Investigation in cyclist's death blames driver speed, inattention

An article in today's Joplin Globe reviews the investigation of the Missouri Highway Patrol into the collision that killed a young Carl Junction boy in May 2003.

The patrol said Stirewalt [the driver] and Justin [the cyclist] were traveling north on Joplin Street across the Center Creek bridge when the accident occurred. Justin was riding next to a guardrail. As Stirewalt approached from the south, Justin made a sharp left turn into Stirewalt's path, and the Stirewalt car hit the boy's bicycle.
The interesting conclusion of the Highway Patrol's report, is that even though the cyclist made a sharp left-hand turn, crossing traffic lanes without checking traffic, the driver is still held responsible for the collision:
"It is my conclusion the crash was the direct result of (Stirewalt's) inattention and that he was traveling at a speed that was not safe for the given conditions," said the report, written by Trooper K.J. Kasischke.
In plain language: everybody knows that ten-year-old kids on bikes are just a bit erratic, and no one in their right mind goes whizzing by a young cyclist at 50+ MPH. If drivers do so and a collision happens, the collision is the fault of the driver for driving incautiously and too fast.

In British common law there is a principle, "The bicyclist is entitled to his wobble."

In my own observation, many (perhaps most) serious car/bicycle collisions are caused by a bicyclist mistake. This is particularly true in the case of young bicyclists.

But most car/bicycle collisions could be prevented if automobile drivers would exercise the highest degree of care, as required by Missouri law.