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  1. #1
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    It Is Said There Are Two Kinds Of Cyclists...

    Those who have crashed, and those that will.

    I just joined the former last Thursday night on the way home. On a bicycle detour path that had been delineated with sections of chain link fencing, one of the construction workers thought he needed a path, so he made a gate by moving sections inward, blocking the path around a corner. When I came around, I hit that head on, pretty hard.

    A few things came out of this encounter.

    First, I didn't die. That is a good thing from my perspective. I am sore in all kinds of places, most significantly my right hand that is very bruised and has a substantial hematoma, my left shoulder which has a huge and deep bruise as well as being partially separated, and a large gash in my chin where it hit one of the chain links. I have lots of other minor cuts and bruises as well.

    In spite of all the injuries, here is something I didn't get. Significant head injury. What I do have is a helmet with a criss-cross pattern cut into it where the main impact took place as I flew over the handlebars. That impact would have been absorbed by my head if I wasn't wearing the helmet. So, I know there are fans and detractors. I will never know if it saved my life or not, but I definitely know it spared me significant additional injury.

    My commuter bike is a total write off. There are some salvageable components, but it is old enough they won't be usable on anything new I get to replace it. The obvious damage is to the front-end where the wheel and fork are just completely mangled. Other damage includes enough of a frame flex to yield almost a five inch sag on the chain, though at a glance you wouldn't see anything obviously wrong with the frame.

    I spent a few hours in the ER, getting stitched up and more x rays than I have ever had in the rest of my life combined, ultimately with a cat scan on my hand. They claim no broken bones, and I hope they are right. Ultimately though, it looks like I will enjoy a full recovery, and I am grateful for that. Just last year one of our doctors died on a different construction site when workers did something similar. He was much older than me and his neck snapped, so I know my outcome could have been much worse.

    I am dealing with the construction company, who is well-aware they are at fault and thus far have been very cooperative. I don't have a settlement offer from them yet, so I don't know how their cooperation will translate into remediation, but time will tell if I need to get an attorney or not.

    Anyway, this is just me rambling.

    On the other hand, I will eventually need a new commuter and since I have such a good relationship with my Trek dealer it will probably be something from them. I was thinking of something more practical for commuting than the pure road bike I was using before and was entertaining that new Portland they have. I am curious if anyone has any opinions on that model, specifically for commuting. Keep in mind I have a carbon road bike and a mountain bike, so I don't need to worry about a cross type model to fill more than one purpose.

    On the way home last night, driving since I can't ride for a while, I passed by the site where my accident happened and actually witnessed another cyclist almost do the exact same thing. Instead of calling the construction company I decided to call the DOT Project Engineer and tell him about not only my incident, but how the company apparently didn't learn from it and were still doing the same dangerous practice. I then learned he was the engineer for the project that killed our doctor last year and he wasn't at all pleased to learn of what they were doing. He went down there today, inspected the site, and made them change the way they are using the fencing sections so visibility on the corner won't be limited. Hopefully that will prevent someone else from having the same fun evening I had.

  2. #2
    Perma-n00b Askel's Avatar
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    Ouch. I renewed my membership in crash club last night too.

    Stupid golden retrievers. To her credit though, she wasn't chasing me. She was going after the dog across the street that was chasing me.

    But I wasn't expecting that at all and ended up broadsiding her, sending me over the bars.

    Dog and bike are fine.

    I sure do bounce good.

    At least those at fault might learn something from your crash. I suspect dumbass dog owners will continue to be dumbass dog owners.

  3. #3
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry to hear of your accident, I wish you a speedy recovery.

