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Old 04-26-10, 02:50 PM   #1
toobspunk
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My Accident

Yesterday was my first cycling accident. If anybody has any suggestions on what to do, please let me know. It went something like this.
It was 6:45 PM, still light out. Despite being light, I still ride with all my lights on. 3 rear and 1 front. I also wear a helmet.
I had just started my ride in the city of Orange. I was going through a traffic circle. The SUV that hit me was behind me when entering the roundabout at the yield. I proceeded into the roundabout, the car then passed me on the right, cut immediately in front of me and stopped for the traffic. When she cut in front of me and stopped, I had no time to even react and slammed into the left rear of her SUV. The girl was 18 and had no idea what was going on. I was able to eventually get her to pull over, but she refused to give me any insurance information because her dad was a police officer. I called the police. Long story short, she let the officer know her dad was a police officer. The police told me I should not be riding a bike in the street, to which I replied that the law states I have to. Their response was that it depends, and it did not get better from there when I pulled out my little booklet with all of the laws relating to cyclists. They filled out an accident report but would not fill out a police report. When leaving the officer took the girl aside and told her to have the girls dad call him and he will tell him whatever he wants him to.

What do I do?

I talked to a couple lawyers, but I refused medical treatment, and they all are into bicyclist cases with personal injury.
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Old 04-26-10, 02:59 PM   #2
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Was there damage to the bike or car?

The girl is probably going to be helped along by the Police Office father and his friends in blue. Bottom line is that if there are no injuries or damage there is not much you can do. Move on with life, and at least you can be pretty sure she will watch for riders in the future just to avoid the hassle.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:06 PM   #3
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Damage to my bike. Sorry, that was the whole point of the thread. I realize nothing will happen to me, but what can be done about my damaged bicycle?
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Old 04-26-10, 03:07 PM   #4
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Was there damage to the bike or car?

The girl is probably going to be helped along by the Police Office father and his friends in blue. Bottom line is that if there are no injuries or damage there is not much you can do. Move on with life, and at least you can be pretty sure she will watch for riders in the future just to avoid the hassle.
If you and the bike are okay, I'd let it go. Your experience show what can also happen if you upset the police in your area, not that you know that they are less than honest. This incident should also get you off serving on criminal juries, since you can now tell the judge that you know that police officers lie.

Get a copy of the accident report and see if it shows the correct description of the accident. Use that to file a claim with her insurance company.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:07 PM   #5
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"My Documents."
"My Music."
"My World."
"MySpace."
"My Accident."

How come everything has taken on this possessive phenomenon?

-Kurt
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Old 04-26-10, 03:09 PM   #6
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Were you injured? Refusing medical treatment at the scene doesn't mean you weren't hurt ... people are often in shock after an injury, and don't realize yet that they're hurt. So don't think you've given up any rights with that one decision. Although it sounds like the officers who arrived on the scene doctored things up.

Was there a witness?
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Old 04-26-10, 03:11 PM   #7
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Yes. There were 2 local cyclists having coffee right in front of where it happened. They saw me coming in to the roundabout and witnessed the whole thing.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:15 PM   #8
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Talk to a lawyer. I assume you have those two cyclists' contact information.

You'll probably wind up suing the girl's insurance for the cost to fix or replace your bike, plus legal fees. The fact that there's an incident report is good, and if you have witnesses to the accident, you have a good shot.

I bet your lawyer stresses that it was two neighborhood residents drinking coffee who saw you. Because, you know, cyclists stick together and lie for one another...
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Old 04-26-10, 03:18 PM   #9
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Talk to a lawyer. I assume you have those two cyclists' contact information.

I bet your lawyer stresses that it was two neighborhood residents drinking coffee who saw you. Because, you know, cyclists stick together and lie for one another...

Funny that you say that. One of the cyclists said the same thing, that we stick together when the police officer told him to leave. He pointed out to the officer that its the same camaraderie that they have amongst themselves in the force.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:18 PM   #10
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What would be interesting is if the cyclist was one of the few that have a video and audio recording of riding. The cops and the daughter might not like the results of listening to what you heard, in court, or on the TV news if you got screwed.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:21 PM   #11
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You have already been tried and found guilty of riding a bicycle.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:28 PM   #12
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What would be interesting is if the cyclist was one of the few that have a video and audio recording of riding. The cops and the daughter might not like the results of listening to what you heard, in court, or on the TV news if you got screwed.
Most of the time I carry a tape recorder on me for specific reasons like this. One of the few times I leave it at home.

