Jury Awards $4 Million to Family of SF Cyclist Killed by Big-Rig Collision
Chris Welsh, Esq.
The family of a cyclist fatally struck by truck in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood was awarded $4 million by a San Francisco Superior court jury last month.
On August 14, 2013, Amelie Le Moullac, 24, was commuting to work when she was struck and killed by big-rig driver Gilberto Alcantar. Her tragic death was a point of much contention and emotion in a city where bicycling as a mode of transportation has nearly doubled in the last decade. Following the incident, the San Francisco Police Department was criticized for its handling of the investigation and offensive remarks made by the sergeant at a memorial event, while the city was put under scrutiny for its failure to include a Vehicular
Manslaughter Unit in its annual budget (KRON4). Bike advocates argue that meaningful education, road engineering, and prosecution could prevent deaths like Amelie’s–and I couldn’t agree more. Bike accidents are preventable tragedies. Responsibility should be taken on all fronts to keep them from happening, and to keep roads safe for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Le Moullac’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Daylight Foods Inc., the driver’s employer. At the trial, Le Moullac’s attorney urged for legislation that would require commercial drivers to be trained to drive on streets with bicyclists. She also highlighted the vast gap between weight requirements for a regular and commercial licenses, pointing to the fact that Alcantar’s big-rig truck was legally treated the same as a 3,000 lb Prius, simply because it didn’t weigh more than 26,000 lbs. Ultimately, a jury found in the family’s favor, awarding $3 million to Amelie’s mother and $1 million to her father. No criminal charges were filed.
Sadly, Amelie’s story is not the only cycling tragedy in San Francisco. On average, approximately three people are hit injured by drivers each day in the city (Streets Blog SF). Earlier that same year, another young woman cyclist was seriously injured in a hit-and-run. She is currently in rehab for a shattered pelvis and leg, broken vertebrae, neurological damage, and traumatic brain injury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, reach out to an attorney for help. You may be able to explore legals options.To learn more about how bike advocates are reshaping our roads and protecting the rights of cyclists, visit bikeleague.org. If you are a cyclist or are thinking about trading you car commute for a bike, visit bikesafe.com for guidelines on how to avoid accidents and stay safe. Remember, wearing a helmet is critical, but not the only step you must take for your own safety.