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Old 05-15-08, 08:02 PM   #1
jayz
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Was Hit. I am O.K. Car Left Scene, but I got the Plates. I Need Advice.

Hello. This happened Thursday, May 15, 2008

I am a 23 year old cyclist in Rhode Island. This afternoon while biking to work I was hit by an automobile. It was the first accident I've ever been a part of and I have ridden nearly every day for 6 years. I am vigilant, was wearing a helmet and gloves. I have insurance.


I was biking with traffic on a busy single lane road. I was safely in the shoulder to the right of the road.
I was approaching a light that had turned green, and cars were accelerating. Im not sure whether or not the car that hit me was intending to take a right, or if they swerved into the right-hand turning lane to get around a left-turning vehicle in front of them, but either way I had only a few feet to react and nowhere to go. I seemed to have bounced off the passenger side of the SUV, and skidded on the sidewalk. I felt my helmet take a minor knock but nothing serious, and my instincts seemed to have served me well. No bruising, no concussion, only two minor scrapes. It seems my gloves took the brunt of the fall.

The issue becomes more complicated because the driver immediately sped off. I have no doubt he knew an accident occurred.

I was lucky, and bounced right back up, immediately asked witnesses if anyone got the plates. they hadn't, so intuitively, I hopped on my bike and began to pursue the vehicle. A half-mile sprint later, I caught up to the car at a stop light, after watching it attempt to loose me by speeding. It was clearly the car, with a big dent in the driver side door. I got the plates and called the police.

I spoke with the police, told them what happened, and had them ID the license.

I asked the police if I could file a report later, and they said yes, but soon. and because I was late to teach (work) , and not injured, I went to work.

My issue is not with the fact that an accident occurred. My problem is that the driver fled the scene.
There should be a penalty for this. If I had been seriously hurt and the driver had sped off, this would be a very different story.

I've never dealt with police reports, insurance, any of this stuff, I have parents who's advice I value greatly but I am hoping for a certain degree of objectivity from this message-board. I will be telling them soon, but I fear my father will 1) just want the worst for this driver and 2) be really worked up about me. I also would like any facts, or relevant experiences anyone here has had.

What would you do? What should I expect? How much do lawyers cost? any helpful information will be appreciated.

oh yeah, lastly, my steel bike is a-ok, too.

sorry for the wordy post. It is healthy for me to write this account down, and this just ended up being the place I did it.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:04 PM   #2
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Hit and run is a felony in most places. Don't wait to file the report. Do it now.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:12 PM   #3
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If you're not trying to recover money from the guy (you don't have any medical expenses and don't need to have your bike repaired) then there is no reason for you to hire a lawyer.

File the report ASAP. Then let the police and courts sort it out.

Last edited by cc_rider; 05-15-08 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:55 PM   #4
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cc_rider said what I was going to say pretty much verbatim.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:05 PM   #5
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File the report asap. The driver will likely plead ignorance (I didn't notice) but it will be on record and maybe justice will be served.

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Old 05-15-08, 09:12 PM   #6
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This guy (or gal) basically ran you down and ran away. Go Get 'Em. File the report! Hitting cyclists ain't free!
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Old 05-15-08, 09:27 PM   #7
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Glad to hear you're not too badly injured.
File a report immediately or as soon as possible. You may feel fine now and begin to ache later. You could have serious injuries that take a while to notice after the adrenaline has worn off. You also have other damages. If your helmet got hit at all during this incident it needs to be replaced. If it were me I would pursue criminal charges against the driver as well as civil action against him if he/she does not agree to pay your damages.
Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:40 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for the sound advice.

I will be showing up bright and early tomorrow morning at the public safety complex to file a report.
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Old 05-15-08, 11:51 PM   #9
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the cops should have been all over this like flies on poop
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Old 05-16-08, 04:13 AM   #10
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Could the OP clarify. Did the car hit you while moving to the right, or did the car move to the right and you hit it. I realize that either way you didn't have enough time to react but there may be a legal difference if you persue this in court.
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Old 05-16-08, 05:00 AM   #11
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Car moved to the right and I hit it.

Maddmax, today I'm going to check out a book on cycling and the law. I understand that who's fault it is might be contested, and that could turn into a problem.

However, it's the fact that the guy left that really bothers me, and what I want to seek a penalty for. Leaving the scene is the real problem, plus it implies a certain degree of guilt.
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Old 05-16-08, 05:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayz View Post
Car moved to the right and I hit it.

Maddmax, today I'm going to check out a book on cycling and the law. I understand that who's fault it is might be contested, and that could turn into a problem.

However, it's the fact that the guy left that really bothers me, and what I want to seek a penalty for. Leaving the scene is the real problem, plus it implies a certain degree of guilt.
Leaving the scene implies a certain degree of guilt of the crime of leaving the scene, but that act implies nothing about fault/responsibility for the collision itself.
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Old 05-16-08, 05:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayz View Post
.


I was biking with traffic on a busy single lane road. I was safely in the shoulder to the right of the road.
.
1. Mybe in the future, take up more space to keep people from squeezing you?

2.Pursue this to the ends of the earth. You were hit by a car and left on the road like you don't matter. Push hard. make sure charges are filed.
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Old 05-16-08, 06:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayz View Post
Car moved to the right and I hit it.

Maddmax, today I'm going to check out a book on cycling and the law. I understand that who's fault it is might be contested, and that could turn into a problem.

However, it's the fact that the guy left that really bothers me, and what I want to seek a penalty for. Leaving the scene is the real problem, plus it implies a certain degree of guilt.
If the car moved toward you and left no room for you to go, unless you actually reached out and struck the car on purpose, he hit you. most traffic laws state that the passing vehicle has the responisibility to pass you at a safe distance. If he was passing you, and made contact, he had the responsibility to maintain a safe distance, then the way I see it, he hit you.

I had a similar situation happen to me and when I told the cops what happened they threatened to cite ME for disorderly conduct for "striking" the car. If the same thing happened to me again, I'd report it that the car hit me as it went past.
Of course I'm not a lawyer and I don't know exactly what happened in your case, so your mileage may vary.
Good luck,
Jeff
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Old 05-16-08, 08:34 AM   #15
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let us know the follow up.
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Old 05-16-08, 08:46 AM   #16
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Once the police have cited the driver, and you are able to get his information, I would file a claim with his insurance company, even if it is minor, to make sure that his insurance company knows that he is dangerous.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:41 AM   #17
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Thank you everyone for the sound advice.

I will be showing up bright and early tomorrow morning at the public safety complex to file a report.
Excellent. Do it ASAP!!! every hour/day that goes by, will be that much more reason for someone to ask why did you wait X hours, X days etc to file a report. The longer the time, the more it looks like you're being sneaky or trying to file a false report.

Also, SEE A DOCTOR to make sure you're ok. Just because you feel well now doesn't mean you wont a week/a month/a year from now _due to_ injuries you didn't know about at this time. Then, who will pay your medical expenses _then_ ?

Also, I personally (I know others disagree with me) would also see a qualified attorney. Yea, it's $50 or whatever, but I'd rather _make sure_ everything that I'm doing will benefit me and not the other party. And police do not give legal advice.

Just my 2 c.
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Old 05-16-08, 09:50 AM   #18
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Cops sometimes get more motivated if you mention that an attorney will be involved...
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Old 05-16-08, 10:15 AM   #19
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Here's what I would do...

1) File a police report and get a copy of it.
2) Get his automobile insurance information and file a claim against him.
3) See a doctor and get checked out.
4) Consider retaining an attorney that specialized in bike claims
5) Replace your helmet.

I probably would have called in to work and said I'm not coming in or I'll be late, I was involved in an accident and have to deal with this now.

The number one person to consider is YOU. If the vehicle was damaged, it may be boderline repairable, but it would be evidence that it was involved in an accident. If it got fixed out of pocket, then the evidence is gone:n "No officer, I don't know what he's talking about, my car is fine, I was near that area but I wasn't involved in an accident...maybe it was a car that looked like mine." or it could go "No officer, I was there, are you sure you got the right car? I wasn't even driving that day, I was at (insert location at the other side of town) at that time." Don't delay. get it done.
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Old 05-16-08, 10:31 AM   #20
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Did you see the driver at all? Make sure you remember and write down now their description as best as you can. The vehicle owner can claim they were not driving at the time and are not required to identify who might have been.

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Old 05-16-08, 12:26 PM   #21
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You should see a doctor. I can't tell you how many patients I've seen who have been injured like this, but the pain didn't show up until a week later.
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Old 05-16-08, 12:43 PM   #22
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I'm wondering who is really at fault. There was no designated cycling lane. Heres's an alternative viewpoint:

The cyclist was passing cars on the right, riding on the shoulder, not the lane. I think this would be a similar situation to when a cyclist is passing cars on the right near and at an intersection, and a car makes a legal right hand turn and the cyclist T-bones the car. In that case, I believe the cyclist is at fault because it is not legal for any vehicle - including cyclist - to pass on the right at an intersection where right turns are legal.

The car, I believe, is not obliged to yield to any vehicle approaching from behind on the shoulder, because that passing vehicle is not operating legally. I also believe it is probably legal for the car to go around a left turning car by using part of the shoulder. At any rate, I doubt if it is any more illegal than the cyclist passing on the right in this situation.

In addition, it could very well be that the driver could not have seen the cyclist even if he/she exercised reasonable diligence in looking. If the cyclist is that close, it could have easily been in the blind spot. And reasonable diligence in this case would not necessarily require stopping and making sure nobody was passing on the right - because that is not a legal maneuver, and should not be expected.

Do cyclists have the right to pass cars on the right without exercising due care to avoid colliding with cars making legal maneuvers in front of them?

Regardless, based on my own personal experience riding for many years in traffic, this situation is entirely predictable and it is up to the cyclist to avoid it. If you're coming to an intersection passing cars on the shoulder you have to expect, and be prepared for legal right hand turns as well as normal traffic maneuvers such as cars encroaching on the shoulder to go around left turners. If a cyclist is using the shoulder to pass through an intersection it is totally up to him/her to avoid these things. I wouldn't be at all surprised if when all the facts come out, the cyclist is cited and/or asked to pay damages.

Just another way of looking at the situation. I am making no comment on the driver taking off. That's just plain wrong, no matter who's at fault.
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Old 05-16-08, 12:44 PM   #23
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Being the "striking vehicle" should not imply fault; the operator of the vehicle who failed to yield right-of-way should be the one at fault. Do not be afraid to pursue this because you or your bike struck the side of the motor vehicle.
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Old 05-16-08, 12:48 PM   #24
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Being the "striking vehicle" should not imply fault; the operator of the vehicle who failed to yield right-of-way should be the one at fault. Do not be afraid to pursue this because you or your bike struck the side of the motor vehicle.
I do not believe the cyclist had the right of way if he was passing cars at an intersection using the right hand shoulder.
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Old 05-16-08, 12:55 PM   #25
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I do not believe the cyclist had the right of way if he was passing cars at an intersection using the right hand shoulder.
Even if the driver wasn't at fault, you still have a hit and run. If they don't get a slap on the wrist, they will do it again.

I can't believe the op hasn't called the police.

(I have a special hate for hit and run drivers after a buddy lost his leg to some *$&#%# ##*& *#^# ####5%$ street racer).
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