In April 2009, Kenneth Charles Sully of El Cajon, CA, age 58, was killed while riding his Ducati motorcycle in San Diego. He was riding northbound on PCH near the city’s Little Italy, when his vehicle collided with a Toyota that made a left turn in front of him.
The Toyota, which was being driven by a 17 year-old girl from Los Angeles, was approaching the intersection in the opposite direction. She turned left in front of the motorcyclist, cutting him off. He swerved in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid her car. The motorcyclist suffered fatal injuries.
The family sued the City of San Diego, alleging that the intersection was inherently dangerous. According to the lawsuit, “This turn lane’s position combined with the position of the then existing traffic signals gave drivers the confusing illusion they had the right-of-way on a green signal to turn left onto Cedar Street…The city further failed to install or maintain any signs warning southbound traffic they were required to yield to northbound Pacific Highway traffic when turning onto Cedar Street. No warnings or signals were present to safely guide traffic using this intersection with due care.”
Last week, the City of San Diego agreed to a $1.8 million settlement with the family of the motorcyclist. As motorcycle accident lawyers, we see unsafe intersections like this all too often. Careless drivers are bad enough, but the danger from such drivers is compounded by poorly designed streets and intersections. Hopefully the City of San Diego will correct the Cedar Street and PCH intersection immediately.