A San Francisco, California motorcyclist is suing General Motors, accusing one of their self driving cars of negligent driving. According to the suit, the motorcyclist says he was riding behind a self driving vehicle that changed lanes, merging left and leaving an open space ahead of the rider. The rider moved ahead into the space when the vehicle aborted the lane change and swerved back into the spot it had just left, hitting the rider and knocking him down causing neck and shoulder injuries and causing him to take disability leave from work.
GM's account of the crash was somewhat different:
As the Cruise AV was re-centering itself in the lane, a motorcycle that had just lane-split between two vehicles in the center and right lanes moved into the center lane, glanced the side of the Cruise AV, wobbled and fell over,” the report claims, noting that the Cruise AV was traveling with the flow of traffic at 12 mph and the motorcycle was traveling at approximately 17 mph.
Two rather different accounts, but, thankfully, a low speed collision, though still resulting in injuries to the biker. This is still very early in the transition to self driving cars and we're already seeing more accidents. As we've discussed before, the determination of who is at fault is going to be a legal bonanza for attorneys nationwide.
A driver was in the Cruise AV, but his hands were not on the wheel and before he could react, the accident happened.
Why do I get the feeling this is going to be the first of an endless stream of similar cases? One thing for sure, whenever you ride, assume you are invisible and always be ready for other vehicles to do the unexpected. No matter how a lawsuit turns out, when a motorcycle and car collide, the motorcycle always loses. Be careful out there.