@gitarzan- Understood and agreed. The police around here are less than friendly with cyclists. Once was pulled over in the middle of the night for riding in the street. Officer proceeded to cuss us out and tell us its illegal to be in the street. But she never got out of her car, and after 2 minutes of us not even knowing what to say, she just drove off.
But their favorite thing to do is get behind us and flip their emergency horn and then gun it past us, happens about once a week.
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Old 04-26-10, 03:33 PM   #13
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Bike damage is probably too low cost to be worth involving a lawyer. Send a polite letter including a written repair estimate, copy of the accident report, and written witness statements to the driver and cc the parent. If they refuse to help then take the driver to small claims court if you're willing to risk the court costs. If the amount you are asking for is less than what it would cost them to hire a lawyer, they may settle.
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Old 04-26-10, 05:45 PM   #14
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Well, it's too late now to pull out the Desert Eagle .44 and start blasting, so talk to the press. Somebody on-air would just HAVE TO love a story about police misconduct.
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Old 04-27-10, 06:04 AM   #15
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Were any citations issued? As I read your account, it looks like you hit her after she had already illegally passed you, not while she was doing it. Am I reading this correctly?
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Old 04-27-10, 06:24 AM   #16
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Was there damage to the bike or car?

The girl is probably going to be helped along by the Police Office father and his friends in blue. Bottom line is that if there are no injuries or damage there is not much you can do. Move on with life, and at least you can be pretty sure she will watch for riders in the future just to avoid the hassle.
What hassle? I think the lesson she learned here is that she can get away with stuff like this because her daddy is a cop.
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Old 04-27-10, 06:25 AM   #17
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"My Documents."
"My Music."
"My World."
"MySpace."
"My Accident."

How come everything has taken on this possessive phenomenon?

-Kurt
Well, in this case, because this indeed was his accident.
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Old 04-27-10, 08:46 AM   #18
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See if you can get your local bicycle advocacy group involved.
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Old 04-27-10, 09:11 AM   #19
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If I were told I was not supposed to be on the street, I'd ask them to please cite the statute that said that. And be ready to hand them the copy of all the rules of the road for bicycles. If bicycles aren't supposed to be on the road, why would there be entire sections of the traffic code dealing with bicycles on the road?
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Old 04-27-10, 11:23 AM   #20
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+1 local radio coverage. Even if they aren't pro-cyclist, they'll be interested in hearing how police officers can get their family out of trouble.
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Old 04-27-10, 12:31 PM   #21
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Toobspunk, what state are you in?

"When leaving the officer took the girl aside and told her to have the girls dad call him and he will tell him whatever he wants him to."

This sounds like the officer is conspiring to falsify a police report or his future testimony. I would file a complaint with IAD or whatever equivalent they have. Do you think a letter to the Mayor with a copy to the local paper would help?
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Old 04-27-10, 02:26 PM   #22
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... when the police officer told him to leave.
The witness was willing to give his testimony and the officer told him to go away. How nice.

Unless serious injury or death are involved, the contingency personal injury lawyers probably won't be too interested. If the driver refuses to provide insurance information, you might have to go after her through small claims.
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Old 04-27-10, 03:24 PM   #23
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If this was a busy intersection with coffee shops etc. I'd go back to the location and see if there are any video cameras on buildings/traffic video cams, anything, there could be a video record of the accident. I would definitely contact the girl's insurance company and let them know you wish to be compensated for the accident. I'd get the bike to a reputable LBS and get an assessment of damages and the value of your bike.

And, as others have asked, where are you? State? Province? City of Orange doesn't help us much- CA?
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Old 04-27-10, 04:53 PM   #24
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I was going through a traffic circle. The SUV that hit me was behind me when entering the roundabout at the yield. I proceeded into the roundabout, the car then passed me on the right, cut immediately in front of me and stopped for the traffic. When she cut in front of me and stopped, I had no time to even react and slammed into the left rear of her SUV.
Everything here is a he-said / she-said situation except for the facts which are that you ran into the back of her vehicle. If you hit someone from behind, you are almost always at fault unless there were other witnesses or video to corroborate other details (she was driving erratically, etc.). If you can find a witness or video then you may have a case. Otherwise I think you are screwed, especially given the police connection.
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Old 04-27-10, 05:57 PM   #25
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If this was a busy intersection with coffee shops etc. I'd go back to the location and see if there are any video cameras on buildings/traffic video cams, anything, there could be a video record of the accident. I would definitely contact the girl's insurance company and let them know you wish to be compensated for the accident. I'd get the bike to a reputable LBS and get an assessment of damages and the value of your bike.

And, as others have asked, where are you? State? Province? City of Orange doesn't help us much- CA?
I am almost certain that the original poster is referring to Orange, California. There is a big traffic circle in the middle of the city and the police, as the poster has alluded to, are not very bike friendly.
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