What types of evidence might a Wisconsin bicyclist expect to be presented at his or her trial after being injured in a bicycle accident?
In an unpublished 1991 opinion in Wisconsin, a bicylist was riding his bike down East Johnson Street in Madison, Wisconsin. The street was one way. A driver up ahead was stopped with his left directional on and when the light turned, the driver made his left turn and the bicylist struck the driver's side door of his vehicle.
At trial, the police records custodian was called and testified that the investigating police officer concluded in his accident report that innattentive driving by the biker was a factor in the accident. The court concluded that although the testimony should not have been admitted, it was a harmless error.
The court also held that it was permissible for a witness in his car to testify that the biker was traveling between 30 and 35 mph even though the witness never saw the accident. The court also allowed the defense attorney to read a written statment made by the witness where the witness recorded his thoughts that the bicyclist was at fault.
Lastly, the court allowed the officer to testify to what the witness told him at the scene.
This case should alert bicylists who are injured to the importance of witnesses, statements made at a scene, and riding in a safe manner. If this biker had been able to provide his own witnesses to contradict the above, he probably wouldn't have been found 90% at fault.
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