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  1. #1
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    Got hit while on the sidewalk, is it my fault?

    Hi, I got hit by a car the other day while riding the sidewalk. I am a big advocate of cyclists sharing the road but this day I was pretty tired and was riding at a very slow pace to get to class. I am doing a project on cycling safety and created this video to show how to it went down.



    So is it my fault because I was riding on the sidewalk? I don't think so, personally, but others who I've told about the crash disagree.
    Last edited by burvowski; 04-27-08 at 10:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Though IANAL and I'm not sure what your local laws are, the driver is at least partially responsible, due to his/her failure to yield. I can't imagine that you would be found to have a serious burden of responsibility in this case.

    Hope you are OK and that your project goes well!

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    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burvowski View Post
    Hi, I got hit by a car the other day while riding the sidewalk. I am a big advocate of cyclists sharing the road but this day I was pretty tired and was riding at a very slow pace to get to class. I am doing a project on cycling safety and created this video to show how to it went down.

    http://web.missouri.edu/~jgb9d6/Crash%20SWF/Crash.html

    So is it my fault because I was riding on the sidewalk? I don't think so, personally, but others who I've told about the crash disagree.
    Nice presentation. How long did that take?
    Yes your fault you are ridding the wrong way. A driver didn't see (that was their stopping) they were looking for legal cyclists and motorists comming in the other direction.

    Common problem with sidewalk ridding as you need to walk your bicycle to avoid cycling in the wrong direction.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rahzel's Avatar
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    Well, according to the presentation, the car didn't stop at the stop sign at all. That would be breaking the law in any case, wrong-way-sidewalk-riding-cyclist-slash-pedestrian or not.

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    Tricky.
    Technically the car is at fault for not stopping at the stop light. However if you were riding here (your local laws may be different) you are required to dismount from your bike when crossing a road when transitioning between footpaths. This is because when you ride a bike on a road you are regarding as a road user (same as a car) and since cars aren't allowed to do that neither are you.

    If you were walking your bike, the car would be required to yield to you regardless of whether there was as stop sign, give way sign, or nothing at all.
    I want to live.

  6. #6
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    Fair enough. But I was coming from a complete stop and they did not stop but rolled through. What if I had no bike and were a pedestrian crossing? The exact same thing would have happened. I would have still gotten hit with no bike.

    oh, and as far as i know, according to my friend, cyclists are allowed to ride on the wrong way sidewalk here in Columbia, MO. I could be wrong though, but that's just what I've heard.

  7. #7
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    In most cases there is no "wrong way" if you're riding on the sidewalk...pedestrians don't get ticketed for walking the "wrong way", and unless there is a law specifically requiring the cyclists to ride in the same direction of traffic I'm pretty sure that's not a requirement on the sidewalk.

    In my town it's a crime for a person above a certain age (I think 12) to ride a bicycle on the sidewalk in a business or residential district (which covers most of town). Check your local laws.

    That said, even if you broke a "no sidewalk" law, if the presentation is correct the motorist failed to stop at the stop sign, and also failed to yield to a human being in the crosswalk directly in front of his/her vehicle, so I'd place most of the blame on the motorist.

    If it was legal for you to ride on the sidewalk, and you are not required by law to dismount at crossings or ride in the same direction as traffic on the roadway, of course even more of the blame would be on the motorist, because they should spend extra time looking for wrong way cyclists flying through the crosswalk if that is legal in your area.

    A few details that could sway the amount of blame. How was the lighting at the time? If it was dark, was the bicycle equipped with the legally required reflectors and light(s)?

  8. #8
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    It was the middle of the afternoon on a sunny day. If I had been "flying through" the intersection on a bike on the sidewalk, I would have taken all the blame, but I think the fact that I had completely stopped for the previous car, I presented enough opportunity for myself to be seen.

  9. #9
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    The inevitable questions...

    Were you injured? Did you fall? Did the driver stop? Etc...

  10. #10
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    You were both at fault, but you were more at fault than him. You were riding illegally on the sidewalk and entered the intersection from an unexpected direction. You knew it was wrong and risky. No excuse for you. He cruised through a stop sign - illegal, but normal driver behaviour that you should have expected.

  11. #11
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    The driver is legally responsible. But please stop wrong way riding on the sidewalk - it is begging to get hit.

    Assuming you are correct that wrong way cycling on the sidewalk is legal in your area.

  12. #12
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    apparently it is legal outside business districts:


    http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/...er_14/507.html
    Chapter 14 MOTOR VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC*


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Section 14-507 Riding on sidewalks.




    (a) No person shall ride a cycle upon a sidewalk within a business district.


    (b) The designee of the city manager is authorized to erect signs on any sidewalk prohibiting the riding of cycles thereon by any person, and when such signs are in place, no person shall disobey the same.


