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

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Castlegar already well on path to energy-wise future, says community activist

Eco-Society executive director asks council to take 100-per-cent-renewable-energy pledge

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read