Annette Ferrin-Rodgers, 49, was killed in an Orange County car accident after she was struck by a bus while riding her bicycle at the intersection of Beach and La Habra boulevards, in La Habra. According to a news report in Whittier Daily News, Ferrin-Rodgers was in the crosswalk when a Foothill Transit bus that was making a left turn on La Habra, the evening of April 20, 2010, hit her. There were no passengers in the bus. The driver apparently told officials that he saw "something" in the crosswalk, but it was too late to stop. Ferrin-Rodgers died at the scene.
My heart goes out to everybody who knew and loved Annette Ferrin-Rodgers for their devastating loss. I offer my deepest sympathies especially to her family. Please keep them in your prayers.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
There were no fatalities but 18 injuries involving bicycle accidents in La Habra in 2008, according to California Highway Patrol's traffic accident statistics. In Orange County as a whole, 10 people died and 1,087 were injured as a result of bicycle accidents during the same year.
The Law as it Relates to Bicyclists In Crosswalks
La Habra police officials say, based on preliminary investigations, that Ferrin-Rodgers was riding her bike in the crosswalk and that the bicycle did not have any lights. According to California Vehicle Code section 21201, a bicycle being ridden on a roadway at night must have a lamp emitting a white light in the front, a red reflector on the rear, and a yellow or white reflector on each pedal, and reflectors facing sideways to the front (white or yellow) and to the rear (white or red) of the mid-point of the bike.
However, in this case, Ferrin-Rodgers' act of riding her bicycle in the crosswalk at this street intersection may not be illegal. One of the urban legends or street law you hear from time to time is that it is illegal for a bicyclist to ride his bicycle across the street within a crosswalk.
A 2009 amendment to California Vehicle Code section 21650(g) clarifies this issue, which until now did not have a clear statutory statement (though courts in California had consistently held that it was not against the law to ride a bicycle in a crosswalk). Section 21650 says that "Upon all highways a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway, except as follows:" subsection (g) states that "This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any should or a highway, on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing, where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance." So, in keeping with this section, a bicycle can be ridden along a crosswalk unless some other provision of the Vehicle Code or a local ordinance forbids it. The La Habra Municipal Code has no section that forbids riding a bicycle in a crosswalk.
If I were a member of Ferrin-Rodgers' family I would want to find out whether the bus driver was impaired, distracted, inattentive or otherwise negligent at the time of the collision. As a driver, he should have been looking for pedestrians in the crosswalk. Why did he not see the bicyclist? I trust investigators are looking carefully at what prevented the bus driver from noticing the bicyclist in the crosswalk. If the bus driver is found at fault for this accident, both he and his employer – Foothill Transit – could be held liable for Ferrin-Rodgers' wrongful death. The family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Orange County personal injury lawyer who will stay abreast of the investigation and make sure their legal rights and best interests are protected.
What are the most dangerous intersections for bicyclists in your city?
The BISNAR|CHASE personal injury law firm is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.