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SANTA CLARA: Michael Hatch Killed In Bus Accident While Riding Bicycle By Great America Parkway and and Bunker Hill Lane


Oct 30, 2018

Michael Hatch Death: Victim Died In Santa Clara Bus Accident After Bus Driver Failed To Yield Right Of Way At Intersection By Great America Parkway and and Bunker Hill Lane And Hit The Bicyclist

 SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA (October 29, 2018) A 49-year-old bicyclist identified as Michael Hatch has tragically died after he was in a Santa Clara bus accident by Great America Parkway and and Bunker Hill Lane.

The victim was in a designated bicycle lane and had a green light as he was hit by a private commuter bus operated by El Paseo Limousine. Santa Clara police officers received the traffic camera footage of the intersection by Great America Parkway and Bunker Hill Lane.

Authorities are saying that the bus driver clearly failed to yield the right of way and hit the victim as it was turning right. The bus crash took place around 5:30 p.m. and remains under investigation.

Paramedics arrived in order to help Michael Hatch, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene of the bicycle accident. El Paseo Limousine has a contract with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to provide ACE train commuters with free shuttle rides.

Co-workers of the victim described him as an incredible person and showed up at the scene of the accident in order to pay their respects. Santa Clara police are are asking anyone that may have seen what happened to reach out to them at 408-615- 4764.

Accidents With Public vs Private Bus Companies

Buses are an important part of the public transportation system in the Bay Area and across California. They are far more green than traditional cars and actually are safer on balance. In fact, it has been estimated that being a passenger in a bus is 60 times safer than driving a car over an equivalent distance.

But buses still pose a number of unique risks for pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers. They are much heavier and more likely to cause serious injury in the event of a crash. Arguably there is a gap in the importance of safety between buses in the private and public sector. Private bus companies are primarily motivated by efficiency and profits. In a liberalized laissez faire economy, the motive for profit has been shown to increase the efficiency of private bus companies over their public competitors.

In many cases, however, this desire to increase profitability has had a detrimental effect on public safety. Consider, for example, accidents of private vs public garbage trucks in New York City. Garbage truck operators for private companies are reported to work 10 -14 hour days six days a week. As a consequence, drivers are less alert and able to handle potentially dangerous traffic situations. Drivers will also get calls during the middle of their route about their location. Managers will tell them that they’re going too slow and they need to pick up the pace. This leads to speeding and a greater number of accidents. It’s important that private service and transportation companies are properly regulated to prevent scenarios like this.  A bus accident attorney can take steps to investigate a crash and to find all the parties that may be at fault.

Investigating Liability In A Bus Accident

There are number of factors that investigators will want to consider when examining the fatal bus accident that killed Michael Hatch. Bus companies are considered “common carriers” under the law. In short, a common carrier is a company – public or private – which offers transportation to the public. Common carriers are held to very high standard as far as safety is concerned. According to the California civil case (Acosta v. Southern California Rapid Transit Dist. (1970), “Common carriers bind themselves to carry safely those whom they take into their vehicles, and owe both a duty of utmost care and the vigilance of a very cautious person towards their passengers. Such carriers are responsible for any, even the slightest, negligence and are required to do all that human care,vigilance, and foresight reasonably can do under all the circumstances.”

When a bus accident takes place there are a typically a number of entities that will investigate what happened including local law enforcement, the California Highway Patrol and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to reviewing traffic footage, traffic engineers will also conduct a forensic analysis of what happened during the crash. Software can produce a simulation of what took place and offer greater insight into potential liability. A number of buses also have event data recorders (EDRs) which contain key pieces of evidence prior to a crash. These devices measure the buses speed, whether a driver braked before an accident and numerous other factors.  The family of a victim involved in a bus accident is protected by a number of laws.

Getting A Police Report After A Bus Accident

We at West Coast Trial Lawyers extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Michael Hatch. What happened in this bus accident is completely unacceptable. Drivers need to exercise the utmost caution in order to avoid hitting cyclists. There needs to be accountability for what took place. This should never have happened. We encourage anyone that may have seen what happened to come forward and speak with investigators. What was this bus driver doing that was more important than keeping a careful eye on the road?

If someone that you love has been injured or killed in a Santa Clara bus accident you may have legal recourse. Our team of highly experienced personal injury attorneys can take steps to preserve key pieces of evidence and to make sure your rights are being protected. We are well aware of how hard bus companies and their insurance providers work after an accident in order to avoid responsibility. Our goal is to make sure that our clients get justice and are well taken care of. Whether you are trying to get a free police report after an accident or you just have questions about your rights we are here to help. You can reach us anytime at (888) 888-9285.

 Sources:

  1. Mark Gomez. Santa Clara: Bicyclist hit, killed by private commuter bus. October 26, 2018
  2. Lacava Legal. Seven Excuses Insurance Companies Use. 2018
  3. ProPublica. Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection. 2018
  4. Kuo-Ping Chang. The Relative Efficiency of Public versus Private Municipal Bus Firms: An Application of Data Envelopment Analysis. 2018

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