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  1. #1
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Cut off in traffic; bad precedent being set

    So, a couple of months ago I was cut off in traffic, resulting in some slight injury and damage to my bike... Insurance company now says it is MY FAULT and will not cover damage to the bike (about $500)! They did cover lost wages and medical bills, so money is not the big deal here... what scares me is the precedent that is being set.

    According to all state laws with regards bicycling in my state I was doing nothing wrong and was acting within my rights on the road.

    The car did not signal and turned in front of me, causing the accident. The adjuster says "You were travelling behind our insured and had the duty to ensure of her actions before proceeding."

    How is this possible when their insured does not signal?

    According to this judgement and the precedent that it sets, it is unsafe to travel on a roadway with cars because they 'might' turn at ANY TIME!

    According to MA State law it is 100% my right to pass on the right while going with the flow of traffic. I am being told that I cannot for if I do, and I am hit by a car that did not signal or whose driver did not avail themselves of something called a mirror... IT IS MY FAULT.

    This is a DANGEROUS precedent and a dark day for cycling.

    Are there any cyclist advocacy groups whom I can contact about this matter? Thank you.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  2. #2
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Was the car already in hte same lane as you in front of you when this happened? If so this precident is already set in stone, it was your fault.

    If not and you said what you have said here to the insurance adjuster you did a very poor job of communicating. Leave room for interperation in how you describe an accident and the other parties involved will interpert it as best helps their case.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Was the car already in hte same lane as you in front of you when this happened? If so this precident is already set in stone, it was your fault.

    If not and you said what you have said here to the insurance adjuster you did a very poor job of communicating. Leave room for interperation in how you describe an accident and the other parties involved will interpert it as best helps their case.

    Yeah I cant tell either what he meant... This description definitely leaves room to interpret it as if he was in the same lane as the car and wasnt keeping a safe following distance, or tried to pass him on the right in the same lane, in which case I could see why the claim was denied.


    I am guessing however, that he meant that he was traveling in a lane to the right of the cars, a lane most likely used for bikes only, and he passed a car who turned right who crossed through the bikers lane unsafely? But, not enough info to really get a feel for what happened.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    ...
    Quote Originally Posted by lima_bean View Post
    ...
    Forgive my hasty post as I am a bit enraged at this whole thing.

    I was to the right of traffic, on a wide shoulder. The vehicle in question crossed in front of my lane of travel without checking mirrors or signaling.

    MA Law dictates that I am allowed to travel and pass to the right of motorized vehicle traffic.
    http://massbike.org/bikelaw/
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  5. #5
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    Forgive my hasty post as I am a bit enraged at this whole thing.

    I was to the right of traffic, on a wide shoulder. The vehicle in question crossed in front of my lane of travel without checking mirrors or signaling.
    There's your problem. You weren't in a lane of traffic at all. Had you been in the lane things may have been different, but considering the fact that the shoulder isn't considered a lane of traffic you managed to stick yourself in a legal grey area. Insurance companies LOVE those

  6. #6
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    Forgive my hasty post as I am a bit enraged at this whole thing.

    I was to the right of traffic, on a wide shoulder. The vehicle in question crossed in front of my lane of travel without checking mirrors or signaling.

    MA Law dictates that I am allowed to travel and pass to the right of motorized vehicle traffic.
    http://massbike.org/bikelaw/
    By riding on the shoulder technically were not on the road... (in the traveled way) nor in a designated lane.

    If you were actually behind someone then indeed, in spite of your view of precedent, you are responsible for avoiding those in front of you. But in this case, by your declaration, you were on the shoulder... how would someone know what to expect of you and why should your "off road" use effect them?

    Does MASS law assume that the shoulder is a "traveled way" and/or the proper place for a cyclist? Is the area designated as such?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn View Post
    There's your problem. You weren't in a lane of traffic at all. Had you been in the lane things may have been different, but considering the fact that the shoulder isn't considered a lane of traffic you managed to stick yourself in a legal grey area. Insurance companies LOVE those
    don't you love those 'grey areas'?? I think the fact that I don't have an insurance co. persuing this claim for me is a factor, as well.


    my area is littered with these signs but people don't seem to notice or care.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  8. #8
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Does MASS law assume that the shoulder is a "traveled way" and/or the proper place for a cyclist? Is the area designated as such?
    It was/is part of the paved roadway, and not 'off-road'. By 'shoulder' I simply mean on the right-hand side of the white line. If I have an amout of pavement to ride safely and not be hugging the passenger side of the cars in the lane, I will take it.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  9. #9
    Mistadobalina AGGRO's Avatar
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    Did you hit the car or the car hit you? I would think that if any of the car was next to you it would be considered an illegal turn? If the car fully turned and you t-boned the car, that's tough luck and it sucks but happens a lot.

  10. #10
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    It was/is part of the paved roadway, and not 'off-road'. By 'shoulder' I simply mean on the right-hand side of the white line. If I have an amout of pavement to ride safely and not be hugging the passenger side of the cars in the lane, I will take it.
    The roadway is defined as what's between the lines, not what's outside of them. Paved or not the shoulder is not part of the "roadway". I wasn't able to find the particular section in Ma. law, but here in FL cars are required to give you 3 feet of clearance when you're traveling in a roadway. If they don't, it's a nice lil' ticket and an asschewing.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGGRO View Post
    Did you hit the car or the car hit you? I would think that if any of the car was next to you it would be considered an illegal turn? If the car fully turned and you t-boned the car, that's tough luck and it sucks but happens a lot.
    I hit the back passenger side corner... the first part of the car to cross in front of me.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    It was/is part of the paved roadway, and not 'off-road'. By 'shoulder' I simply mean on the right-hand side of the white line. If I have an amout of pavement to ride safely and not be hugging the passenger side of the cars in the lane, I will take it.
    The problem is that right hand side of the white line is NOT considered part of the road traveled way... that is why the white line exists in this case.

