Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) February 25, 2013
In April of 2011, a 25-year-old University of Minnesota student was riding her bicycle in a marked bicycle lane in Dinkytown when she was hit and killed by a dump truck turning right onto 4th Street. Her death was deeply felt by her family, friends and the community. Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman represented the family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and truck company.*
Prompted by this tragic accident, this month Senators Phyllis Kahn and Kari Dziedzic, with assistance from the Minneapolis Bicycle Advisory Committee, introduced a bill into the Minnesota Senate aimed at preventing similar accidents. The bill, S.F. No. 415, would prohibit motor vehicles from driving in designated bicycle lanes, except under certain conditions, and would require drivers to yield to bicycles before crossing a bicycle lane in order to turn.
“Although our clients’ daughter was riding her bicycle in a marked bike lane beside the dump truck for a period of time prior to the fatal right-hand turn, the driver claimed he did not see her before he made the right turn across her lane, crushing her beneath his wheels.” said Pritzker. “He also claimed he did not know that a bicycle is a ‘vehicle’ under Minnesota law, and has the right-of-way when a vehicle is turning across a bicycle lane.”
The new law would read as follows: “Whenever it is necessary for the driver of a motor vehicle to cross a bicycle lane adjacent to the driver's lane of travel to make a turn, the driver shall first signal the movement, then driver the motor vehicle into the bicycle lane prior to making the turn, but only after it is safe to do so. The driver shall then make the turn consistent with any traffic markers, buttons, or signs, yielding the right-of-way to any vehicles or bicycles approaching so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”
“We support this bill, which makes it clear that a driver must yield to a bicyclist when crossing a bike lane to make a turn,” said Hageman. “We strongly believe this change is important to promote safety and have a clear and consistent understanding for both motorists and bicyclists as to who should yield when they share bicycle lanes.”
Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman represent accident victims and their families throughout the United States. They were named 2011 “Minnesota Attorneys of the Year” for winning a verdict in another bicycle-truck accident death case((Estate of Casey v. Western National Mutual Insurance Company, No. 27-CV-10-10984, Hennepin County District Court). Their offices are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They can be contacted at 1-888-377-8900 (toll free), 612-338-0202, or via their website: http://www.pritzkerlaw.com.
*Hennepin County District Court, No. 59328/23.