    (c) Whenever any person is riding a cycle upon a sidewalk, such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing such pedestrian.


    (Code 1964, 12.1550)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by burvowski View Post
    Hi, I got hit by a car the other day while riding the sidewalk. I am a big advocate of cyclists sharing the road but this day I was pretty tired and was riding at a very slow pace to get to class. I am doing a project on cycling safety and created this video to show how to it went down.

    http://web.missouri.edu/~jgb9d6/Crash%20SWF/Crash.html

    So is it my fault because I was riding on the sidewalk? I don't think so, personally, but others who I've told about the crash disagree.
    Legally, you are not at fault; you were obeying the law (unless it is illegal to ride on sidewalks where you live), and the driver of the car that hit you wasn't obeying the law.

    Practically speaking, riding on sidewalks is not as safe as riding in the road. In your particular crash, the driver *may* have been looking towards oncoming traffic, rather than at you. Or maybe the driver just didn't care who had the right of way and blew the stop. But riding against traffic on the sidewalk does lead to collisions with drivers who aren't expecting a vehicle to be coming from the "wrong" direction, which is why it's less safe than riding in the road with traffic.

    Nevertheless, the driver is solely at fault for this crash-- again, assuming that riding on the sidewalk is legal where you live. If riding on the sidewalk is not legal where you live, you would both be at fault.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    You were both at fault, but you were more at fault than him. You were riding illegally on the sidewalk and entered the intersection from an unexpected direction. You knew it was wrong and risky. No excuse for you. He cruised through a stop sign - illegal, but normal driver behaviour that you should have expected.
    I don't know about Canada, but in the U.S. you're not required to anticipate another vehicle operator's illegal behavior, unless its is patently obvious that the illegal behavior is occurring.

    As far as it being "illegal" to ride on the sidewalk, that will vary from town to town. You can't just assume that it's illegal-- or legal.

    EDIT: And I see that you discovered that sidewalk riding is legal outside a business district in Columbia, MO.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 04-17-08 at 09:07 PM.

  15. #15
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    Riding against traffic on the sidewalk means the driver at the t-stop is looking left at traffic, not right at you.

    Coincidentally, the shortest route back to my house involves using the sidewalk, but against traffic. There's a t-stop along this sidewalk and all the motorists getting off the freeway pull up to it, look to their left and if no cars are coming, they *** their engines and make the right on red. This t-stop is the very reason why I won't go home this way. I actually ride about 3 miles out of my way to avoid it because it's so dangerous.

  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    I don't know about Canada, but in the U.S. you're not required to anticipate another vehicle operator's illegal behavior, unless its is patently obvious that the illegal behavior is occurring.
    Maybe not required, but it's something that everyone should be doing.

    It's basic defensive cycling/driving/walking/skateboarding/moped'ing. Always assume that the other person is going to do something completely moronic, illegal, and dangerous. Be pleasantly surprised when they don't.

  17. #17
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    The driver is legally responsible. But please stop wrong way riding on the sidewalk - it is begging to get hit.

    Assuming you are correct that wrong way cycling on the sidewalk is legal in your area.
    Is there any such thing as "wrong way" cycling on the sidewalk (i.e. cycling in an improper direction on the sidewalk) spelled out in any legal code, anywhere?

  18. #18
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    ^^As far as I'm concerned any sidewalk cycling is "wrong way", but it appears the good burghers of Columbia MO don't see it that way.

    The whole incident is quite ironic. The OP is doing a project on cycling safety, and because he was feeling tired and was being a little cautious, he rode on the sidewalk for safety, forgetting or not realizing that it can actually be more dangerous than the road, and indeed he had an accident. It turns out that in his community what he did was legal, so any legal fault must reside with the driver, but if we set the law aside and just think about self preservation, the accident was due in part to his "wrong way" sidewalk cycling. Had he been coming from the other direction, either on the road or the sidewalk, the driver would have been more likely to see him, since the driver was probably scanning to his left for motor vehicle traffic.

  19. #19
    Metalhead
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    Was it a wide side walk? In that case I don't see why everyone has such a problem here, they're made wide to accomodate for cyclists and peds, respectively. The driver didn't stop at the stop sign, failed to yield to you, they are more at fault. I don't understand this "wrong way" malarky. Why does that matter? Like someone else said, pedestrians don't have a wrong way deal. What if there was no sidewalk on the other side of the street?
    Quote Originally Posted by closetbiker
    How many cars would be sold, I wonder, if they advertised just the wrecks?

  20. #20
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenPremier View Post
    Was it a wide side walk? In that case I don't see why everyone has such a problem here
    The problem, obviously, is that he got hit. Luckily it wasn't serious, and technically it not have been his fault, but is that most important issue? Or is the really important issue: how to minimize the risks of accident?

