Hit and Run…To the Courthouse

H/T The Jester’s Courtroom

A New York bicyclist who was hit by a car is being sued by the driver of the car.

According to news reports, Bryan Agnello was riding his bike home when he was struck from behind by Jovonte Cook. Agnello escaped without serious injury to his body, but his bike was mangled and his helmet destroyed. Months later, Agnello received a notice from Rochester City Court that Cook had filed suit against him, seeking $700 in damages to his car.

“I felt like I just got punched in the gut again,” Angello, 37, said. “It was painful. I was angry.”

The police report notes that Agnello was pedaling on the left side of the north-bound lane in front of Cook and slowed down just north of an interchange to make a left-hand turn when he was hit by the left front corner of Cook’s 2012 Ford sedan as Agnello prepared to turn.

“(Cook) said he did not see (Agnello) until he was on the hood of his vehicle,” the police report read. Agnello said he was wearing a reflective rain suit and that his bike had reflective panniers and a blinking red light.

Cook, who was not ticketed or charged for the incident, filed his case in Rochester City Court, describing a version of events that conflicted wildly with the police report and Agnello’s recollection of the collision. He described Agnello as riding his bike at about 60 mph. In a phone interview, Cook allegedly claimed Agnello was traveling at 80mph and “came out of nowhere and splashed on my front windshield.”

“There was a lot of damage that was done to my car and I couldn’t even use it the whole weekend to make money off of my car,” Cook, a pizza delivery person, said.

The top speed recorded at the 2019 Tour de France, a grueling road race that draws elite cyclists from around the world, was 63 mph. The rider hit that pace during a descent in the Alps.

“If I could go 60 mph I wouldn’t be here, I’d be in the Olympics,” Agnello said.

James Reed, an attorney with the Elmira-based Ziff Law Firm and an expert on New York’s bicycle laws, is advising Agnello on the case.

“In New York, if one vehicle rear-ends another vehicle, the rear-ending driver is legally responsible because it is his or her legal duty to keep their car under proper control so as to not rear-end another vehicle,” Reed wrote. “And this is true whether it is raining or snowing, day or not.”

Agnello has filed a counterclaim for $2,500 that he said covers the value of his destroyed bicycle, the time he spent recuperating, and the sheer aggravation of the ordeal.

But, he said, he would settle for Cook dropping his claim.

“I’m not about this stuff,” Agnello said. “This is not me at all. I just want to ride my bike.”

Source: Rochestercitynewspaper.com

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