A youth cyclist has been let off the hook after being sued by a Kamloops man who jogged into the back wheel of their bike and became injured, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.
In the recently released lawsuit, the jogger, Rosario Perilli of Kamloops, named a then-10-year-old girl, claiming she breached a number of sections of the Motor Vehicle Act, including cycling without due care without reasonable consideration for other people.
Perilli also named the girl’s grandparents, Wendy and Patrick Marlow, stating that they didn’t properly teach the girl how to safely ride a bike.
But Justice S. Dev Dley determined the girl – and her grandparents – were not liable for the 2014 accident, noting that at such an age the girl couldn’t be held to the same standards as an adult, and that her actions were consistent “with what a similarly aged young girl would have reasonably done in the circumstances.”
Girl, friends riding abreast during accident
The girl and two friends were riding their bicycles along Robson Street on the day of the accident, after deciding it would be safer to ride abreast and take advantage of the only sidewalk along the pathway, according to the court judgment.
While the two friends rode on the sidewalk, the girl couldn’t fit, so rode instead close to the curb.
Perilli had been running on the sidewalk in the same direction the girls were cycling, notably faster than the girls were riding, so he intended to pass them. But as there was “no room to pass on the sidewalk,” he claimed, he decided to pass them on the road.
During the hearing, the girl testified that she looked back twice and saw Perilli, so she moved closer to the curb to give him room to pass the group. But then he slowed down and fell back, she said, so she assumed he was not going to pass and moved away from the curb.
As Perilli maneuvered around the girl, she moved into his path, when his foot struck the back wheel and – attempting to avoid a collision – fell onto his shoulder.
Perilli suffered various injuries, including one to his shoulder that required surgery, the court heard.
Dley determined that while the girl’s actions “were not perfect,” and that another look behind her may have been enough to know Perilli was about to pass, the group riding on the sidewalk was a reasonable decision.
“This was no different than if two people pushing strollers or walking their dogs had clogged the sidewalk with a cyclist alongside. Mr. Perilli would still have had to pass by,” Dley said.