Can a cyclist riding in a marked crosswalk be at fault if hit by a vehicle?

  • Yes, even when riding in a crosswalk, a cyclist can be held partly responsible for a collision with a vehicle.

In Callahan v. Kim Mr. Callahan was riding his bicycle to work.  He had a green light at an intersection but stopped anyway, pushed the pedestrian control button and waited for the walk signal.  He saw Mr. Kim’s vehicle coming from his left, saw it slow, and assumed it would stop.   When the walk signal came on Mr. Callahan rode ahead.  He tried to make eye contact with Mr. Kim but could not as Mr. Kim was looking to his left.  Mr. Kim did stop, but then drove forward into the crosswalk and collided with the bicycle.

The judge decided that Mr. Kim was at fault in that he failed to check to his right for any users of the crosswalk before proceeding into the crosswalk. 

The judge then discussed whether the cyclist was also negligent.  The question was whether Mr. Callahan took reasonable care for his own safety and if he did not, whether that failure was one of the causes of the accident.

The judge acknowledged that Mr. Callahan exercised a considerable degree of care for his own safety.  Despite having a green light, he stopped at the intersection, pressed the pedestrian walk button and waited for the walk signal before peddling into the crosswalk at a low speed.  He also looked at Mr. Kim’s car and saw it was slowing down.

However, by his own admission, Mr. Callahan failed to make eye contact with Mr. Kim and so was held to be 15% liable for the accident. 

As in most vehicle-bicycle collisions, the court seems to hold the cyclist to a very high standard of care in protecting his own safety.

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Read the case:         Callahan v. Kim