrillos Road and St. Michael’s Drive in Santa Fe. According to Santa Fe Police Sgt. Andrea Dobyns, 49-year-old Candice O’Dell was hit by a car after she stepped off of the curb and into the crosswalk. Despite that two signs warn drivers to yield to pedestrians, Dobyns stated the 27-year-old driver involved in the crash likely did not have enough time to come to a stop when O’Dell entered the dedicated turn lane.

According to accident witnesses, O’Dell stepped out in front of the car that hit her without first looking for traffic. During the crash, O’Dell’s head reportedly struck and partially shattered the passenger windshield of the vehicle. Immediately following the accident, O’Dell was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center where she reportedly remains in critical condition. O’Dell allegedly suffered both a spinal injury and a head injury in the collision.

According to Dobyns, the cause of the accident remains under investigation. She stated the driver of the automobile that struck O’Dell was not ticketed and there was no reason to believe he was speeding at the time of the crash. The accident occurred at the same intersection where 46-year-old Nina Heman was killed last year in a similar incident. In July 2011, Heman was struck by a pick-up truck as she stepped into the crosswalk of the same dedicated turn lane. The driver of the truck that hit Heman also was not cited.

It is unclear why pedestrians continue to be injured or killed at this particular intersection. Sometimes, in addition to careless, negligent, or reckless drivers, poorly designed roadways can contribute to an increase in injury accidents. Unfortunately, whenever a pedestrian is hit by an automobile, the resulting injuries are often traumatic or fatal. Depending on the situation, pedestrian accident victims may be eligible to receive damages for their medical costs, suffering and pain, lost benefits and wages, and any resulting disability. Additionally, the family members of someone killed in a pedestrian accident may be able to recover funeral expenses and other damages. If you or a loved one were a victim in a New Mexico pedestrian accident, you only have up to three years to file your case. This is why it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can after an accident.

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May 15, 2012

Santa Fe Cyclist Injured While Riding in Dedicated Bike Lane

823923_its_been_a_long_road%20sxchu.jpgOn April 25th, 59-year-old Frank Witwol was struck while riding his bicycle in a dedicated bike lane on Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe. Although the lane he was riding in is devoted solely to bicycles, it is also situated between two motorized vehicle lanes. Witwol was reportedly struck from behind by 83-year-old Jeannine Smith as she allegedly crossed the bike lane in order to navigate her automobile into the right-hand turn lane. Although Smith claimed Witwol rear-ended her vehicle, her car was damaged on the front passenger side. Despite that Witwol’s bicycle was destroyed and he spent three nights in the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center with broken ribs and a collapsed lung, Smith was only ticketed by local police. Because alcohol was not a suspected factor in the crash, Smith was cited for inattentive driving.

Witwol stated he has no recollection of the accident that hospitalized him. Still, he is unsure whether he feels confident enough to use similar dedicated bike lanes in the future. He feels his safety may have been placed at risk by using a bicycle lane that is situated between two lanes of vehicle traffic. Despite that such lanes reportedly meet the best practice requirements of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, some cyclists claim bike lanes like those on Old Pecos Trail foster a false and dangerous sense of protection from motorized traffic.

Whether you are traveling in an automobile, riding a bicycle, or merely walking on a sidewalk, an unexpected collision with an inattentive driver can happen anywhere. According to Section 66-3-702 of New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Code, all bicyclists on the roadway should be afforded the same rights as cars. The injuries that a bicyclist may sustain as a result of a crash are often severe and disabling. If you were hurt by an inattentive driver while riding in your car or on your bicycle, you may be eligible to receive compensation for pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages. If you tragically lost a family member or other loved one in a crash, you may also have a New Mexico wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the collision. You should contact an experienced Roswell bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible after any accident with an automobile.

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April 12, 2012

Charges Filed Against Driver Who Killed Albuquerque Bicyclist

1356569_bicycle_macro%20sxchu.jpgAn Albuquerque driver who allegedly ran a red light and killed a bicyclist on his way home from work earlier this year was recently charged with misdemeanor careless driving. According to Albuquerque police, 58-year-old Carol Svinarich failed to stop at a red light while headed west through the intersection of Academy Parkway NE and Osuna on January 10th. Her sport utility vehicle struck 55-year-old Scott Dwane Lane’s bicycle as he rode through the intersection. Lane, a vice president at Sun Country Industries and father of four, was reportedly thrown 30 feet into the air on impact. Following the accident, Lane was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital where he died.

Svinarich initially claimed the light was green when she went through the intersection. Later, she told police officers the sun was in her eyes and admitted the light may have been yellow when she struck Lane. At least three witnesses, including one who called emergency responders immediately following the accident, told Albuquerque police officers the bicyclist entered the intersection with a green light while Svinarich ignored a red traffic signal. According to Albuquerque police, alcohol was not a suspected factor in the crash and the collision was caused by driver inattention. If convicted, Svinarich will face a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and a maximum fine of $300.

In New Mexico, the criminal penalty for careless driving is the same regardless of whether it results in injury or death. State Representative Rick Miera is currently supporting a bill that would increase the careless driving penalty to a maximum of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Miera said he believes state law should create stiffer penalties for careless drivers who seriously injure or kill another person.

Whether in your vehicle, riding your bicycle, or merely walking down the street, an unexpected collision with an inattentive driver can occur at any time. The injuries that result from an automobile collision are often disabling. If you were hurt by an inattentive driver, you may be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages, pain, suffering, and other damages. If you lost a loved one in a tragic crash, you may have a New Mexico wrongful death claim against the person who caused the accident. After any car crash, it is a good idea to contact a knowledgeable New Mexico car accident lawyer as soon as you are able.

