News

City settles with injured cyclist

Mountain View officials on Tuesday announced they are signing off on a $55,000 settlement deal with a cyclist who in 2013 was struck by a city police car.

The plaintiff, Zachary Platt, was riding across the intersection of San Antonio Road and Leghorn Street when a patrol car hit him while making a left turn. The collision reportedly left Platt with injuries to his head, neck, shoulders, knees and feet.

At the time, Platt was riding his bike in the crosswalk of the street, and city officials initially indicated this exonerated the officer from responsibility. City officials later rejected a claim filed by Platt seeking to recoup about $52,000 in medical bills as well as about $1,500 for his wrecked bike. Platt later hired an attorney and filed suit in 2014.

Discussing the case in closed session on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the City Council voted unanimously to settle the case for $55,000. Platt has agreed to the settlement deal, according to City Attorney Jannie Quinn.

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City settles with injured cyclist

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sat, Jan 16, 2016, 1:55 pm
Updated: Mon, Jan 18, 2016, 1:11 pm

Mountain View officials on Tuesday announced they are signing off on a $55,000 settlement deal with a cyclist who in 2013 was struck by a city police car.

The plaintiff, Zachary Platt, was riding across the intersection of San Antonio Road and Leghorn Street when a patrol car hit him while making a left turn. The collision reportedly left Platt with injuries to his head, neck, shoulders, knees and feet.

At the time, Platt was riding his bike in the crosswalk of the street, and city officials initially indicated this exonerated the officer from responsibility. City officials later rejected a claim filed by Platt seeking to recoup about $52,000 in medical bills as well as about $1,500 for his wrecked bike. Platt later hired an attorney and filed suit in 2014.

Discussing the case in closed session on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the City Council voted unanimously to settle the case for $55,000. Platt has agreed to the settlement deal, according to City Attorney Jannie Quinn.

Comments

parent
Old Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2016 at 2:02 pm
parent, Old Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2016 at 2:02 pm
6 people like this

Did the victim make a full recovery?


Honorable?
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 8:06 am
Honorable?, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2016 at 8:06 am
27 people like this

Pretty sad that a distracted, unaware cop runs down a citizen and they have the fight the City to get their money back for the medical bills. I hope there's a civil case against the cop now after all this.

Note to City and cops: It's best to admit your mistakes, take responsibility for them and move on. What makes you look like abhorrent jerks is when you deny your mistakes and make the citizen have to put up some prolonged fight.
It's called being a responsible adult and law abiding citizen...you should give it a try sometime like the rest of us are expected to do.


Curious Observer
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:36 am
Curious Observer, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:36 am
18 people like this

I think the police objection was that the cyclist was breaking the law by riding his bike in the crosswalk. If you're a cyclist you're not supposed to ride your bike in the crosswalk; you need to get off your bike and walk. Still, the policeman was also at fault by hitting someone in the crosswalk. The responsibility should be 50/50. More people (including drivers) should take the Urban Cycling classes offered by the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition.


Me
Willowgate
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm
Me, Willowgate
on Jan 17, 2016 at 3:42 pm
3 people like this

Since bicycles are allowed to ride on the sidewalk, why would they be not allowed to ride in crosswalks?

Does the CVC have something to say about this?


Reader
another community
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:07 pm
Reader, another community
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:07 pm
13 people like this

@Me:

This is not strictly governed by the CVC.

Bicycles aren't automatically given rights to ride on sidewalks. It depends on the municipality's specific laws and each municipality might have a different ones. Many municipalities allows kids (varying ages) to ride on sidewalks, but not adults.

For example, in Palo Alto bicycles are forbidden on a district sidewalks as well as pedestrian passageways/underpasses (like the University Avenue underpass underneath the Caltrain tracks).

Moreover, the CVC generally applies road responsibilities to bicycle riders. You cannot create a dangerous environment to yourself or others on the road (including pedestrians). If you are a bike rider in a crosswalk, you cannot endanger pedestrians. If that situation is possible, you must dismount and walk your bike until you are safely in a part of the roadway where you will not endanger yourself or a pedestrian.

That is a fundamental law for the public road use. You are not entitled to do what you want. It is a PRIVILEGE to use a public roadway.


mikepat
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm
mikepat, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jan 17, 2016 at 10:53 pm
13 people like this

At the intersection where this happened, you must push a button to change the light. The button in on a light pole that forces the bike to enter the crosswalk for at least a few feet. In order to comply, a cyclist must veer to the left to exit the crosswalk, moving in the opposite direction of traffic. It is this design that led, (I believe) to the cyclist riding in the crosswalk. At virtually every intersection, if a rider was to avoid the crosswalk that rider must move into traffic, using the street lane.
That the MVPD driver struck a cyclist is a crime. The press report mentioned that she was using her computer, and didn't see the cyclist. So yes, this is not over yet for the city on Mountain View.


