Local residents in the Tamalpais Valley in the San Francisco area are crying out for better bicycle safety after 26-year-old Claire Diepenbrock suffered horrific injuries in a bicycle accident on May 26, 2009. According to a news report in the Marin Independent Journal, Diepenbrock was injured after she was hit by two cars while riding her bicycle in the busy stretch of Highway 1 near Tam junction. This roadway has apparently been the subject of numerous calls for speed limit signs and wider shoulders by community members over the years who believe a dangerous roadway condition exists on this roadway.
Community activists and local groups have been re-energized by Claire Diepenbrock’s bicycle accident and resulting injuries. Many have sent out letters seeking changes to local politicians as well the as the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans). Diepenbrock suffered multiple fractures to her skull, jaw, cheekbones and ribs, a broken clavicle and punctured lung. Doctors are still assessing the extent of her brain injuries and possible brain damage. However, she is said to be improving.
My heart goes out to the injured victim Claire Diepenbrock and her family members who are reeling from the shock of her terrible injuries. I hope and pray that she makes a complete recovery.
According to the news report, between 2006 and August 2008, that stretch of Highway 1 was the site of five bicycle accidents and one pedestrian accident. CHP officials say there were 85 collisions on that section from 2003 to 2007, resulting in 38 injuries.
California’s Government Code section 835 provides that a public entity or governmental agency is liable for damages to an injured person or his or her family because of a condition of public property when the injured person proves that:
- There was a dangerous condition on the public property at the time of injury
- The injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition
- The dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury of the kind that occurred; and
- Either (a) The negligent or wrongful action or failure to act of an employee of the public entity created the dangerous condition, or (b) the public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition a sufficient time before the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition
Whether it is a bicycle accident, pedestrian accident or car accident, injury victims, who believe a dangerous roadway condition caused or contributed to the crash, would be well-advised to contact reputed California personal injury law firms that have a successful track record of handling dangerous roadway cases. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in California must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.