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Steve B. Lilley Killed in Fairbanks Bicycle Accident. Here's The Law…

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A bicyclist in a cross-walk has the right to be there. Mr. Lilley was right. Here are the Alaskan laws governing this tragic loss.

The Alaska State Troopers report that Steve B. Lilley, 33, was killed by a Honda Civic while riding his bicycle across the intersection of University Avenue and Geist Road late Wednesday. The trooper report said that Lilley was hit by an unidentified 16 year old driver after he entered the “crosswalk/roadway.” It appears from witnesses that the crash occurred just before midnight. Traffic was blocked and rerouted. Here is what Mr. Lilley’s family needs to know about Alaskan law…

The first thing to determine is who was at fault. The police will conduct their investigation. Get a copy of the police report.

The second thing to determine is which law applies. The applicable law is found in Alaska’s Administrative Code. At first blush, the relevant provisions appear to be:

13 AAC 02.385 that applies regulations to bicycles:
(a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway has all the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle as set out in this chapter, in addition to special regulations in secs. 385 – 420 of this chapter, except as to those provisions of this chapter which by their nature have no application.

13 AAC 02.155 that addresses Pedestrian right-of-way in safety zones. This section of the Administrative Code provides:
(a) Except as provided in sec. 195 of this chapter, when traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian who is on a sidewalk, vehicular way or area, or who is crossing a roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger.
(b) No pedestrian may leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.

If Mr. Lilley was not in a crosswalk, then 13 AAC 02.160 would apply:
(a) A pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway, except as provided in sec. 260(d) of this chapter.

The bottom line is that if Mr. Lilley was in the cross walk – and had the right to proceed, he should not have been struck by the 16 year old driver of that Honda Civic. The 16 year old driver’s insurance policy is thus in play because this 16 year old would be “at fault” for this wreck. Under Alaskan law, he should have a minimum of $50,000 of liability insurance that should be paid to Mr. Lilley’s family. He likely has more than $50K of insurance.

Next, Mr. Lilley’s family should look to see whether Mr. Lilley had Underinsured motorist insurance. That’s right. Go look at Mr. Lilley’s insurance policies – on his own vehicle at home in the driveway. Believe me – they apply to this loss. Most folks don’t understand that Mr. Lilley’s own automobile insurance covers him for this wreck. Be sure to file claims in writing. Keep copies of your claims.

Finally, I’m obligated to tell you that in cases like this – with huge losses – it makes sense to find an attorney ASAP. The Statute of Limitations for personal injury in Alaska (to adults) is two years. Please take immediate action, or risk losing whatever claims you might have.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.