I have heard that too much Wild Turkey is a dangerous thing, but it’s not every day that wild turkeys make the news for creating a roadway hazard. Unfortunately on Saturday, October 20, 2012 a 51-year-old bicyclist from Benicia had an almost deadly turkey encounter. This bicyclist was injured when a brood of wild turkeys ran into his path. I do not mean to make light of this gentleman’s injuries and I wish him the very speediest and most complete recovery.
The bicyclist suffered serious injuries–broken jaw, broken ribs and head trauma (although he was wearing a bike helmet). The accident occurred around 7:45 a.m. when the cyclist was traveling westbound on Alhambra Valley Road at about 40 mph.
His injuries were severe enough to warrant an airlift to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where they have a head trauma unit. On Monday afternoon, this bicycle rider was still in critical condition according to a nursing supervisor. As a bicycle accident attorney, I spend much of my time trying to help determine who was at fault for serious bicycle injuries. And I do get calls from bicyclists who have been injured after striking wild animals.
I have to advise, that, unless a public entity had good reason and opportunity to protect users of the roadway from wild animals, no one is really at fault. And when a raccoon bites a person, the City is probably not at fault either. If you hit a deer or a wild pig, liability against the owner of the road is usually very difficult at best.
Nature and wild animals have freedom, and we chose to share the same space with them, especially while exploring the beautiful countryside on a bicycle ride. Wild animals do not belong on the roadway; however, fencing each and every road is probably too onerous a task, even for the State of California.
I am glad that this bicycle rider was wearing his helmet so that he protected his head from a more severe head injury.
I hope for a speedy recovery so that this cyclist can enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey dinner with his family (in only a month from now).