Hit-and-Run Driver Kills Cyclist in Cincinnati Suburb

by | Sep 16, 2022 | Car Accidents

A Newport coffee shop employee is dead after a car struck her on a bridge and immediately fled the scene.

According to police, she was riding her bike on the 11th Street bridge when she was hit by a car. The driver of that car fled the scene. She is survived by a partner and daughter.

Friends and safety advocates are circulating a petition to install bike lanes in her honor.

Bicycle Injuries

When 20-pound bicycles collide with 4,000-pound motor vehicles, the results are always tragic for bicycle riders, no matter what safety equipment they’re wearing or the city provides. Some of the serious injuries these riders sustain include:

  • Brain Injuries: The motion of a collision often causes a head injury. Contrary to popular myth, brains don’t fit snugly inside skulls, like hands inside gloves. When riders fall off their bikes, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls. Doctors and physical therapists can address the symptoms of head injuries, like personality changes and headaches. However, the injuries themselves are permanent.
  • Broken Bones: Frequently, these injuries are permanent as well, at least to an extent. If Derrek breaks his shoulder in a bicycle accident, the bone will most likely mend. However, since doctors must use metal pins and other metal parts to reconstruct shattered bones, Derrek will probably experience some permanent loss of motion in that joint. 
  • Biker’s Arm: Speaking of permanent injuries, these accidents usually cause permanent nerve injuries. When cyclists fall off their bikes, they automatically extend their arms to break their falls. People do the same thing when they fall down the stairs. This natural reaction often snaps nerves in the brachial plexus bundle under the arms. The resulting nerve injury causes facial paralysis.

Since these injuries require such extensive treatment, the average injury-related medical bill is over $100,000. This amount of debt is often crippling. Furthermore, group health insurance companies often use obscure loopholes and refuse to pay injury-related costs.

To ease the financial burden, a Lexington personal injury attorney connects victims with doctors who charge nothing upfront for their professional services. These aren’t just any doctors. These physicians know how to diagnose and treat injury-related conditions.

Physical Safety Measures: Good or Bad?

The well-meaning people who are advocating for designated bicycle lanes in Newport think they’re helping to prevent future incidents. However, their efforts may have the opposite effect.

Designated bicycle lanes are a good example. These lanes reduce the size of motor vehicle traffic lanes, and it becomes a territorial thing. If someone takes my space, I resent it, maybe not overtly, but certainly subconsciously. This effect is even worse in this context, since many motorists don’t particularly like bicyclists to begin with.

Set-apart bicycle lanes are even more problematic for riders if concrete pillars separate them from other traffic lanes. Once again, safety advocates believe these pillars keep bicyclists safer. But, they may have the opposite effect.

Assume a bicyclist and a car driver arrive at a green light at the same time. The rider is going straight and the driver is turning right. The pillars limit driver visibility. So the driver may turn directly into the unseen bicyclist’s path. Most of us know what happens when a bicyclist broadsides a motor vehicle.

Bicycle helmets may also have a negative effect. When drivers see riders wearing helmets, they subconsciously think the rider would survive a collision. Therefore, drivers take unnecessary and reckless chances, like turning too close to the rider.

Special Issues in Hit-and-Run Cases

A few drivers flee accident scenes because they don’t have insurance. Most others run away because they already have a blemish on their record, or they’re on probation or parole, and they don’t want law enforcement scrutiny. While the reasons for hitting and running are unclear, it’s clear that law enforcement agencies solve fewer than 10 percent of these incidents.

Frequently, as in the above story, investigators have almost nothing to go on. Therefore, they quickly give up and commit their resources elsewhere, mostly because the burden of proof (beyond any reasonable doubt) is so high in criminal court.

But the burden of proof in civil court is only a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). So, tracking down the vehicle owner, which is usually possible with a partial plate number and a vague physical description, is usually enough. It’s more likely than not that the targeted vehicle was the suspect vehicle. It’s also more likely than not that the owner was also the driver.

Damages in hit-and-run cases, as well as other negligence cases, usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages are available as well, in some extreme cases.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. We routinely handle matters in Fayette County and nearby jurisdictions.