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  1. #1
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    What should I have done after accident?

    Maybe this was covered before, but everyone has different accident stories. I just wanted to get your opinion on what I should have done after my accident.

    About a month ago, I was riding in Northern Jersey, two lane road with incoming traffic, no bike lane. Drivers were careful, giving me ample room while passing. On a downhill decent, I noticed an SUV stopped in the middle of the road, with about 4 or 5 cars behind him. (There wasn't any traffic lights or stop signs) I managed to pass these cars on the right hand side, but as soon as I approached the SUV, I realized he was letting a car on the opposing traffic lane make a left turn. It goes without saying, I ran into that car pretty hard. I didn't realize at the time, but my legs were banged up pretty bad (my shins scrapped into my pedals, big lacerations but didn't need stitches). However, my bike was fine. Anyways, I saw that I made a huge dent in the back panel of the car I hit, and got scared for some reason. My mind was racing at a million miles per hour, and I just wanted to leave, so I did.

    Now the question is, what should I have done? Should I have stayed and waited for the police, or ambulance? Should I have exchanged information with the guy driving the SUV and the car? Was it my fault? Any feedback is would be great. It would better prepare me to know what action to take if (God forbid) I get into another accident. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Guessing you also hit your head.
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  3. #3
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I don't know who's at fault legally. My first reaction would be to blame the SUV driver for illegally yielding right-of-way. You certainly had right of way over a left turning vehicle, as did the SUV. This sort of a scenario is exactly why it's a crazy stupid idea to give right of way out of turn.
    I personally would think that you're NOT at fault, but it's hard not to think that the police would have thought of some way to make it be your fault. Even if they did decide it was the left turning car's fault, my jaw would be completely on the floor if they actually wrote a ticket for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Guessing you also hit your head.
    Guessing you're also being sarcastic. No, I landed on my feet, and I was wearing a helmet. I was just freaked out at the time, and didn't know what to do. I've never been in an accident that bad...

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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Much of this issue depends on your local laws. Plus you have not given enough information to completely determine fault.

    One thing you absolutely did wrong, was leaving the scene without at least exchanging information.

    In most instances as you described, the left turning vehicle is responsible to yield to ALL oncoming traffic, including cyclist. BUT if you were using the shoulder to pass the stopped cars, and it is illegal for a cyclist to use the shoulder in your location, then you are also at fault.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    That driver made a blind and unsafe left turn, you panicked which is natural when you're suddenly "attacked" and in fight or flight mode.

    You should try to remain calm above everything else... just take 5 minutes... if you can at least stay a bit calm you will figure out what todo.

    The first step would have been to call emergency services or have a bystander do it if you can't.

  7. #7
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by animenamja View Post
    Guessing you're also being sarcastic. No, I landed on my feet, and I was wearing a helmet. I was just freaked out at the time, and didn't know what to do. I've never been in an accident that bad...
    Maybe he is, but if you get hit on the head you won't be thinking straight at the time... it is better to let somebody else do the thinking until you are back to normal.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    My first reaction would be to blame the SUV driver for illegally yielding right-of-way.
    Reference for such a law?

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    In most instances as you described, the left turning vehicle is responsible to yield to ALL oncoming traffic, including cyclist.
    Cyclists also have the responsibility to pass other vehicles safely. It seems that the OP was moving at a pretty-good clip. How would a turning car have seen the cyclist?

    ====================

    Quote Originally Posted by animenamja View Post
    It would better prepare me to know what action to take if (God forbid) I get into another accident. Thanks!
    It seems a risky practice to assume that it is safe to pass, as quick as you were maybe travelling, a bunch of cars stopped for no apparent reason. Be wary about moving into spaces you can't see into.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-18-10 at 03:54 PM.

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    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by animenamja View Post
    Guessing you're also being sarcastic. No, I landed on my feet, and I was wearing a helmet. I was just freaked out at the time, and didn't know what to do. I've never been in an accident that bad...
    I was with a rider that crashed. He remained in Blackout State for about 45 minutes.
    He does not remember anything during that time.
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  10. #10
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Cyclists also have the responsibility to pass other vehicles safely. It seems that the OP was moving at a pretty-good clip. How would a turning car have seen the cyclist?
    Cyclist did pass the stopped vehicles safely, the cyclist did not hit a single one of those stopped vehicles. It is the turning vehicles responsibility to ensure that it is safe to do so for each lane of traffic, including bike lanes and shoulders.

    Just because the SUV gave up his right of way, he did not give away any other persons right of way including the cyclist.


