29 May Cyclist Not Responsible For Accident

In the case of Kriedemann v. Banas, 2019 BCSC 629, the Plaintiff sustained injuries in a collision between his bicycle and a left-turning vehicle driven by the Defendant. Liability for the accident was in issue.

An important factual detail that the Judge had to determine was whether the Defendant struck the Plaintiff, or whether it was the Plaintiff who struck the Defendant. On that issue, the independent evidence was remarkably scant.

Both the Plaintiff and the Defendant gave their accounts, but neither party called any other witnesses to the accident. The only two witnesses to the accident were the Plaintiff, who had the impression that the Defendant’s car hit him, and the Defendant, who had the impression that it was the Plaintiff’s bicycle that hit her car.

Due to his injuries, the Plaintiff had no real recollection of the events prior to the impact, so he simply relied on what he said was his usual practice.  The Defendant testified that she simply did not see the Plaintiff.

The one telling piece of circumstantial evidence was the Defendant’s testimony that the only damage on her car was a scratch on the left side of the car at the front. Assuming that this scratch was caused by the impact with the bicycle, the location of the scratch appeared to be more consistent with the car hitting the bicycle rather than the other way around. Since the scratch was on the front left rather than the front right of the car, it could be inferred that the bicycle must have passed in front of the car just before the impact, and in that case, the bicycle must have been there for the Defendant to see, at least for a brief moment, before the collision.

In the Judge’s view, the fact that the Defendant did not see the bicycle at all, despite the fact that at least momentarily it was directly in her path just before impact, was sufficient, in the absence of other evidence, to establish on a balance of probabilities that the accident was caused by her negligence. The Judge found that the Defendant was wholly at fault for the collision.