    I hate to say this but I would seriously consider getting an attorney, you don't want to say or do something that could limit their liability. You never know if something might spring up down the road that was a result of this accident. I typically don’t endorse frivolous litigation but this is one of those areas where I would defiantly lawyer up.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlester View Post
    I am dealing with the construction company, who is well-aware they are at fault and thus far have been very cooperative. I don't have a settlement offer from them yet, so I don't know how their cooperation will translate into remediation, but time will tell if I need to get an attorney or not.
    Get ... a ... lawyer. The company, the state (DOT?) do not have your best interests at heart.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

  5. #5
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Another vote for "get a lawyer". The insurance companies for the construction site will have dozens of them.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  6. #6
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    I'm also glad to hear that you are okay. I'm sending prayers and fast-healing thoughts your way.

    I also agree that you should get a lawyer. If you are like most people, you probably don't want to take them to court to "stick it to them", but most companies do treat you a lot better if you have a lawyer after something like this. They hear the word "lawyer", and if they know that they are at fault, they settle on what is fair a lot faster, and with a lot less hassle.

    Don't forget to buy a new helmet. Even if it looks fine, helmets are toast after a singificant impact like that.

    My Bike Blog
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  7. #7
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    Sorry about the crash. Glad you (both) escaped major injury.

    For a new bike - if you like road bikes with drop bars, why not look at a Trek touring bike - the 520... or their cyclocross bikes - the XO series. With the right tires they will ride as fast on the flats as a road bike, but can accept fenders and racks and paniers.

  8. #8
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    glad you're ok , the construction company owes you a new bike, get the lawyer

  9. #9
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlester View Post
    Those who have crashed, and those that will.
    I wish that were true, because then I'd be in the former and not the latter category, and not have to worry about any more crashes in the future.

    Anyway, I'm sorry to hear about your accident. I know from experience that they hurt. A lot. For a long time. I'm glad to hear you'll enjoy a full recovery, and it's also heartening to know that you aren't giving cycling up because of it. I thought I'd never bike again after a few of my crashes, but I don't seem to have much choice ... I just want to be cycling.

    I'll give you slightly different advice from everyone else. Talk to some lawyers - do the free consultation thing. But think about not hiring one immediately. If the company agrees to pay for a new bike and your attorney takes 33 % of that, you're out your replacement bike. The company should cover all of your medical expenses, and again, you shouldn't have to cover the lawyer's share of that yourself. So, if several attorneys all agree on what to expect, in general, and the company wants to be forthright about things, you might be better off settling things on your own. It's not likely, but it sounds like things have been going encouragingly so far, so it's worth thinking about.

  10. #10
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer View Post
    glad you're ok , the construction company owes you a new bike...
    ...and compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, time that you can't ride, aggravation to your significant other...At every construction site there are dozens of sub contractors...each will blame the other for the problem, and any one would be happy to settle your claim for only the cost of a new bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer View Post
    ...get the lawyer
    Seriously.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  11. #11
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    ^^ true true ^^ being Canadian, I hardly ever thing of ALL the punitive damages one can sue for. Medical Expenses, what's that? Go get pictures before they fix it.

  12. #12
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer View Post
    Medical Expenses, what's that?
    Medical expenses are those things that crop up 8 months later when you get into an MRI machine... I kid, I kid.

    What's this about the "project that killed our doctor last year?" Sounds ominous.

    I detest the US legal system but I certainly hope you end up made whole as a result. I have no good advice to offer you, every time I'm involved in one of these potentially litigious accidents I'm in a foreign country it seems. Hit by a car in Singapore, rode my bike into a huge ditch in a bike lane in Denmark... I'm snake bit I tell ya.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Laserman's Avatar
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    Okay...Let me get this straight.....You came around a blind corner...in a construction zone....with enough speed and momentum to destroy your bike and send you to the hospital???
    WTF WERE YOU THINKING????
    Set phasers to butt-whup!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laserman View Post
    Okay...Let me get this straight.....You came around a blind corner...in a construction zone....with enough speed and momentum to destroy your bike and send you to the hospital???
    WTF WERE YOU THINKING????
    I was thinking that I ride that designated bike path detour twice every day for the past year and it isn't supposed to have construction crap blocking it.