    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    It seems a risky practice to assume that it is safe to pass, as quick as you maybe were, a bunch of cars stopped for no apparent reason.
    Maybe, but not illegal as long as it was legal to either pass sharing the lane or riding on the shoulder. The line of cars could have been stopped waiting for the SUV to make a left turn.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Cyclist did pass the stopped vehicles safely, the cyclist did not hit a single one of those stopped vehicles.
    Why where they stopped? The stopped vehicles might be a red flag as to something going on. It appears she was travelling too fast to be able to see what was going on. The cyclist has a responsibility to look where they are going.

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    It is the turning vehicles responsibility to ensure that it is safe to do so for each lane of traffic, including bike lanes and shoulders.

    Just because the SUV gave up his right of way, he did not give away any other persons right of way including the cyclist.
    So, what? The cyclist can't control what other people do.

    The cyclist is in the best position to take action to keep themselves safe.

    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Maybe, but not illegal as long as it was legal to either pass sharing the lane or riding on the shoulder. The line of cars could have been stopped waiting for the SUV to make a left turn.
    Or a right turn. Or a pedestrian. Or...


    People here should be more interested in tactics to avoid collisions in the first place than discussing who is at fault after the fact.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-18-10 at 04:32 PM.

  12. #12
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Something more common with cars, one driver will see a lineup of cars and decide to pass on the left, only to t-bone somebody making a left hand turn(in a car always check your left blind spot when you are turning on a two lane road). Same with passing on the right. However since the car was coming from the opposite direction of travel, it is more clearly cut that the responsibility rests on the driver making the left todo so in a safe manner. Of course everybody should ride smart when they see a line-up of stopped cars... most accidents occur in situations where the difference in rates of travel are high. Perhaps OP should have been more cautious, but it is too late for that.

    Whomever gets the ticket and dinky fine may not matter much to you if you are seriously hurt.

    About it being illegal to yeild, that is untrue.. at least i've never heard of such a thing. In city traffic you should be polite and leave a gap so people can complete their turns. You would want somebody in the opposite lane todo that for your lane also. However, I have also seen an accident and lots of close calls with people making these blind turns through stopped traffic from a cross-street too aggressively. That is another thing to watch out for, some driver may just gun it straight across from a cross-street and you won't see him until he is barreling right at you. So remember when you move at speed with traffic you are generally safer... that includes when traffic has stopped.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    EVERYONE must learn this hard lesson:

    when traffic is stopped and you don't know why ... DO NOT PASS!!!!!

    ... because there IS a reason! even if the reason is not immediately apparent

    that's all I have to contribute, glad you survived. :-)
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  14. #14
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    Does NJ allow passing on the right in the same lane? In IL the only time passing on the right in the same lane is allowed is if the lane is wide enough and the vehicle being passed is making a left turn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    EVERYONE must learn this hard lesson:

    when traffic is stopped and you don't know why ... DO NOT PASS!!!!!

    ... because there IS a reason! even if the reason is not immediately apparent

    that's all I have to contribute, glad you survived. :-)
    Thanks, I'm still alive and well. But yes, I made the bad mistake of assuming the SUV was making a left turn, only to find that he was giving up his right of way to let that other car pass through. Suppose I did stay at the scene and waited for the police, I might have argued that the SUV should not have stopped. But then again, who's to say he would have stuck around and told his side of the story. The guy I hit was the one who got out of his car and seemed very nervous and concerned. The guy in the SUV simply asked if everything was alright and nonchalantly drove away. Maybe he knew he was in the wrong?

  16. #16
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    Recovering from a recent Right Hook Accident. Always lie down (even though the adrenline says "I'm OK!" Wait for the police and see a lawyer if the driver was at fault/ticketed.

    In my case, the car passed me and then turned right into me. I felt fine until 10mins later and then crash and burn. Could not sit up, stand or walk. No blood --Major internal injuries. The driver tried to leave, but witnesses retained her and I said I wanted the the cops and an ambulance.

    Driver's don't seem to understand the magnitude of hitting a ped or person on a bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by animenamja View Post
    The guy in the SUV simply asked if everything was alright and nonchalantly drove away. Maybe he knew he was in the wrong?

  17. #17
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    Not going to point fingers or try to assign blame/fault, I'm just going to say this:

    I'm a bit paranoid, so I will NOT pass a mass stoppage of vehicles without knowing why they're stopped. I take too long to heal.... (sprained/cracked the L ankle last Dec 9, and it still gives me trouble in the mornings.)

