Old Law, New Problems

Posted: July 12, 2016 by Nazim in Enforcement, Moral High Ground, Negligence, Public Health

CityLab, urban policy megaphone of the eminently respectable Atlantic, recently put out this article, helpfully titled The Legal Policy That Makes Collisions Especially Harrowing for CyclistsBikers share an unenviable category with vegetarians: they’re engaging in morally superior behavior, and being punished for it. In this particular case, by a draconian version of the Contributory Negligence doctrine, which bars any recovery if the plaintiff has even a tiny degree of fault in the accident (talk about blaming the victim!). In most jurisdictions, this doctrine has been replaced by or morphed into the Comparative Negligence doctrine, which simply lowers the damage award by the percentage that the plaintiff was at fault, and reducing the award to zero if the plaintiff is 50% or more at fault in the accident.

This becomes interesting because negligence is a very comprehensive legal framework: what was the discernible risk, what are the possible consequences, and how much effort did you put into avoiding them? Sometimes, as Casey Neistat demonstrates below, this clashes with traffic regulations, and bikers must make tough legal choices.

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