CASE LAW - Carrero v Park

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe case of Carrero v Park takes place on North Road at the intersection with Rochester Street in Burnaby. Bobby Joe Carrero was riding his bicycle southbound on the sidewalk on the west side of North Road approaching the intersection. Na Young Park was driving southbound on North Road intending to make a right turn onto Rochester Street. Neither one saw the other as they approached the intersection.

When Ms. Park turned right, Mr. Carrero collided with the right rear side of her vehicle. He was thrown off of his bike and suffered soft tissue injuries along the left side of his body, particularly in his hip, shoulder, back, neck, knee and ankle. Most had resolved in the year following the collision but on occasion, he still needed a cane or crutches to get around at that point.

Mr. Justice Milman decided liability for the collision, finding fault at 65% for Mr. Carrero and 35% for Ms. Park. Mr. Carrero will recieve net damages of $240,103.55.

[45] Like the authorities cited by Mr. Carrero, those cited by Ms. Park are distinguishable from this case in important ways. In particular, I have already found, given their speeds, that Ms. Park must have overtaken Mr. Carrero at some point shortly before she got to the intersection. I also accept his evidence that he was not peddling, but coasting downhill at the time. The photographs of the accident scene that are in evidence suggest that North Road is almost level at that location. It is therefore unlikely that Mr. Carrero was moving so fast as to be completely outside Ms. Park’s field of view until he collided with her. Unlike the defendant driver in Hadden, Ms. Park did not check her mirrors before turning. Moreover, this is not a case, like those cited by Ms. Park, in which visibility was poor and the plaintiff cyclist could be faulted for failing to wear lights or reflective gear in poorly lit conditions.

[46] I have therefore concluded that Ms. Park too must bear at least some measure of responsibility for the accident. In particular, I am satisfied that Mr. Carrero was “there to be seen” and that Ms. Park could have avoided the accident with reasonable care.

[47] In the circumstances, both parties had a heightened duty of care as they approached the intersection and both could and should have seen the other approaching and stopped in time to prevent the accident from occurring. If that were all there were to it, I would have been inclined to allocate liability evenly between them. However, there are two additional factors that elevate Mr. Carrero’s relative degree of fault significantly above Ms. Park’s. First, Mr. Carrero was also committing multiple breaches of statute and thereby contributing that much more to the hazard that ultimately materialised. Second, the fact that he ran into her, rather than she into him, suggests that he also had the better opportunity to avoid the accident.