A tragic collision between a transit bus and a group of cyclists rocked the cycling community in Northern San Diego County last August (2013). The crash occurred in a semi-rural area on a straight, open stretch of road. 3 cyclists, riding single file on the right shoulder, were struck from behind by the north county transit bus. One of the riders, a 43 year old father of two, was killed. Another was seriously injured.
Settlement was reached in only 8 months time, spurred on by the fact that the bus was equipped with multiple cameras which captured views of the driver, the inside of the bus and the road ahead. Still pictures taken from those recordings were filed together the claim for damages presented against the transit district and the bus driver, Mr. Gamal Mohamed Hamouda. The video footage, which was time stamped, demonstrated that the cyclists were positioned to the right of the roadway, riding single file, with no oncoming traffic, for several seconds prior to impact. The video footage also confirmed the bus had approached from the riders’ rear with no other traffic in sight, and then proceeded to collide with the cyclists. No attempt was reportedly made by the driver to shift the bus to the left or to take other evasive maneuvers prior to impact. Reports suggest that the bus driver was distracted by his cell phone at the time of the crash.
In addition to financial compensation to the victims and their families, the bus company will reportedly have to partner with the San Diego Bike Coalition to formulate changes to its safety policy with regard to sharing the road with cyclists. The plaintiffs insisted on this unique provision as a condition of the settlement, as their concerns extended beyond themselves and included the goal of enhancing safety for the public at large and insuring this terrible tragedy isn’t repeated in the future.