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April 27, 2011

Bar Patron Hit 5 Pedestrians - New Mexico Dram Shop Law

Having spent the evening drinking, a customer left an Albuquerque bar after midnight on March 27, 2011. When he attempted to drive, he hit five pedestrians. Two were hospitalized, one in critical condition. Three suffered minor injuries.

When the police arrived, the driver was given a breath alcohol test. It showed a blood-alcohol concentration at a level more than twice the level at which driving is illegal.

A New Mexico personal injury lawyer could make claims for bodily injury damages against the drunk driver. The New Mexico car accident lawyer would also make claims for damages against the operator of the bar.

Under New Mexico dramshop laws, the bar operator can be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by an intoxicated patron. If bar employees served alcohol to the drunk driver when they should have known that he was intoxicated, the operator can be held liable for damages. If the intoxication is a substantial cause of the bodily injuries, the bar operator can be held liable for its proportionate share of the damages.

The driver’s impairment was readily apparent. When police attempted to administer field sobriety tests, the driver was unable to maintain his balance. The police stopped the tests because they feared that the driver would suffer serious injury if he fell.

December 8, 2010

Raton Pedestrian Injured in Parade

A recent holiday parade in Raton, New Mexico brought anything but joy when it was released that a man injured during the festivities passed away from his injuries. Police have indicated that the 78 year old man was hit by an SUV driven by a 17 year old female. Although no charges have been filed to date, police a continuing to investigate the New Mexico wrongful death accident.

Such an accident injury is too similar to another accident case previously discussed in which a Rio Rancho motorcycle rally resulted in numerous New Mexico motorcycle accidents and injuries. Such organized events are resulting in more and more injuries throughout New Mexico. While driver error may play a part in these accidents and injuries, it is also important to make sure that the injuries could not have been prevented with a better organized traffic plan or safety measure.

Common examples of such safety measure that protect participants and such rallies or parades includes a revised traffic plan, extra law enforcement, and pedestrian crowd. Although it is not possible to determine if such factors, or lack thereof contributed to these injuries, it is nonetheless an alarming trend.

November 22, 2010

Rio Rancho Motorcycle Rally Goes Wrong

Rio Rancho hosted a motorcycle rally recently to help raise money for a Toy Drive. Sadly, Rio Rancho also hosted a Rio Rancho motorcycle accident. While it is difficult to determine exactly how many motorcycles were involved in the accidents, initial reports seem to suggest numerous people were injured.

The remarkable fact about the Rio Rancho motorcycle accident story is that within the past few years Rio Rancho has also seen other New Mexico motorcycle accidents occur during motorcycle rallies. In some of those prior cases it has been alleged that Rio Rancho did not properly permit the event and allow for sufficient police escorts. While it is unclear what caused the numerous motorcycle accidents at this recent Rio Rancho rally, one has to begin wondering just how good the city and organizers protect riders that participate for the most respected of reasons.

August 28, 2010

Bicycles vs Cars : The Battle Wages

Oil and water, cats and dogs, phone bills and teenagers.  Some things just don't go together.  But does the same have to be true for New Mexico bicyclists and motorists? Well, if New Mexico's neighbor to the west is any indication, there is a long way to go. Transportational tensions are flaring in Tuscon as bicyclists and drivers continue their war of words.  Even to local news has become caught in the middle.

Here in Albuquerque, bicycle accidents are all too common. Any drive on a weekend morning will reveal that the issue will not be going away anytime soon.  While drivers tend to feel that they are entitled to the road and bicyclists must yield the way, the law is not so one-sided.  More often than not, New Mexico bicycle accidents occur when a driver fails to respect their fellow two-wheeled roadster.  

While it may take some time for New Mexico bicyclists and drivers to coexist in harmony, there is certainly no need to tolerate hostility and injury while we wait.

January 15, 2010

Preventing Bicycle Traumatic Brain Injury

It is hard to find good that comes out of New Mexico drunk driving accidents. Similarly, there is little positive that can emerge from a New Mexico traumatic brain injury. However, a Carlsbad New Mexico man, George Methola, is doing just that. According to a recent newspaper article, Methola, after suffering his own traumatic brain injury has found an impressive way to turn his misfortune into a positive impact.

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Working with the Brain Injury Association of New Mexico, and the Carlsbad Brain Injury Support Group, he is working to minimize traumatic brain injury for New Mexico bicyclists by raising money to supply helmets.

Although one of New Mexico’s main recreational activities, bicycling can also result in serious and catastrophic injuries when things go wrong. Despite the Child Helmet Safety Act, many young New Mexico bicyclists do not wear helmets and are thus exposed to a substantial risk of injury. Methola is doing his part, learning from a traumatic brain injury, and working to increase the number of New Mexico bicyclists using helmets.

August 29, 2009

Albuquerque Bike Accident Memorials

Albuquerque bicyclists occasionally make news for unfortunate reasons. However, Albuquerque news is reporting on some mysterious bikes that have been appearing in the city. They are called "Ghost Bikes" and are generally painted white and placed in areas around the city where bicyclists have been hit and killed in New Mexico bicycle accidents.

Similarly to roadside memorials that commemorate motorists killed in fatal accidents, Ghost Bikes serve as memorials for bicyclists. In addition to honoring bicyclists who lost their lives, it is hoped that these memorials also serve as somber reminders to drivers and encourages them to take extra care to prevent future Albuquerque bike accidents resulting in wrongful death.