Advocacy & Safety - Hit by a car. Now what?
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I was hit by a car last night.
It wasn't too bad. At first, I thought I just bruised my hand. The old lady that hit me was kind enough to make sure I was OK.
Since there was no big trouble, I let it go and just asked her to be careful for bicyclists in the future.
At the same time, I made note of her license plate number.
Then, after she took off, and I tried to ride away, I noticed that my handlebar stem was broken in half.
I think she should pay for the new stem. That's all I want. I don't think this needs to be a big deal or make her get a ticket.
What do I do now? Do I call the cops and make a report? How do I find out who the driver was in order to ask for compensation?
1st off, it's good to hear you're ok...if I were in your situation, I'd contact the police to explain the situation, they should be able to find the address of the lady, and maybe put you in contact with her.
I think you're right, she should pay for the stem, and if she's nice enough, she will.
Good luck and keep us posted.
06-13-01, 07:28 AM
I was hit by a very nice driver, but I made sure he paid in full for the damage he caused to my bike and clothing. The £600 bill was a shock to him, but it does bring home the point that actions have consequences.
You should charge for a new stem AND handlebar, and get your bike checked by a good bikeshop for any other damage, such as bent cranks or pedals. Any crash-damaged component can fail at a later date , and cause you to crash again.
If it happened to me I think I would not try to locate the lady: she was elderly, she expressed concern, she is probably upset about the accident--and also I believe I would feel that I should have looked at the bike while she was standing there to see if there was damage.
But it didn't happen to me! I hope your hand will be OK. Sometimes injuries like that get worse in a day or two....
06-13-01, 07:32 AM
You are the greatest. I'm really sorry this happened.
I was always told to report an accident immediately and don't admit guilt, even in casual conversation. It's easy to get into that, "I'm sorry, it's my fault" thing, but it's best to have the accident investigated immediately and determine who's at fault.
If you think it's her fault, and can prove it (or she will admit it,) her insurance will pay for your handlebars, I think. The sooner you make the call, the better.
06-13-01, 08:36 AM
Odds are the stem and bars are going to cost less than her insurance deductible. Also her insurance will go through the roof. So she will likely cooperate.
If you know a policeman friend, he can easily look up the license number and give you a name, address, phone#.
Put some ice on the hand. I'm glad you're okay.
06-13-01, 09:40 PM
Glad to hear you're OK, Mike. That can be pretty traumatic even if you're not seriously hurt.
Life's full of these ethical questions isn't it?
I think she should pay for the bars, but I guess you have to ask yourself if getting your bars paid for is worth the hassle you're going to go through.
Well, I can get the owner information from the Department of Transportation for a fee. A police friend of mine may provide it for me as well.
I figure that the new stem will cost about $35 to $50 including shipping (It was a good stem).
So, I get the phone number, call the old lady up. Explain the situation, and see what happens. For $50 and the satisfaction of knowing that she might be a more bike/pedestrian conscious driver in the future; it's worth it.
She might say, "Go to H-E-double toothpicks".
Stay tuned for an update.
Hang in there, Mike. I think you're handling it the right way. It's not naive to think that people will behave the way that you expect them to. She's probably someone's mom.
Mike - did anything come of this?
Here is the update:
I did get the driver's address. I sent her a letter asking her to pay for the damage and gave her an exact damabe estimate of, I think, something like $46.36. I suggested that since this was a small amount, we could handle it best and least expensively out of court.
That was about three weeks ago.
I have not heard back from her yet.
Perhaps send a friendly reminder, registered mail so you are sure she signs and receives it.
07-08-01, 09:50 PM
I was recently hit. (7/6) The police made a report and the bill for the bike repair will be at least $550. It also cost me a trip to the ER.
I won't be riding for a few weeks due to the bruised ribs but would like to hear the experience of others working through the insurance/settlement mess to come.
Any help will be appreciated.
Very sorry to hear about your accident, air5head. Just glad you weren't even more seriously hurt....
I don't have any experience with what you're requesting, but I know there are others here who will supply helpful information.
Stick around, and enjoy the forums when those happier days return and you're back on your bike!
Please consider three points:
1) Many motorists do not exercise proper care and attention while driving. Perhaps it will take "points" on their driving records, increased insurance rates, etc. to modify this behaviour.
2) Whenever anyone is injured or property damage exceeds $500, California law requires all parties in a traffic incident to file "accident reports" promptly with the Department of Motor Vehicles. I assume the law is similar in most other states and developed nations.
3) At least in most of the U.S., it is absurdly easy to obtain and to retain a driver's license. As a result, the average level of motorist competency is too low, and the highway carnage rate is too high.
Take a stand for your rights and safety as a citizen and lawful user of the public roadways. If you are ever injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and you honestly believe that the motorist was at fault, PLEASE report the incident to the appropriate authorities. You may save another cyclist's (or pedestrian's or motorist's) life.
Sorry for the rant, but the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition just lost a good friend and fellow cyclist to a careless motorist who inattentively "drifted" into the bike lane.
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