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  1. #1
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    Got hit this morning.

    I'm still pretty new to cycling, although I've spent many years doing various forms of exercising and training. Running, racing motocross, backpacking, etc. This morning I decided to commute the 15 miles to work on my bike. About 1/2 way there I got clipped by a girl in a black chevy cobalt. Her passenger mirror hit my left hand and cut it very badly and my knee got banged up. She turned around and rode me to the emergency room where I got about 14 stitches ( I haven't counted them yet) in my wrist. Luckily I wasn't severely injured, but I still can't believe it happened. I was going with the flow of traffic and was glued to the white line, she just never saw me. It was a well traveled road with a 55 mph speed limit. I figure she was going 60 when she hit me.

    The police said that bicycles do not have the right of way and that I would have to handle the insurance company myself. Anybody got any suggestions?

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Was there a bike lane involved?

    I love that comment by the police... at some point you were in front of the motorist, at that point you had Right of Way. Perhaps the officer should get a clue.

  3. #3
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Was a report made? If not you still can have one made and should. Contact her insurance company asap. Oh, and heal up good.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  4. #4
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcross312 View Post
    I was going with the flow of traffic and was glued to the white line, she just never saw me.
    What state are you in? In most states, bicycles do have the right to ride on the road. However, you were in probably the most dangerous spot. Even if you weren't allowed out there as the cop said, the driver should have at least gotten a ticket for an unsafe pass.

    If you're going to get into the traffic lane, you need to get in far enough that traffic has to change lanes to go around you. If you give them room to pass without changing lanes, well, you found out what happens. The other alternative is to go well onto the shoulder, but that can be worse because inattentive drivers sometimes wander onto the shoulder, too. If you're squarely in the traffic lane (at least as far as the right tire track), you are squarely in the field of vision of drivers and they know they have to deal with you. When you're all the way to the right, they pretty much ignore you.

    Also, you need to make yourself as visible as possible. If you didn't have a red flashing tail light (like a Planet Bike Super Flash), even in daylight, you probably should get one for future riding. If you want a good education on how to ride a bike in traffic, check out CommuteOrlando. They have lots of great information there including videos and animations to show how a bike should ride in traffic.

    Glad you weren't hurt worse.
    Last edited by Doohickie; 11-10-10 at 03:34 PM.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes, there was a report made that stated that I was riding along the white line when I got struck from behind by the car. There wasn't a bike lane and the white line was the edge of the pavement. I still can't believe that they wrote it up as no fault. If you get hit from behind its their fault, unless you are on a bike? That's pretty dumb to me. Also, their was no car coming in the other direction so she had two full lanes to pass me in, instead she rode the white line and nearly ran me over. Probably texting or playing with the radio.

    Not trying to but the road was as flat as a pancake and the sun was out at about 10:30 this morning so their was no glare or anything to worry about. Simply a case of a driver that wasn't paying attention. Unfortunately for me I shouldn't have gotten in the cars way.

  6. #6
    Senior Member trek2.3bike's Avatar
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    The thugs in blue recruit largely from former high school bullies. Never expect them to know the law, understand the law they do "know", or apply it with common sense.

    You don't know how badly your wrist will heal. Contact a personal injury lawyer ASAP before you say anything more to her insurance company (who wants any reason not to pay) or on this BBS (her insurance company can find your words and use them to deny you damages).

    See the lawyer first thing TOMORROW morning. Don't wait. BTW, as the vehicle (a bicycle IS a vehicle with the same right as any other) in front YOU had the right of way. The burden was on her to safely overtake you. So, she is at fault. That's why you need a local personal injury lawyer's advice ASAP.

    IAAL
    Last edited by trek2.3bike; 11-10-10 at 04:39 PM.

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    Thanks, I think I'll take your advice.

    BTW, this happened in Donalsonville, GA, where I live. I was told that it is a "courtesy" for cars to move over for cyclist according to GA law. Which means they can run over you if you're in the way and they're perfectly inside the law.

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcross312 View Post
    Thanks, I think I'll take your advice.

    BTW, this happened in Donalsonville, GA, where I live. I was told that it is a "courtesy" for cars to move over for cyclist according to GA law. Which means they can run over you if you're in the way and they're perfectly inside the law.
    I would certainly check GA law and find out.

    This site seems to indicate that cyclists sure got the short end of the straw in GA... http://www.bicyclegeorgia.com/galaw.html

    I don't see any declaration in GA law (as posted in link above) that grants cyclists the rights of other vehicle users in the state of GA... this seems to be something of a shortcoming in Georgia.

  9. #9
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    My son just moved to At;lanta from the bay area and seems baffled by the road arteries there. You almost have to ride on highways to get anywhere. He 's joined some group rides to try to find shortcuts and mostly rides his cyclecross because of the options of road or no shoulder. At 55mph, I really think the "share the road" idea is out the window. You need some kind of shoulder.

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    Doohickie is right. Take the lane. You are allowed to take the lane in GA and it is the only way to avoid these sort of "accidents". Let the carcissists honk, curse and wave their hands (usually with one finger extended indicating that they think you're number one), but do take the lane.

