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Elderly Bicyclist Killed in Huntington Beach Car Accident

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Ernest Klein, 79, of Westminster was killed in a Huntington Beach car accident after a car struck his bicycle, the morning of February 29, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal bicycle accident occurred on Bolsa Avenue near Able Lane. Police say Klein was riding his bike east on Bolsa when a 2009 BMW sedan hit him. Klein was transported to an area trauma center where he died from his injuries. The driver of the BMW, a 23-year-old Long Beach man, has not been arrested or cited pending the official investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Huntington Beach police at 714-536-5670.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Ernest Klein for their tragic 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), one person died and 146 were injured due to bicycle accidents in Huntington Beach. In Orange County as a whole, 12 fatalities and 1,199 injuries were reported as a result of bicycle accidents, during the same year.

What Caused This Fatal Collision?

Based on this news report, it is not clear as to what caused this car versus bicycle collision. It is not known which direction the BMW sedan was traveling. The collision occurred near the intersection of Bolsa Avenue and Able Lane, which is an industrial area. It is unclear as to whether the driver failed to see the bicyclist or if he failed to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist. Under California law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of other vehicles.

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. ”

Liability Issues

In this particular case, if the driver of the BMW is determined to have been at fault, then, he can be held liable for Klein’s wrongful death. A knowledgeable Huntington Beach personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to the accident. If that was the case, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway can also be held liable. Any such personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within six months of the incident, under California Government Code 911.2.

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