Curious Observer
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:11 am
Curious Observer, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Jan 18, 2016 at 8:11 am
21 people like this

Based on the comments here it's no wonder there are accidents. People don't know the rules of the road. Riding bikes on sidewalks? Riding bikes in opposite directions of traffic? I urge people...motorists and cyclists...to read the CVC or attend a free Urban Cycling class. I thought I was a safe cyclist until I took the class. Cyclists should act and be treated as cars. They cannot be a pedestrian one minute and then a vehicle the next, picking and choosing whatever suits their needs at that moment. Please for your safety and the safety of others read up on the rules of the road.


mvbrod@yahoo.com
Shoreline West
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm
mvbrod@yahoo.com, Shoreline West
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:31 pm
16 people like this

Curious Observer - Cyclist obey the laws?!!!! Wait a minute I have to pick myself up off of the floor!!!


ThinkInviisible
Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm
ThinkInviisible, Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:33 pm
12 people like this

When I started commuting by bicycle during the 1978 gas crisis, I learned one important lesson very quickly. Bicycles are at an insurmountable disadvantage to automobiles when they share the road. If you want to survive, you must be very conservative and cautious and not joust with autos or you will lose. I found it extremely useful to pretend that I was totally invisible to auto drivers and never put myself into a position where they might harm me. Pretending invisibility is particularly when entering and crossing busy intersections. I finally quit biking in 1985 after one too many close calls. Sharing the road with autos is just too dangerous.


Theron Tock
Shoreline West
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Theron Tock, Shoreline West
on Jan 18, 2016 at 2:50 pm
9 people like this

The CVC does have something to say about a bicyclist riding in a crosswalk. In section 21650.g (Web Link):

(g) This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles on any shoulder of a highway, on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing, where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance.

It's a bit opaque as to what exactly that means (all those negatives!). The sub-section (g) was added in 2009 as part of SB 734. The legislative analysis of the bill has this to say (Web Link):

This bill would also permit the operation of bicycles on any sidewalk, on any bicycle path within a highway, or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing.

I'm not a lawyer, and just quoting things I've found on the web, so use your own judgement as to what these mean. My take: unless Mountain View explicitly has a law disallowing bicyclists to ride in crosswalks, then it is legal to do so.

I looked these statutes up when someone asked me if it was legal for a bicyclist to ride across Shoreline in the crosswalks with the flashing lights. My conclusion: it's legal, but the regular rules of the road apply as if the bicyclist were a vehicle, meaning they should yield to any cars on Shoreline. If they get off and walk the bike across then it is clear the pedestrian has the right of way (though they can't just step out in front of a car and expect them to stop).


Runner lady
Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm
Runner lady, Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:06 pm
5 people like this

Remember the State of California's driving promotion in the 60's or 70's? Drive defensively; look out for the other guy!

I have run on local road for 40 years and I NEVER assume a driver or cyclist sees me.


Bizarre
The Crossings
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm
Bizarre, The Crossings
on Jan 18, 2016 at 3:34 pm
7 people like this

A cyclist crossing the street in the middle of the lane vs. a cyclist crossing the street in the crosswalk? Is the city saying, in one case they would have found the officer at fault because a car making a left clearly does not have the right of way? But when they're in the crosswalk, oh, that's a different story, and the officer is exonerated? Am I living in crazy town?


Joe
Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:10 am
Joe, Cuesta Park
on Jan 19, 2016 at 10:10 am
6 people like this

Since they are the ones who govern the law but do not know how to drive safely, I do not think the victim has any fault in this case. The officer is the one responsible in this action. Mountain View STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND ADMIT YOUR MISTAKES FOR CHRIST SAKE!


I use to bicycle all over the place
Monta Loma
on Jan 21, 2016 at 10:59 am
I use to bicycle all over the place, Monta Loma
on Jan 21, 2016 at 10:59 am
5 people like this

I use to bicycle all over the place before I had a car. One always has to look out for possible danger and never push your weight around thinking the law will protect your life, when you are under a car. It's not worth the risk. I couldn't wait until I got my drivers license. Haven't ridden a bike since, does days are over, I have better form of transportation.


I still bike all over the place
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:53 am
I still bike all over the place, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:53 am
9 people like this

I agree with everything you say, but I've never found the need to stop riding for local errands since I've proven to myself the bike is faster than the car. Most all the local trips I take by bike are faster by bike than by car, plus no parking issues ever. Nothing is absolute though. Many trips are much better and faster by bike, many are not. Those who do both have the best mode of transportation available in all instances. Just beware of all those distracted drivers mucking things up, even the ones in cop cars.


David
Blossom Valley
on Jan 28, 2016 at 6:53 am
David, Blossom Valley
on Jan 28, 2016 at 6:53 am
3 people like this

Does the City carry insurance? Did the City or an insurance company pay an attorney to defend the case before it settled? How much was paid to the defense attorney(s)?


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