Elizabeth “Bunny” Bradley, 29 years old, is dead following a tragic auto versus bike accident that occurred July 13, 2010 around 7 a.m. on 900 East Highland Drive in Draper, Utah. According to KSL News, Bradley was biking with a group of 9 other women when a pickup truck crossed the center line and hit another car. This impact took a tire off the truck, causing the pickup driver to lose control and head straight into a group of women cyclists. By reports, the women, including Bradley, were unable to get out of the way. Sadly, Bradley took the brunt of the collision, hitting the truck head-on. After the crash, she was flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Salt Lake City in critical condition and placed on life support. Less than 24 hours later, however, she passed away from her injuries.
Draper police continue to investigate this bike versus vehicle accident and will potentially recommend that the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office bring charges against the at-fault driver. Both drivers had their blood drawn and the results will be reviewed by Draper police.
I offer my deepest condolences to the family of Elizabeth Bradley and to those who knew and loved her. It’s clear from the news accounts that she will be sorely missed, especially by her surviving husband and two small children.
The big question that I have is what caused the motorist in the first place to cross over the center line and come over into the opposing lane of traffic? What the driver using their cell phone, text messaging, or were they sleep deprived? While police are calling this a “tragic accident,” it seems from the sound of it, that it was the actions of the pickup driver that caused the chain reaction leading to this auto versus bike crash. A car drifting over the center line is rarely an “accident.” It most always comes from a driver who is negligent in one form or another, probably because they were distracted and took their eyes off the road. Legally speaking, the negligent or reckless driver is responsible civilly for all the harms that resulted from his or her actions in a wrongful death case that the family of Elizabeth Bradley might bring against them. I notice from the pictures that the truck has what appears to be the name of a construction company on both of its doors. If the driver was on company business at the time of the crash, or was on his or cell phone regarding the business of his or her employer, than the company along with this individual should be held accountable for the negligent driver’s actions. From a criminal point of view, this driver should also be charged since his or her actions brought about the death of an innocent victim.
As a cyclist myself, I have had near misses with vehicles on the road. You try and drive defensively, make eye contact with motorists, and ride with others to make it more likely that drivers will see you. Sometimes, however, despite our best efforts, freak accidents do happen that you can’t do anything to prevent against. While a safer alternative to riding down the road with traffic is to stick to the spin class at the gym or rec center, this is no way to live. I just hope that other motorists reading this story will realize just how vulnerable and fragile an exposed bicyclist is out there on the road and practice driving skills that will minimize distraction and maximize the safety of those they share the road with.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah bike accident attorney.