    Sidewalk cycling, whether legal or not, poses certain hazards. Pedestrians and dogs may not anticipate cyclists and may veer into their path. Cars drivers certainly may not expect cyclists to enter an intersection from the sidewalk. In this case, the cyclist was under a huge tree - perhaps he was shaded or shielded from view (unless the leaves aren't out yet). Sidewalk cyclists may conflict with drivers at driveways and parking lot entrances.

    For these reasons, cyclists who assume the sidewalk is "safe" compared to the street, may be mistaken, and should always be especially vigilant, because other sidewalk users or crossers may not be.
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  21. #21
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    You were both at fault, but you were more at fault than him. You were riding illegally on the sidewalk and entered the intersection from an unexpected direction. You knew it was wrong and risky. No excuse for you. He cruised through a stop sign - illegal, but normal driver behaviour that you should have expected.
    Wow, did you folks even look at the presentation? The cyclist stopped at the intersection. He was as visible as a pedestrian. He was hit by a car that failed to stop for a stop sign.

    While it may be illegal, in some places, to ride a bike on the sidewalk, the cyclist did indeed stop and presented himself in the proper place. The motorist was at fault for failing to stop, period.

  22. #22
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker View Post
    ^^As far as I'm concerned any sidewalk cycling is "wrong way", but it appears the good burghers of Columbia MO don't see it that way.

    The whole incident is quite ironic. The OP is doing a project on cycling safety, and because he was feeling tired and was being a little cautious, he rode on the sidewalk for safety, forgetting or not realizing that it can actually be more dangerous than the road, and indeed he had an accident. It turns out that in his community what he did was legal, so any legal fault must reside with the driver, but if we set the law aside and just think about self preservation, the accident was due in part to his "wrong way" sidewalk cycling. Had he been coming from the other direction, either on the road or the sidewalk, the driver would have been more likely to see him, since the driver was probably scanning to his left for motor vehicle traffic.
    So if the cyclist was riding "wrong way" then can peds walk "wrong way?"

    The cyclist came to a complete stop and presented himself in the same manner as a pedestrian at an intersection with a stop sign. He then left the curb after an earlier car stopped and then went on. A second car which should have stopped did not.

    The cyclists only "fault" was assuming that the oncoming car would stop as it was required to do.

    A pedestrian in the same situation would also have been hit. Would it have been the pedestrians' fault for walking the "wrong way?"

    You folks are a bit hung up on the "cyclist on the sidewalk" when clearly the stop sign running motorist is the key here. The cyclist met his legal obligation if not his common sense "obligation." The motorist failed to meet their legal obligation.

  23. #23
    Senior Member rando's Avatar
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    Driver was at fault. BUT be warned, if you are cycling on the sidewalk against traffic in the adjacent lanes, you have to be doubly vigilant because drivers are NOT looking your way. that's how I had an accident a couple years ago.
    "Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world". ~Grant Petersen

    Cyclists fare best when they recognize that there are times when acting vehicularly is not the best practice, and are flexible enough to do what is necessary as the situation warrants.--Me

  24. #24
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdin77 View Post
    Riding against traffic on the sidewalk means the driver at the t-stop is looking left at traffic, not right at you.
    The motorist has the obligation to stop and look both ways before proceeding... they failed in that obligation. It was the motorist's fault.

    None the less, the cyclist should never assume that motorists will obey the law.

    BTW not too long ago I took a walk over to my favorite pub... I was quite amazed and disappointed to find that motorists failed to yield to me as a ped even though they had red lights, but never even looked in my direction when making a right on red... three motorists in a row never even looked to the right, the very direction they were turning... none of them came to a complete stop either.... all in violation of the law... but this is what the right on red rules have bred.... motorists that habitually break the law.

    On top of that, they did not even look where they were driving, that alone is just plain stupid... to start out in any direction without even checking to see if the way is clear.
    Last edited by genec; 04-18-08 at 09:30 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    You folks are a bit hung up on the "cyclist on the sidewalk" when clearly the stop sign running motorist is the key here. The cyclist met his legal obligation if not his common sense "obligation." The motorist failed to meet their legal obligation.
    +1

    There are reasons why riding on a sidewalk is often more dangerous than riding on the street. IMO, one of those reasons is *not* that a car might blow through a stop sign and hit you. It would be different, IMO, if he were speeding along, bike ninja style, and didn't stop at the crosswalk because he assumed that the car would come to a complete stop at the stop sign. But that's not what happened here.

    It also doesn't matter what direction he was coming from since he was stopped at the intersection, just like a pedestrian would be.

    Being hit by a car that runs a red light can happen in the road as easily as it can happen on the sidewalk; that has happened to me in my car. (Well, it was a stoplight, but same principle).

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