Christian Rhineer, 28, was killed in an Irvine car accident after a vehicle struck him near a street intersection, the morning of February 14, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal car accident occurred at the intersection of Von Karman Avenue and Michelson Drive. Police say the driver of a Volvo sedan struck Rhineer as he was riding his bike. Police are still looking into who had the right-of-way at the time. Rhineer, who was apparently not wearing a helmet, was transported to an area trauma center with critical injuries. He died from his injuries later that day. The 26-year-old driver of the Volvo has not been cited or arrested pending an official investigation.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Christian Rhineer for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities but 70 injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in Irvine. In Orange County as a whole, 12 people died and 1,199 were injured as a result of bicycle accidents, during the same year.
Based on this news report, officials are still looking into who had the right-of-way at the intersection. According to California Vehicle Code Section 21200 (a): “A person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” Also, according to California Vehicle Code Section 21800 (a): “The driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which has entered the intersection from a different highway.”
I trust officials are looking into whether the driver of the Volvo was impaired, distracted, inattentive, fatigued, or otherwise negligent at the time of this fatal collision. If it is determined that the driver was at fault, then, he can be held liable for Rhineer’s wrongful death. In cases where negligence or wrongdoing is involved, the family of a deceased accident victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and benefits, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced Irvine personal injury lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.