A recent report shows that hit-and-runs involving vehicle-bicyclist collisions are on the rise in Los Angeles County. Between 2002 and 2012, more than 5,600 cyclists were injured and at least 36 cyclists died from hit-and-run related incidents, which is an increase of 42%. Of those incidents, 40% of cases involved minors under the age of 18 years old.1
An alarmingly high number of vehicles involved in hit-and-run incidents are never found and about 80% of hit-and-run cases go unresolved.2 Many times, law enforcement does not have strong leads and must rely heavily on eyewitness reports or the car’s license plate number. Due to the lack of closure for such cases, the organization Ghost Bike has begun paying tribute to bicyclists whose deaths resulted from hit-and-run collisions. Small memorials of bicycles fully painted white on city streets serve as a way for others to mourn and as a quiet statement in support of the right to safe travel for cyclists.3 Although the states make it appear as if you may never be arrested for hit-and-run, vehicle-bicyclist hit-and-run is a serious crime.
Vehicle-Bicyclist Hit-and-Run (CVC 2002)
Under California VC 2002, it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident without first identifying yourself to the other party involved. This includes vehicular accidents involving bicyclists, pedestrians, and other motorists. This crime can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the extent of the damage and/or injury.
Punishment for Violating CVC 2002
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor under VC 2002 for a hit-and-run where there are no serious injuries, you could be fined up to $1,000, face up to one year in jail, or both a fine and imprisonment.4 If you were involved with a hit-and-run that resulted in the death or serious injury of the alleged victim, you could be charged with a felony that is punishable by up to 4 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.5
Tips on Avoiding Vehicle-Bicyclist Hit-and-Run Accidents
- Wear high-contrasting clothing to be more visible to drivers;
- While riding at night, wear reflective clothing or have flashing lights;
- Obey all traffic laws and stay within designated bicycle lanes whenever available.
If you are a motorist, be sure to drive with caution in heavily populated city streets and keep all bicycle lanes in mind. Being proactive in your awareness can help greatly reduce your chances of being involved in a collision.
Call Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a hit-and-run, it is critical that you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons facing hit and run charges.Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 280-6839 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.