SF Motorcyclist Sues GM Following Crash with Self-Driving Car

By: Staff Writer February 6, 2018
A San Francisco man is suing automaker GM, claiming that it acted negligently when one of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolts ran into him on a city street.
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A San Francisco motorcycle rider sued automaker General Motors (GM) after claiming one of its self-driving Chevrolet Bolts injured him in an accident. 

On the morning of Dec. 7, 2017, the motorcyclist, Oscar Nilsson, was riding his Honda down a San Francisco street and eventually found himself behind a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt, which was carrying a GM employee who was behind the wheel but not controlling the vehicle.

In a lawsuit filed Jan. 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Nilsson claimed that the self-driving car changed lanes to the left but swerved back into its original lane when he moved forward to pass. The two collided, sending Nilsson into a fall that injured his neck and shoulder, maladies that have kept him from his work as a photographer.

At the time of the accident, the Bolt was traveling at around 12 MPH and Nilsson was going about 17 MPH, according to an accident report filed by GM. In reports from GM and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD), the Bolt never fully changed lanes but rather started the maneuver before canceling it and returning to its previous position. The SFPD ultimately blamed Nilsson for the accident, claiming GM wasn't at fault because Nilsson passed on the right side before it was safe to do so.

Nilsson is suing on the grounds that GM acted negligently, and is seeking retribution for the costs his injuries have incurred, both in medical fees and missed working wages. A pre-trial conference has been set for April 27.

The lawsuit comes as GM is ramping up to launch a fleet of self-driving fleet vehicles, a technology the carmaker has been aggressively developing over the past few years. 

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