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Old 01-12-05, 03:07 PM   #1
ultra-g
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Your Thoughts: Cyclist being sued for riding on Wrong Side of Road

I overheard this months ago at a bike shop I used to go buy things:

One of the mechanics was telling another employee there that she got seriously injured a few days earlier by a car that hit her. She was in the hospital for the night and broke her wrist, hurt her back.

The police took a report and said that she was at fault because she was riding down the wrong way (she was going Downtown on Lafayette Street, which has a bike lane, traffic runs uptown on Lafayette).

She was saying that the car owner was unhurt, but the car was damaged by her bike hitting it, and the car owner was suing her for damages to their car.

What do you think? Injustice or did she deserve it for going down the wrong way???

I myself feel that she should not have been going down the wrong way down a busy Manhattan Avenue, lots of traffic in that area (above Canal, below Houston). But being sued by the driver is just plain unfair.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:12 PM   #2
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She was in the wrong so she should pay for the damages she caused when she hit the car.

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Old 01-12-05, 03:17 PM   #3
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It's against the law, even if she was in the bike lane. Now the auto driver is also partially at fault for travelling in the bike lane.

I can't stand when people ride the wrong way in a bike lane and don't yield to cyclists going in the right direction. If you're going to travel in the wrong direction, it should be your obligation to move into traffic (or at least to the side nearest car traffic if it's a wide lane) and allow those who are travelling in the right direction to have the lane. This also forces "right direction" cyclists into the dreaded door zone.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:17 PM   #4
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It depends. If she was in the wrong, she should pay. But if the bike lane was on the left of a one-way street (which happens sometimes because bike lanes are usually poorly designed), it's not so clear.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:33 PM   #5
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Unless it's specifically designated as a contraflow bike lane, she's at fault. Does she "deserve" it? No, nobody "deserves" to get hit by a car...well, I suppose in some really pathological cases they might. But she is at fault and so the car owner has every right to recover damages from her as sad as the whole story may be.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:49 PM   #6
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If she was in car on the wrong side of the road, and caused an accident, who should pay for the damamges? She should. If you advocate vehicular cycling, you've got to say that she should be treated like the operator of any other vehicle.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra-g
I overheard this months ago at a bike shop I used to go buy things:

One of the mechanics was telling another employee there that she got seriously injured a few days earlier by a car that hit her. She was in the hospital for the night and broke her wrist, hurt her back.

The police took a report and said that she was at fault because she was riding down the wrong way (she was going Downtown on Lafayette Street, which has a bike lane, traffic runs uptown on Lafayette).

She was saying that the car owner was unhurt, but the car was damaged by her bike hitting it, and the car owner was suing her for damages to their car.

What do you think? Injustice or did she deserve it for going down the wrong way???

I myself feel that she should not have been going down the wrong way down a busy Manhattan Avenue, lots of traffic in that area (above Canal, below Houston). But being sued by the driver is just plain unfair.
The stupid effing sh*t deserved it! I am getting tired of hammering down the road to suddenly be met by some ahole on the wrong side of the street. Not only does that idiot pose a direct threat, but I find myself often having to swing wide into traffic to avoid the clown. I have become quite aggressive lately when I come on these idiots - a seemingly daily occurrence.
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Old 01-12-05, 03:59 PM   #8
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Wrong way was in the wrong. I'm not going to defend stupidity.
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Old 01-12-05, 04:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultra-g
But being sued by the driver is just plain unfair.
No, what's unfair is having your property damaged as a direct result of the illegal and negligent act of another person. When the motorist sues the wrong-way cyclist, wins a judgment, and collects damages, then it will be fair.
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Old 01-12-05, 05:07 PM   #10
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If she was hit in the bike lane, they're both at fault... I hope both were ticketed, and that the lawsuit fails.
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Old 01-12-05, 06:01 PM   #11
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I think we'd need more info before a definitive decision could be made. Sure, she shouldn't have been riding the wrong way, but (as others have stated) what was the vehicle doing in the bike lane?
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Old 01-12-05, 06:16 PM   #12
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Orikal, Brokenrobot, etc.: Please point out the part where Ultra-G says that his friend was riding in the bike lane.

Give up? Because he doesn't say that. He says she was riding the wrong direction on a street that has a bike lane. Which is not the same thing as saying she was riding in a bike lane the wrong direction. (Perhaps that's what Ultra-G intended to say, but he did not actually say it.)
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Old 01-12-05, 06:17 PM   #13
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I think that there's some ambiguity because of the fact that the wrong-way cyclist and the car-in-bike-lane seem to be each breaking the law. If it weren't for the bike lane issue, I'd say that the cyclist should have definitely paid the car-mechanic bill, and that she should have been smart enough to do so before anybody tried to get a court involved.
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Old 01-12-05, 07:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
Which is not the same thing as saying she was riding in a bike lane the wrong direction. (Perhaps that's what Ultra-G intended to say, but he did not actually say it.)
True, but having ridden that stretch of road hundreds of times, often encountering idiots riding against flow in the bike lane, I perhaps read too much into what Ultra-G DID say. My apologies. Let me rephrase my answer:

If she was in the bike lane, both she and the driver were at fault. Otherwise, she alone was at fault.

Better?

-chris
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Old 01-12-05, 07:28 PM   #15
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Objection sustained. You may rephrase, Counselor, and continue to examine.
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Old 01-12-05, 07:54 PM   #16
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Of course she should pay to the extent she was at fault. I would suppose she's at quite a bit of fault for going the wrong way. That really increases the impact! The driver could easily be partially at fault for travelling into the bike lane also. Insurance/attorneys/court will have to sort out the numbers. If her damages are much, much greater with the personal injurty ... who knows who will go home with a check?

How's it work? Hypothetically, let's say she at fault 70-30. But, her damages are 10,000 with medical stuff and all. The driver's damages are only 2400 for a bumper and a scrape to the car. Does the driver owe her 3000 and she owe the driver 1680?

Maybe that's why the driver is pressing it.
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Old 01-12-05, 08:29 PM   #17
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Keep in mind that there are legit reasons for a vehicle to enter the bike lane. They may be entering or leaving parking or making a right hand turn. In all of those cases the proper and legal thing to do is to merge into the bike lane.
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Old 01-12-05, 09:07 PM   #18
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Keep in mind that there are legit reasons for a vehicle to enter the bike lane. They may be entering or leaving parking or making a right hand turn. In all of those cases the proper and legal thing to do is to merge into the bike lane.
Exactly. Cars are allowed to enter a bike lane, to turn, or enter a driveway etc (depending on where you live, but most road rules are fairly similar regardless) The wrong way cyclist was in the wrong.

CHEERS.

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Old 01-13-05, 10:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caloso
Orikal, Brokenrobot, etc.: Please point out the part where Ultra-G says that his friend was riding in the bike lane.

Give up? