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Old 05-31-06, 07:58 AM   #1
fat biker
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Nasty Crash - "not my fault" says the driver

Greetings All,

Hope you all are in better shape than this fat biker.

Riding home, last Thursday pm, JERK-in-a-Porsche made a left turn in front of me, went over the bars, landed hard. One or more good samaritans called 911 bringing EMT and cop. Back Board, loaded into the ambulance for a ride to Stanford Medical Center's ER.

CT scan (concussion - unconcious), xray, stitches, morphine... Great care! Have not seen the bill yet.

Talked to the cop on scene yesterday, very helpful. He found the car, thanks to witness input. The driver claims it's not his fault, since I did not crash into him. The driver thinks I overreacted with the brakes, causing the crash. I should have the police report next week.

Only damage to the bike seems to be bent handlebars. The bike is at my LBS for evaluation.

fat biker damage;
raspberries the size of oranges on both knees
nasty bruise, left wrist (xray negative)
aforementioned concussion
left shoulder bruised, scraped and sore as hell
assorted other aches and pains - neck, back, shoulder

ruined my last pair of Vuarnet sunglasses
new helmet
paramedic cut off my jersey
bent handlebar

Yesterday was "stitches out day", will make appointment with my regular doc in a couple of weeks for comprehensive follow-up and hopefully some good ole' physical therapy to get rid of these aches and pains.

I am injured and sore, but more than that really pissed of at this guy's attitude.

So, I drive my car, make a turn and a human on a bicycle goes down in a heap on the pavement, but since I did not have contact, I go about my business, picking up the wife at work.

Note to self; shop for a personal injury attorney.

This will not stop me from commuting. Already had the talk with my wife that life is dangerous...

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Old 05-31-06, 08:18 AM   #2
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While making a left turn, the car failed to yield to oncoming traffic, causing an accident. Case closed.
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Old 05-31-06, 08:20 AM   #3
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Note to self; shop for a personal injury attorney

Do it NOW.....since they have the guy, there's no searching. I'm not kidding. Especially if you have little/no health insurance &/or your car insurance won't cover you.
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Old 05-31-06, 08:21 AM   #4
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I had a crash a few weeks ago, went over the handlebars, and my injuries seemed to be less than yours, although the bike was hurt more

Had the talk with the wife. I suffered a heart attach 4 years ago, so part of why I ride is to get regular exercise so that I will not repeat. Explained to my wife that more people die in a Lay-Z-Boy, with the TV remote and a bag of potatoe chips than die on bikes - so I would play it safe and continue to commute.

She was half convinced (which I think means that she would accept the Lay-Z-Boy but no remote or snack food).

Talk to the Porche driver.
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Old 05-31-06, 08:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fat biker
Greetings All,


Riding home, last Thursday pm, JERK-in-a-Porsche made a left turn in front of me,

A Porsche?

You should have hit it. I bet he would've stopped then.


Hope your recovery goes well
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Old 05-31-06, 08:55 AM   #6
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Just a side question: Why did you go over your handlebars on a non-contact emergency-braking incident? This raises a question to me about your braking technique. You should be able to make an emergency stop with your bike, possibly laying it down of course, without going over the handlebars. It's way too dangerous to do that, to your head and neck.

This doesn't change the culpability of the driver, but it's a note to you for the future.
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Old 05-31-06, 01:00 PM   #7
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I'm a firm believer of hitting whoever caused the accident rather than avoiding them and crashing into god knows what.
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Old 05-31-06, 01:12 PM   #8
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I'm with Flak. It does not pay to try to avoid the pedestrian that lurches in front of you. The alternative landings are almost always not as soft.
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Old 05-31-06, 01:38 PM   #9
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Good luck with your recovery. Make him pay!
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Old 05-31-06, 01:59 PM   #10
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Porsche driver--->probably a Nazi--->make him pay!

Seriously, I have had a couple of personal injuries that I was not responsible for, yet did not sue for damages, or accepted a token amount. Boy was I wrong!!! At 49, those injuries have come back to haunt me, and cost me a lot of cash. Even if you get all you can while you can, it won't be enough.

Trust me on this.

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Old 05-31-06, 02:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flak
I'm a firm believer of hitting whoever caused the accident rather than avoiding them and crashing into god knows what.
This sort of thinking is absurd. You did the right thing to avoid the moving object at all costs. The velocity of you impacting the ground is less than the relative velocity of having a head on. Also, you could have been impaled on a mirror, pulled under a wheel, clothes, arm, leg caught in a wheel well.

