— The collision of a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt and a San Francisco motorcyclist has caused a personal injury lawsuit to be filed against General Motors.
The plaintiff, Oscar Willhelm Nilsson, claims he was riding the motorcycle in San Francisco in December 2017 when the self-driving 2016 Chevrolet Bolt hit the bike and knocked it and the plaintiff onto the road.
According to the lawsuit, Mr. Manuel DeJesus Salazar was in the driver’s seat of the autonomous Bolt with his hands off the steering wheel. Nilsson says he was riding behind the Chevy Bolt when the car changed lanes to the left, leaving the plaintiff free and clear to proceed forward in the open lane.
However, the Bolt allegedly veered back into Nilsson's lane and hit the motorcycle, knocking the plaintiff and bike to the ground. The plaintiff says he suffered injuries to his neck and shoulder that will require long-term treatment. Nilsson also claims he was forced to take disability leave from his work.
Although the lawsuit places blame on the self-driving Bolt, GM says the motorcycle merged into the lane of the Bolt before it was safe to do so. In addition, the police report says the incident was Nilsson's fault for passing a vehicle when it wasn't safe to do so.
In a report GM made to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the automaker says the Chevy Bolt was operating in autonomous mode in heavy traffic and traveling in the center of three one-way lanes. GM's report says the Chevy Bolt was doing 12 mph and the motorcycle was traveling about 17 mph when the collision occurred.
The Bolt allegedly found a space between two vehicles in the left lane and began to merge into that lane, but one of those vehicles immediately decelerated.
Sensing that its gap was closing, the Chevy Bolt allegedly stopped making its lane change and returned fully to the center lane when "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 Bolt, wobbled and fell over.
According to the DMV report filed by GM, Nilsson got up and walked his motorcycle to the side of the road where the parties exchanged information. Mr. Nilsson also reported shoulder pain and was taken to receive medical care.
GM says the police report clearly says the "motorcyclist was determined to be at fault for attempting to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety in violation of CVC 21755(a)."
The self-driving Chevrolet Bolt lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California - Oscar Willhelm Nilsson vs. General Motors LLC.
The plaintiff is represented by Lemberg Law, LLC.