    40-6-294.
    (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when ...the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle...

    If there is no shoulder and the lane is too narrow for a hummer to safely pass you while fully in the lane, put yourself just to the left of the right tire track and ride on.

    Good luck getting the responsible party to pay. I hope you heal well and quickly.

  11. #11
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    Doohickie is right. Take the lane. You are allowed to take the lane in GA and it is the only way to avoid these sort of "accidents". Let the carcissists honk, curse and wave their hands (usually with one finger extended indicating that they think you're number one), but do take the lane.

    40-6-294.
    (a) Every person operating a bicycle upon a roadway shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except when ...the lane is too narrow to share safely with a motor vehicle...

    If there is no shoulder and the lane is too narrow for a hummer to safely pass you while fully in the lane, put yourself just to the left of the right tire track and ride on.

    Good luck getting the responsible party to pay. I hope you heal well and quickly.
    Yeah that "take the lane" stuff works so well at freeways speeds... NOT

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    This site seems to indicate that cyclists sure got the short end of the straw in GA... http://www.bicyclegeorgia.com/galaw.html

    I don't see any declaration in GA law (as posted in link above) that grants cyclists the rights of other vehicle users in the state of GA... this seems to be something of a shortcoming in Georgia.
    Don't really see a problem with the Georgia statutes although the responding officer certainly seems to have had an odd interpretation of them. By the link above, all of the statutes that apply to "vehicles" also apply to bicycles with the exception of the few specific penalties cited there. That grants bicyclists the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicle operators - again with a few specific exceptions.

    As to the collision of the OP, that occurred while the motorist was passing and therefore the following statute applies:
    "§ 40-6-42. Overtaking and passing generally


    The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions, and special rules stated in this article:

    (1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle; and

    (2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle."

    Seems clear that the motorist did not obey the part about "pass to the left thereof at a safe distance."

  13. #13
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    I think I may start riding into the flow of traffic. I definitely don't want to get hit again. If she would have been a few more inches to the right, I would have caught her front bumper and the outcome would have been much worse. I would also like to add that it completely broke off her passenger mirror. It was laying in the ditch beside me. It was strange to see my blood splattered on her window as she was taking me to the emergency room.
    Last edited by Jcross312; 11-10-10 at 06:47 PM.

  14. #14
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    Prath, Thanks for pointing out the applicable law. I hope you are correct as you should be. I have a feeling I'm about to learn all about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    Yeah that "take the lane" stuff works so well at freeways speeds... NOT
    So, you ride in the ditch? Hugging the white line is a recipe for serious injury or worse; I gave that up in the early '70s. I do what I can to avoid shoulderless, two-lane highways, but sometimes there is just no other way from A to B. The only way I have found to deal with these types of roadways is to ride as fast as I can, take the road and look for safe places to allow for passing by the car-bound. I would like to hear your solution. I may be an old dog, but I think I can learn a new trick or two.

  16. #16
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    So, you ride in the ditch? Hugging the white line is a recipe for serious injury or worse; I gave that up in the early '70s. I do what I can to avoid shoulderless, two-lane highways, but sometimes there is just no other way from A to B. The only way I have found to deal with these types of roadways is to ride as fast as I can, take the road and look for safe places to allow for passing by the car-bound. I would like to hear your solution. I may be an old dog, but I think I can learn a new trick or two.
    Nope my solution is the same as your's... avoid them if at all possible. 90% of the time I find that there is usable shoulder... more than just a white line... And I am quite willing to use shoulders... unlike some cyclists. But when such a shoulder does not exist, I do take the lane... there is no other option. However, when doing so I also understand that I am riding directly in harms way... In front of distracted, sleepy and even errant, motorists.

    Years and years ago it didn't bother me much... but then the national speed limit was 55MPH, and distracting cell phones (DVD players, GPSs, MP3 players, or even cupholders) did not exist. These days, in spite of being a very experienced vehicular cyclist, and taking the lane, I find that I experience far more close calls than I like... or had experienced in years past (even when touring on narrow isolated country roads.)

    And yeah I do ride in the ditch... I purchased my first off road bike 2 years ago... in an effort to stay off of crowded 55MPH arterial roads with idiot motorists.

    As a general rule however I don't believe Take the Lane is an adequate "solution" for cyclists on high speed roads.

    Sorry this old dog doesn't have any keen new tricks either.
    Last edited by genec; 11-10-10 at 07:20 PM.

  17. #17
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    Like Genec said-there just isn't any safe way to ride on a 55 mph road.
    Riding as far right as possible on the shoulder is your best bet
    No shoulder?? Ride in the ditch or on the turf.
    Can't do the above, then as far right as possible in the lane is an option, but wtih cell phones,I-pods and other electronic crap-well, ask the OP.
    Take the lane-same problem as above- you are counting on electronically distracted drivers doing 60 mph to not run you over.

    The taking a lane stuff is ok in cities with 35 mph limits and lots of bike traffic, but it just is too dangerous on 55 mph highways.