Also, its easy for some to say you should have laid the bike down. In reality, you just usually grab brakes as hard as you can to stop.

Again, hitting a moving object when you could miss it is absurd.
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Old 05-31-06, 03:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raleighroader
Just a side question: Why did you go over your handlebars on a non-contact emergency-braking incident? This raises a question to me about your braking technique. You should be able to make an emergency stop with your bike, possibly laying it down of course, without going over the handlebars. It's way too dangerous to do that, to your head and neck.

This doesn't change the culpability of the driver, but it's a note to you for the future.
and how exactly do you practice such a technique? Specifically, without losing skin while practicing? I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing that, in the nanosecond you have to make decision to brake or hit the car, that you can realize that you're going over the handlebars so you better lay it down instead. No matter how hard you practice, there's always a chance someone will right hook/turn in front of you when its too late and you won't be able to stop in time without either hitting the car, going over the handlebars and if you're lucky sliding out. The only way to avoid this is to ride real slow and then you might as well be walking.
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Old 05-31-06, 03:16 PM   #13
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Dude, you OWN this guy now. As mentioned above, dude failed to yield to oncoming traffic, end of story. Go after him, not out of revenge but to make-up for the harm he did.
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Old 05-31-06, 03:33 PM   #14
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get some rest, and ride on my friend..
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Old 05-31-06, 03:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGDub
and how exactly do you practice such a technique? Specifically, without losing skin while practicing? I'm sorry but I have a hard time believing that, in the nanosecond you have to make decision to brake or hit the car, that you can realize that you're going over the handlebars so you better lay it down instead. No matter how hard you practice, there's always a chance someone will right hook/turn in front of you when its too late and you won't be able to stop in time without either hitting the car, going over the handlebars and if you're lucky sliding out. The only way to avoid this is to ride real slow and then you might as well be walking.
Practice is exactly how one develops instincts to quick turn or stop hard without going over.
Keep practicing quicker and harder stops from lower speeds, learn the tipping point of ones bike. Learn to balance front to back. Practice some hard stop with intentionally lifting rear wheel (by leaning forward) (you can do this on grass) Then do same stops, but with weight shifted back. Then do the same at higher speeds. Over and over again. Get a partner to yell random stop times (or jump toward you)
The whole idea is you want to develop the instinct to lean back and brake just hard enough to stop without going over, not the instinct to grab brakes as hard as possible.
Yes it is easier said than practiced. (You may find the hardest part is repeatedly getting back up to 20mph+, just to stop again, talk about tiring) Don't do this just for one session, but at regular intervals.
Also practice quick turns.
All this practice may not prevent going over or fully help you decide in split second when to grab brakes, when to turn or when to intentionally go down, but it will give you the instinct to know how quick you can stop, what it feels like etc. so you are better armed to sub[conscisoulsy make those split decisions.

Al
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Old 05-31-06, 10:01 PM   #16
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I think by law, you're allowed to blow up his car while it's in his garage. Or you could go after him and make him pay.
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Old 06-01-06, 01:02 AM   #17
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While making a left turn, the car failed to yield to oncoming traffic, causing an accident. Case closed
Very clear in the Florida state statutes that failure to yield during a left hand turn makes ANY acident your fault automaticly. I defended myself in court, all I needed was to quote that statute and I won.

As an extreme my mother was doing a U-turn at a green turn light, some punk kids in a mustang were speeding/racing and ran the red light and smashed into her. She got the ticket because she was making a left hand turn.....
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Old 06-01-06, 04:52 AM   #18
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Sounds from his comments like the driver knew you were there, so he cannot use the "I didn't see him" excuse. It sounds (to my non-expert self) like you would have pretty good case. Clearly his fault if he saw you and turned anyway.

That said, you can practice braking without injuring yourself. Find an empty parking lot and experiment with stopping using one brake, then the other, and both in various combinations. Brake gradually and note how the bike feels as you vary the application. When practicing with just the front brake, rise up off the seat and lean way back, to counteract the tendency of the weight of the bike and your body to rise up and forward, which is what leads to an "endo". Carefully build up to coming to a quick but safe emergency stop.

A nice demonstration of how the two brakes work differently is to stand beside the bike and push it forward while applying each brake. With just the back brake, you'll still be able to drag your bike forward even with the back wheel locked, showing that the back brake by itself is not very effective. (And in fact, used by itself, can start a skid.) But with the front brake by itself, the frame will very easily start lifting off the ground! So both together are usually recommended, starting with the back and applying the front as needed.