    However, I described it as blind to simplify the post. What it is, specifically, is chain link fencing sections on both the left and the right of a constant right turning cloverleaf segment. You can see through chain link, so you would see anything coming up, except in this case what was coming up was another segment of chain link that was directly across the path and so it blended in with all the other chain link delineating the bicycle detour.

    What I wasn't doing is joy riding through a random construction zone. I was where I was supposed to be. They were not.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    What's this about the "project that killed our doctor last year?" Sounds ominous.
    http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2...s-obstruction/
    http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2...files-lawsuit/

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I'll give you slightly different advice from everyone else. Talk to some lawyers - do the free consultation thing. But think about not hiring one immediately. If the company agrees to pay for a new bike and your attorney takes 33 % of that, you're out your replacement bike. The company should cover all of your medical expenses, and again, you shouldn't have to cover the lawyer's share of that yourself. So, if several attorneys all agree on what to expect, in general, and the company wants to be forthright about things, you might be better off settling things on your own. It's not likely, but it sounds like things have been going encouragingly so far, so it's worth thinking about.
    This is almost the line of reasoning I am taking. I haven't done any free consultation yet, but I am not out to 'get the maximum' I just want what is fair and reasonable. I will hear what they have to offer, and if I like the number I won't bother with the lawyer at all. Ultimately I just need to feel whole again. I don't need to know I squeezed them for the maximum in order to be satisfied.

  17. #17
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlester View Post
    This is almost the line of reasoning I am taking. I haven't done any free consultation yet, but I am not out to 'get the maximum' I just want what is fair and reasonable. I will hear what they have to offer, and if I like the number I won't bother with the lawyer at all. Ultimately I just need to feel whole again. I don't need to know I squeezed them for the maximum in order to be satisfied.
    Insurance companies are notorious for low balling cyclists.. Get quotes for replacement of your bike and make sure all medical is covered.. If these bills are running 10k or more, you will need a lawyer

  18. #18
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    At what rate of speed were traveling that cause that sort of damage to the bike?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    At what rate of speed were traveling that cause that sort of damage to the bike?
    I don't really know. It wasn't a screaming pace, but the bike is rather heavy when I am commuting (and I am no featherweight) so it had extra inertia to propel it into squish mode against the barrier.

  20. #20
    invisible friend seenoweevil's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about your accident, glad to hear you're OK. I agree with you on not wanting to wring the last dime out of the company as well. If you talk to a lawyer beforehand, perhaps you could ask him to write a letter detailing the expenses you've incurred and expect to be compensated for. I have friends who have paid as little as $25 for a letter that did the same job the attorney would have charged thousands for to go to court. The company will know you are ready to take the next step if necessary, and may take you more seriously and compensate you before it goes that far. Good luck, and prayers for a speedy recovery.
    Faster than a sundial.

  21. #21
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    It doesn't take much to ruin a bike - just a solid crash at a bad angle. A few month ago I was riding on a trail in the dark and crashed into a tree that had fallen across the trail.. I bet I was doing less than 10 km/h (7mph) but I bent the forks back so the front wheel was overlapping the down tube. But that was my own stupid fault... construction companies know that it matters where they put their equipment and the OP's situation is entirely different.

  22. #22
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    It doesn't take much to ruin a bike - just a solid crash at a bad angle.
    Ah!...I ask thinking that eventhough the construction company seem cooperative so far, you never know if they're going to ask if you were doing over 25, which is the max speed in a construction zone her in CA. Not sue what your laws are in WA.

    Just a thought!

  23. #23
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    Just remember not to sign anything they send you and if they call you and start asking probing questions try to make sure you have a recording of the conversation.. Most answering machines now have the ability to record phone calls.. Make sure you tell the person on the other end that you are recording the call so you have a clear record of what was said.. If they hang up on you, that is sign they are not looking out for your best interests.

    VeloNews.com has a section where many of the questions you may have are answered by Bob Mionske in Legally Speaking.

    http://velonews.competitor.com/

  24. #24
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    It seems to me that it's more your fault than that of the construction company or its employee.

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