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

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Say no to plastic straws

Straws make drinking frappuccinos easier, but they kill sea creatures, says letter writer

Crews putting out one of the first wildfires of the season in Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue, B.C. Wildfire Service on scene at Doumont Road fire

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Wellington Secondary drama program stages adaptation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Production will feature two actresses in the role of Alice

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Nanaimo set to celebrate its heritage

Nanaimo Heritage Days takes places Sunday at Maffeo Sutton Park

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Most Read