I hope that helps. Some of that I just learned in a bike safety instructor's course I took last month. You can probably find more by Googling for something like "bicycle braking technique". Sheldon Brown particularly has a very good article on this, and he feels that front brake alone is actually best for emergency stops, since in a fast-stop situation the rear brake is almost useless anyway. In any case, rest assured that an endo is not unavoidable, and the avoidance techniques can be taught and practiced.

I had an endo about 4 years ago, the month after I started riding, but have not had one since. Not that I can necessarily credit practicing these techniques, since I only recently became consciously aware of them, but I hope that at least unconsciously I have improved. Another thing I think has improved is my vigilance. Did you see the car before he turned into you? Any clue he was going to turn? Could you try to establish eye contact? I am not trying to "blame the victim" (you) here, but pointing out that in a world where you can't rely on other people acting rationally, it's even more important to drive defensively, always expecting that someone will do something dumb at any moment, and not being surprised by it. Try to see things coming. Robert Hurst, in his book The Art of Urban Cycling, puts this very well and has been my biggest influence in this line of thought. He says something like "gather all the responsibilty that you can, hoard it, and use it more wisely than those around you." Good words to live by (literally)!

Hope that all helps! I'm glad you are not deterred, and best wishes for your recovery and future riding!

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Old 06-01-06, 05:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFBridgeguy
A Porsche?

You should have hit it. I bet he would've stopped then.


Hope your recovery goes well

haha yeah. "always cut off the person with the nicer car. they usually will let you go."

thats what my brother said to me when i was driving.
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Old 06-01-06, 06:19 AM   #20
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DEFINATELY practice emergency actions! With enough practice you'll do it out of reflex when it's needed. I used to practice hard braking and swerving on my motorcycle all the time. I still feel it saved my life when a car did the exact same move you described. Just use an open area and slowly work up to full braking, or swerving. Especially when using the front brake.
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Old 06-01-06, 07:05 AM   #21
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Thanks to all for the suggestions and encouragement.

I will work on my e-stops, promise.

Stitches came out of the chin yesterday, next doc move is to schedule an appointment with my regular md for a follow up. The aches & pains are all on board now, and I'm pretty uncomfortable most of the time, need to work on that pronto. Hopefully my doc will Rx physical therapy.

The bike is at the shop, will call today to request repairs to the bars and save the parts.

Should have the police report in hand early next week.

Shopping for a personal-injury attorney (think my niece knows a suitable one). Sure hope I can find one to take this case. As my dear departed neighbor Jim always said "Don't get mad, get even" and "Don't be difficult, with a little work, you can be impossible" R.I.P. Jim.

I figure when the guy drove away, leaving me in an unconcious heap on the pavement he charted his own course and I expect sealed his own fate.

Injuries aside, what I think pisses me off the most and I have the most difficulty understanding is how one human treats another human like that when there is no previous animosity one to the other. At the risk of attaching too much importance to my situation, kind of like giving all of your neighbors and the people in your community "the finger"

Jeff, fat biker
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Old 06-01-06, 08:26 AM   #22
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Shop? These lawyers are free for you. Get one right away. They are needed for documentation of all--like the condition of the bike, which you will get back before they can see and document properly. And for you--they will carefully and properly document your health.

The fact that the driver saw you is key. He's liable for personal damages. You will win this in court and help all of us in the process. Litigation is important.

Despite the stories, the vast majority of lawyers are legit.

I've gone over my handlebars before and never will again. I rely on the back brake and carefully use the front to help. I'm glad to hear you are going to practice emergency stops--that will help a lot.

My sympathies to you.
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Old 06-01-06, 08:35 AM   #23
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- Just because you didn't physically run into him most certainly does not make him not at fault.

- Was his turn signal on? Getting sworn statements early on from you and other witnesses can only help.

- He's gearing up for the lawsuit by denying *any* responsibility. Don't let him skate on this one, please.
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Old 06-01-06, 10:02 AM   #24
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I hope you recover fully. I had a similar incident, concussion, stitches on my face, etc, just now getting bills, almost $4000 total, insurance paid all but $350 of hospital bill. I don't know how much of $600 ambulance charge they will pay.
Good luck to you.
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Old 06-01-06, 11:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyossarian
I think by law, you're allowed to blow up his car while it's in his garage. Or you could go after him and make him pay.

I think that may only work in NYC . Don't settle until you know your total costs Fat Biker. Hope you feel better soon.
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