  18. #18
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Reference for such a law?
    I don't know if there is a law that forbids giving up your right of way, probably not. But the other thing that he did, stopping in the middle of the street for no good reason, I can easily believe may be interpreted by the police as illegal. Obstructing traffic or something.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Imagine the same scenario, but if the OP had been driving a car. He was coming down hill, saw some cars in his lane stopped behind an SUV which he assumed was making a left turn (apparently without signaling) so he went around them on the right. There he collided with a vehicle making a left turn, which he did not see before; evidently he was going too fast to stop once he saw the turning car. And *he hit the car,* not the other way around.

    How many here would be leaping to his defense?
    Last edited by Chicago Al; 04-18-10 at 08:08 PM.
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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by animenamja View Post
    The guy I hit was the one who got out of his car and seemed very nervous and concerned. The guy in the SUV simply asked if everything was alright and nonchalantly drove away. Maybe he knew he was in the wrong?
    Most of them(witnesses) will just as soon leave you on the side of the road, too much trouble when then can simply leave and forget about it.

    <crash>
    "Hey, you ok buddy?"
    <no answer>
    "Gotta go, I have a flight to catch"

    You have to stand up for yourself and make sure police, ambulance and witnesses do the right things, if it turns out you get a ticket or have to scream at somebody so ****in' what. Don't let apathetic and lazy ******** run you down and not say a word. It's your ass on the line and they know it. If you don't demand satisfaction nobody else going to give it to you, they'll just treat you like some stray dog.

  21. #21
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    Imagine the same scenario, but if the OP had been driving a car. He was coming down hill, saw some cars in his lane stopped behind an SUV which he assumed was making a left turn (apparently without signaling) so he went around them on the right. There he collided with a vehicle making a left turn, which he did not see before; evidently he was going too fast to stop once he saw the turning car. And *he hit the car,* not the other way around.

    How many here would be leaping to his defense?
    Cars aren't bicycles.. but to answer the question about lane splitting

    Everybody in:

    Austria
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    Would blame the driver for making a blind and unsafe left turn. I'm pretty sure the driver would have been charged if OP hung around, an unsafe turn is an unsafe turn... no matter what lane position the bicycle was in.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    It wasn't a blind turn. There were just two lanes, the oncoming traffic led by the SUV had stopped to allow the turn. Why? Maybe there was a long line of traffic and the SUV driver stopped to let the turn happen...some might even call that courtesy, surprising as that might be from an SUV driver.

    The cyclist either came down the shoulder, or swerved around the stopped SUV. It's the cyclist who was 'flying blind' and hit the turning car. He says as much in his second paragraph.

    I will really be interested if anyone can justify a car, or even a motorcycle, making this move.

    And if we can agree that a car or motorcycle swerving around the stopped traffic is in the wrong, why is it different for a bike?
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  23. #23
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Al View Post
    It wasn't a blind turn. There were just two lanes, the oncoming traffic led by the SUV had stopped to allow the turn. Why? Maybe there was a long line of traffic and the SUV driver stopped to let the turn happen...some might even call that courtesy, surprising as that might be from an SUV driver.

    The cyclist either came down the shoulder, or swerved around the stopped SUV. It's the cyclist who was 'flying blind' and hit the turning car. He says as much in his second paragraph.

    I will really be interested if anyone can justify a car, or even a motorcycle, making this move.

    And if we can agree that a car or motorcycle swerving around the stopped traffic is in the wrong, why is it different for a bike?
    Naw, when driving you don't turn left if you can't see where you're turning into unless you're feeling lucky. OP was travelling in the lane beside a row of stopped cars. If he was cycling blind he had a blindfold on and didn't tell us because he could see clearly down the lane he was travelling in. Now, was he going too fast? probably.

    I'm not going to debate why a bicycle isn't a car. Your metaphor just confuses the issue. Nobody going straight in the lane has to justify anything, what needs to be justified is why the driver turned when he could not see traffic in the lane he was turning into.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    btw, Electrik, you neglected to include something from the Wikipedia entry you copied:

    >>Another consideration is that lane splitting in the USA, even where legal, can possibly leave the rider legally responsible, as "Even in California, it is legal only if done safely. And 'safely' is always very much a judgment call. The mere fact that an accident happened while a rider was lane splitting is very strong evidence that on that occasion it wasn't safe to do so...If you've been involved in an accident you will have a hard job convincing an insurance adjuster that the accident was not completely your fault."<<
    Last edited by Chicago Al; 04-18-10 at 09:58 PM.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Also just had to note the irony in this quote:

    The guy in the SUV simply asked if everything was alright and nonchalantly drove away. Maybe he knew he was in the wrong?
    This coming from the cyclist who...

    saw that I made a huge dent in the back panel of the car I hit, and got scared for some reason. My mind was racing at a million miles per hour, and I just wanted to leave, so I did.
    I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.

    - Dr Samuel Johnson

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