Metro Vancouver bicyclist who tried to sue motorist instead found at fault

Judge says cyclist contravened the Motor Vehicle Act by riding his bike in a crosswalk, where he was hit

A Surrey bicyclist who tried to sue a motorist who struck him down in a Newton crosswalk has found out it was he who had broken the law.

“The plaintiff is the author of his own misfortune,” the judge found.

Joginder Singh Dhanoya, 73, was cycling on his regular route to his Sikh temple on Nov. 21, 2015, on a clear, dry day, when he was struck by a car driven by Jodie William Stephens.

Dhanoya was riding his bicycle in a pedestrian crosswalk on 70A Avenue, near 122nd Street, when he was hit. A five-day trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, with Justice Janice Dillon presiding, tackled issues of liability, causation of the crash, and the amount of damages.

“A driver approaching a marked crosswalk assumes a heightened duty to take extreme care and maintain a vigilant lookout for those that might be in the crosswalk,” the judge noted. “It is important to remember that the standard of care is not one of perfection, but whether the driver acted in a manner which as ordinarily prudent person would act.”

But Dillon also noted Dhanoya contravened the Motor Vehicle Act by riding his bike in a crosswalk. “He did not have the statutory right of way when he bicycled across the crosswalk because he was not a pedestrian.”

Dillon found Dhanoya “100 per cent at fault” for the accident. “The action is dismissed.”

READ ALSO: Court to appoint lawyer to argue Surrey murder convict’s appeal

READ ALSO: Surrey couple convicted of unlawfully confining quadriplegic man

At trial, Stephens had argued Dhanoya was wholly responsible for the crash, Dillon noted, as he rode his bike though the crosswalk “right in front” of car “without stopping to ensure that it was safe to proceed.”

On the other hand, Dhanoya argued that he stopped at the crosswalk before crossing but the driver “was distracted, failed to see him in the crosswalk and struck him in the middle of the crosswalk,” the judge noted.

“There is no issue that the defendant was driving below the speed limit.”

Dhanoya told the court he sometimes gets off his bike and pushes it across the crosswalk but because he saw no cars on the road, he cycled across.

“Within about five to seven seconds, he was hit by the defendant’s vehicle and fell,” Dillon wrote in her May 9 reasons for judgment. “He did not hear or see the car coming.”

Stephens told the court he was heading to the library with his wife and daughter, glanced to his right and when Dhanoya came right out in front of him without stopping, applied his brakes and “bumped” the rear of the bike.

Dhanoya was not thrown, but fell off his bike on impact. “He instinctively grabbed for his turban which had fallen off,” the judge noted. “He remained momentarily on the ground before trying to get up. He stumbled but managed to get up as others came to assist. His left hand was bleeding. Both knees were sore, particularly the right. He had struck his head on the ground. He waited for 20 minutes at the side of the road before his daughter-in-law arrived.”

Police came to the scene and ticketed Stephens for failing to yield to a cyclist in the crosswalk. “The ticket was cancelled because the offence only applied to a pedestrian in a crosswalk,” Dillon said.

“In the event that I am in error in the assessment of liability, damages are considered as follows.

“I would award non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $30,000,” she said, and $2,361.96 in special damages.

Dhanoya had sought damages in the range of $50,000 to $75,000.

“The plaintiff testified that he had lost his sense of mobility and independence,” the judge noted. “Even though he was fully retired, he had continued to enjoy his days out to the temple and in the garden prior to the accident. After the accident, he felt frail and less inclined. I accept that the accident did have this effect upon the elderly plaintiff.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

Rod and gun club president speaks up on gun ban

Chase said such a sweeping ban isn’t the right way to address the issue in a democratic country

B.C. government eyes antlerless moose harvest increase in bid to save caribou

Antlerless moose hunts reduce predation for threatened mountain caribou, says ministry

Blue River Community Garden celebrates construction of screened-in gazebo

Volunteer fire department donates time and expertise to the job

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Greater Victoria drive-thru window smashed after man receives burger without mustard

Greater Victoria Wendy’s staff call police after man allegedly rips Plexiglas barrier off window

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit was en route as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Most Read