• A motorcyclists sues General Motors over an autonomous car collision

The rider is seeking unspecified damages for the injuries caused

Back in December last year, a motorcycle rider was blamed involving an autonomous vehicle crash. The self-driving cruise was a Chevrolet Bolt which apparently hit a lane splitting Motorcycle rider and justified its decision stating the rider was wrong and unsafe with the lane rules.

The rider, Oscar Nilsson, filed a lawsuit against General Motors in regards to this collision earlier this week stating that the “Bolt suddenly veered back into his lane and knocked him to the ground”. The lawsuit was in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

This news comes days after GM said it would release a Level 5 autonomous vehicle – without a steering wheel or pedals – in 2019.

A motorcyclists sues General Motors over an autonomous car collision
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Cruise Automation is a pioneering field and is applauded in many streams for its innovation. This being said, there exists a layer of controversy with this idea when the safety, legal implications, and danger posed to the fellow rider and his maneuvers are concerned.

For this collision, however, the police blamed the rider saying he ‘attempted to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right under conditions that did not permit that movement in safety.’ The motorcyclist was lane-splitting, and when he saw the Bolt change lanes, he tried to occupy that spot. But to his surprise, the Bolt maneuvered back into the lane since the car in the other lane changed its speed.

A motorcyclists sues General Motors over an autonomous car collision
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The Bolt’s calculations termed it unsafe and not a logical reason to change lanes under that given situation. The change back to the lane caused the car and the bike to scrub, and the rider fell off the balance. The rider walked away unhurt since the wobble-and-fall happened at 12mph but what if the AV was hacked, or there was a hardware malfunction? Who was supposed to blame?

The police also reported that the GM employee who was monitoring the situation tried to steer the car away from the bike to avoid the collision, but was too late to prevent contact. The fall caused Nelson to go on disability leave from work due to shoulder and neck injuries. For this, Nelson will have to undergo lengthy treatment for which he is seeking unspecified damages.

A motorcyclists sues General Motors over an autonomous car collision
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The court papers filed by Nelson say the following: Court papers filed by Nilsson say: ‘Once the self-driving vehicle cleared the roadway, Mr. Nilsson proceeded to travel straight. However, at the same time, the self-driving vehicle suddenly veered back into Mr. Nilsson’s lane, striking Mr. Nilsson and knocking him to the ground. As a result of the crash, Mr. Nilsson suffered injuries to his neck and shoulder and will require lengthy treatment.’

As the future of driverless vehicles looks bright, more and more companies are putting their technology and autonomous cars onto the roads. With more and more cars adding every day, expect to see many more incidents and lawsuits involving human injuries and dented test cars.

Sagar Patil
Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read full bio
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