On May 17th, 2017, Nicky Hayden was out training on his bicycle, near the Adriatic Coast, when he was struck by car in an intersection very close to the Misano World Circuit.
The incident would prove to be a fateful one, and send ripples through the motorcycle industry, as Hayden died five days later in a hospital outside of Rimini, Italy.
Since then, the accident has been under investigation by the local prosecutor, and the results of that forensic investigation have now been released to the public.
Reconstructing the incident through statements made by the driver, eyewitnesses, and CCTV video footage, the investigation has found fault on both sides of the crash – assigning 30% of the blame to Nicky Hayden, for running the stop sign, and 70% of the blame to the driver, for excessive speed.
This type of assessment of blame is not uncommon in road incident investigations, and it will surely play a role in any sort of legal proceedings that stem from the collision. The findings though help us understand what happened on that fateful day.
Examining the evidence in front of him, the public prosecutor’s investigator, Orlando Omicini, determined that the 30-year-old driver of the Peugeot 206 struck Hayden while driving just over 70 km/h down Via Tavoleto, while the speed limit for the road was 50 km/h.
Conversely, Omicini also determined that Hayden failed to stop fully at the stop sign at the road’s intersection, riding his bicycle at roughly 20 km/h along Via Ca’ Raffaelli when he was struck.
The combination of those two events lead to the devastating collision between the car and bicycle, which ultimately cost Hayden his life.
Investigator Omicini assigns more blame to the car driver though, saying that if the Peugeot 206 had been traveling at or below the speed limit, Hayden would have passed in front of him, and there would have been more time for the driver to avoid the collision.
While Omicini assigns more blame to the car’s driver, the issue will now head into an Italian criminal court proceeding, where lawyers will argue the comparative fault found between Nicky Hayden and the driver.
The driver of the car is facing a vehicular homicide charge because of the incident, which could carry a sentence of five to ten years in jail.
And while civil penalties, if any, will be contingent on the outcome of the criminal case, nothing will bring back the beloved motorcycle racer who is missed by his legion of fans.