    You may prefer to ride in this area, but you are technically "off road."

  13. #13
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    don't you love those 'grey areas'?? I think the fact that I don't have an insurance co. persuing this claim for me is a factor, as well.


    my area is littered with these signs but people don't seem to notice or care.
    Welcome to the real world.

    You'd be surprised at how many motorists think those signs mean that cyclists should move over and "share" the road.

    Sigh.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    The problem is that right hand side of the white line is NOT considered part of the road traveled way... that is why the white line exists in this case.

    You may prefer to ride in this area, but you are technically "off road."
    could we compare this to baseball or tennis? is the line considered fair or foul ground? I was right near (on or around at any givin time) the line. For all I know in the haze of recollection I was on the line.

    All I clearly recall during the accident was staring directly at a passenger-side rear brakelight assembly (where my face was headed) and seeing neither brakelights or directionals.
    Last edited by Astroluc; 08-01-07 at 04:58 PM.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  15. #15
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    By riding on the shoulder technically were not on the road... (in the traveled way) nor in a designated lane.

    If you were actually behind someone then indeed, in spite of your view of precedent, you are responsible for avoiding those in front of you. But in this case, by your declaration, you were on the shoulder... how would someone know what to expect of you and why should your "off road" use effect them?

    Does MASS law assume that the shoulder is a "traveled way" and/or the proper place for a cyclist? Is the area designated as such?
    While you have some good points, there should be an expectation of the driver to make sure they're clear to make the turn. The argument could be made either way as to the cyclist using the broad shoulder (and that's where I ride when they're available). Instead of cyclist, what if there had been a pedestrian. What if a sidewalk bordered the roadway?
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    While you have some good points, there should be an expectation of the driver to make sure they're clear to make the turn. The argument could be made either way as to the cyclist using the broad shoulder (and that's where I ride when they're available). Instead of cyclist, what if there had been a pedestrian. What if a sidewalk bordered the roadway?
    A pedestrian moves at far less of a speed than a cyclist. Most likely, this motorist would have noticed a pedestrian right near the intersection when making their turn. A cyclist, on the other hand, could have been many feet away from the intersection when the motorist started turning. With the normal and reasonable expectation that traffic is not passing on the right through an intersection, the motorist did not notice the cyclist.

    I've almost been caught in the same trap but luckily braked in time and avoided a collision. Now, I ride centered in the right lane like I'm allowed to and force motorists to pass in the left lane. Everyone gets along fine except for a few crybabies now and again.

  17. #17
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    could we compare this to baseball or tennis? is the line considered fair or foul ground? I was right near (on or around at any givin time) the line. For all I know in the haze of recollection I was on the line.
    For all legal practical purposes it's considered "foul". The painted line is the LAST place you want to ride especially when weather conditions go bad. Those things get s l i c k

  18. #18
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    near the intersection when making their turn.
    just an FYI... this was not an intersection with any traffic control; it was 1 main roadway with a side street.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  19. #19
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn View Post
    For all legal practical purposes it's considered "foul". The painted line is the LAST place you want to ride especially when weather conditions go bad. Those things get s l i c k
    dry as a bone and sunny blue without a cloud in the sky. (and yeah... slicks and painted lines are not friends in the wet!)
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Astroluc View Post
    just an FYI... this was not an intersection with any traffic control; it was 1 main roadway with a side street.
    Ok, but that doesn't make it any different than if there was a traffic control. If there's a spot where someone could turn right, expect them to and don't be off to the side.

  21. #21
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I would contact your local bike advocacy organization and ask for a recommendation for someone to work with you, maybe a lawyer or an LCI with experience in the legal and/or insurance realms. It's all well and good to ask about it here, but we aren't there to go over the incident on site with you, and we have varying levels of knowledge of your local traffic law and insurance policy. I would think a professional advocate in your region would be in a better position to give you good advice.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member EatMyA**'s Avatar
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    Always get a lawyer. always.

    insurance companies are not your friends and will not help you beyond the minimum requierments, and even then will try to weasel out of that. most lawyers that take your case will get their pay form the insurance, therefore not costing you anything out of your pocket. and they will get your bike fixed or a new one. its probably been to long for you, but for someone else dont wait do it RIGHT away.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    Ok, but that doesn't make it any different than if there was a traffic control. If there's a spot where someone could turn right, expect them to and don't be off to the side.
    I'll Quote myself from my first post

    ""According to this judgement and the precedent that it sets, it is unsafe to travel on a roadway with cars because they 'might' turn at ANY TIME!""
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

  24. #24
    Senior Member Lot's Knife's Avatar
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    I think that pretty much sums it up.

    As a result, pass with care.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Astroluc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lot's Knife View Post
    I think that pretty much sums it up.

    As a result, pass with care.
    certainly; as everyone should do (cars and cyclists) and as I've always attempted to do... hence my frustration at this judgement.
    "I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy" - Tom Waites

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