Can a cyclist claim damages against a car driver when there was no contact between the car and bike?

  • Yes, if the crash happened as a result of the negligent driving of the car
  • a driver of a motor vehicle can never be justified in deliberately using a motor vehicle to confront a cyclist who is riding a bike

In Davies v. Elston two cyclists commented on a truck whose large side mirror stuck out into the bike lane. The truck owner heard the comment, got in his truck and chased them down. The driver pulled up close to the cyclists and a short verbal exchange occurred. The driver was angry, threatening and aggressive. During this exchange, the nearer cyclist put his hand on the window frame. When the truck pulled away the cyclist crashed.

The judge held that the driver was 100% at fault. He was driving without reasonable care for the safety of the cyclist. The fall was caused by the driver’s dangerous conduct in pulling up and driving his large truck within an arm’s length of the cyclist, while yelling at him. This disturbed the cyclist’s balance and led to the fall. The cyclist was not partly at fault in placing his hand on the truck. He had competed in bike racing for decades, and this allowed him to use his arm as a guide and for stability so he could steer his bike parallel to the movements of the truck, to keep a safe distance in case the truck veered even closer.

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Read the case: Davies v. Elston