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California man dies after car hits him on bicycle

A Napa County sheriff's deputy found the driver that witnesses said hit and killed a bicyclist on Highway 29 north of Airport Boulevard in early June. According to the alert put out by the highway patrol, the 76-year-old woman driving a 2009 Honda drove off from the scene of the bicycle accident. The deputy pulled her over near American Canyon.

Highway patrol investigators are waiting for the results of tests to determine if the woman had been intoxicated or suffered from medical issues. A CHP representative said that her vehicle had been southbound on Highway 29 when it drifted into the shoulder and hit the man on the bicycle.

The 58-year-old male victim had been an avid bicyclist. In 2014, he received the Napa County Bicycle Commuter of the Year award. The recognition acknowledged his enthusiasm for bicycle transportation because he rode his bicycle 6.5 miles every day between his job south of Napa and his home in American Canyon.

Even if a bicycle-car collision is not fatal, a person hit while bicycling could experience severe injuries like broken bones, brain trauma or spinal cord injuries. Compensation for the victim might be pursued through a personal injury lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney if the driver was impaired, distracted by a cellphone or otherwise negligent. Such a civil lawsuit could be successful even if the at-fault driver is acquitted on criminal charges, as the burden of proof for a plaintiff in a civil trial is significantly less onerous than that on the state in a criminal trial.

Source: Napa Valley Register, "CHP Investigating Bicycle Fatality", June 9, 2016

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