    You can split the difference-get a MTB-and be prepared to bail to the right if you hear a vehicle preparing a too close pass. This relies and having suitable tires, and excellent hearing-and relatively low traffic levels.

    -take the ditch, or make your own shoulder is the order of the day on 55 mph roads.

  18. #18
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    Contact Georgia Bikes and have them at least contact the police department involved.
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    I'm really not sure the take the lane advice would have worked. First of all, I'm 6' tall on a mountain bike. Second, the road was completely empty when the incident happened, no other cars and as flat as a board. How could they not have seen me?

    It reminds me of a year or so ago a woman plowed into a cattle trailer that had stopped in the road waiting to turn. It killed her instantly. She never even hit the brakes.

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    jcross- cell phone/texting and other electronic crap is why you got hit(probably).
    It is just too dangerous to be in a lane on a 15 mph vehicle when the speed limit is 55 mph.
    The main reason is distracted drivers. They literally will look down for 5 seconds(450 feet) at a time while they are overtaking you at 70 feet per second.

    The take the lane stuff is fine in cities, but not so good on 55-60 mph highways. The lower the traffic the more these drivers think they can safely text, talk, fool with IPOD radio whatever.

  21. #21
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Jcross312;11767259... I got clipped by a girl in a black chevy cobalt. ... she just never saw me. [/QUOTE]

    Have the police subpoena her phone and texting records. Since visibility was good, she must not have been looking where she was going.

  22. #22
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Avoid this section if you prefer, but taking the lane does work, even on high speed roads. The key is to make it blatantly clear to the motorist as early as possible that there is no way for them to squeeze by you in the same lane. The best way to do this is by getting all the way out there in the middle of the lane. Hi vis clothing and a bright flashing tail light also help a lot.

    Even texters have to look up every few seconds or they couldn’t stay on the road for long. Seeing a cyclist smack in their path WILL jolt them back to the task of driving... seeing a cyclist on the narrow shoulder (where you were clipped) is less likely to do so.

    Get used to using a mirror and monitoring overtaking traffic. You will see driver after driver react to your presence. If someone doesn’t, you will be prepared to bail. 5 years of this and I still never had to.

    It reminds me of a year or so ago a woman plowed into a cattle trailer that had stopped in the road waiting to turn. It killed her instantly. She never even hit the brakes.
    Not comparable. At casual glance a stopped cattle trailer looks like any other motor vehicle traveling the speed limit even though it's not moving at all. No one seeing a cyclist will assume they are traveling 50 mph. But since they are actually moving 15-20 MPH this lengthens the closing time between vehicles, giving more time for the driver to react.
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  23. #23
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    Get used to using a mirror and monitoring overtaking traffic. You will see driver after driver react to your presence. If someone doesn’t, you will be prepared to bail. 5 years of this and I still never had to.
    Bingo.

    If you take the lane while using a mirror, it's easy to monitor overtaking traffic, especially at times like this where there is no other traffic. The only time I actually had to use that maneuvering space to my right was when someone actually attempted to door me with their passenger side door. I noticed in my mirror they were moving further right (towards me), and so I moved right. Had I not had that space, and had I not been able to see them moving towards me, I'd have been nailed. Other than that, I've never once had to "bail" to avoid being hit (though I will often move to the right as they begin their pass to help facilitate things, and as a sign of good faith, of sorts - additionally you can move a little right if you feel their passing too close).

    I think it's very important at times like this to leave maneuvering space to your right, and monitor traffic behind you. It can work, even on high speed highways. Not optimal, obviously... but if it's unavoidable, it can be done, providing you give yourself an out and a way to monitor to know when you need to utilize it.
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

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  24. #24
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    http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/docs/...ementguide.pdf

    I found this which clearly states that a bicycle is a vehicle and should be treated as one. I've got my lawyer working now to help educate the sheriff that wrote up the ticket as "no fault"




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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcross312 View Post
    I think I may start riding into the flow of traffic. I definitely don't want to get hit again.
    Riding against the flow of traffic will drastically increase your chances of being hit by a motor vehicle. Give this a read: http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/index.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcross312 View Post
    I'm really not sure the take the lane advice would have worked. First of all, I'm 6' tall on a mountain bike. Second, the road was completely empty when the incident happened, no other cars and as flat as a board. How could they not have seen me?

    It reminds me of a year or so ago a woman plowed into a cattle trailer that had stopped in the road waiting to turn. It killed her instantly. She never even hit the brakes.
    In all likelihood, she did see you. You just got filed into that part of her brain filled with unimportant stuff she could ignore. You want to be in the "things that require immediate action" part of her brain. Riding well into the lane will get you noticed and make it clear that overtaking drivers will have to go around you. If you want to see what it looks like from a driver's point of view, watch the video here: http://commuteorlando.com/wordpress/...n-highway-535/
    A person on a bike has one really good advantage over stopped vehicles when it comes to getting rear ended. Bikes are recognizable nearly instantly as something going slow. A distracted driver glancing up at the road every few seconds will not notice that they are overtaking a motor vehicle until they are almost on top of it.

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