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Bay Area Family Sues City for Death of Daughter in Bike Accident

Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook

The death of a 12-year-old girl has sparked a claim against the city of Novato. The girl was killed while riding her bike home from school. An attorney for the family says that the city and driver were contributing factors in the deadly accident. Unfortunately for the San Francisco area, bicycle and pedestrian accidents are not uncommon incidents.

The claim filed against the city alleges dangerous condition of public property. It also alleges that city residents "had widely decried the dangerous stretch of Novato Boulevard" where the seventh-grader was hit by an SUV on her way home from school. She sustained serious injuries in the accident and passed away shortly thereafter.

According to the victim's family, the c ity failed to trim overgrowth of vegetation along the roadway where the accident happened. The failure to maintain this stretch of public property obscured speed limit signs and pedestrian crossings. There is no crosswalk in the area where the girl was struck. Local residents have also raised concerns to the city about the high speeds of motorists as they drive through the area.

Novato police concluded that the driver was not at fault in the fatal accident. However, attorneys for the victim's family claim the driver was speeding and driving inattentively. It's alleged the driver's negligence and dangerous road conditions were substantial factors that led to the accident.

The attorneys for the family also said the police report had additional information that supports the family's position. However, under California law the report cannot be released to the media.

The family hopes that the filing of the claim will prevent similar tragedies in the future. A group of concerned residents has formed following the accident, and is working to make the area safer for both pedestrians and bicyclists.

Source: San Anselmo-Fairfax Patch, "Family of 12-year-old killed in bike accident files claim vs. city of Novato," Brent Ainsworth, Nov. 14, 2012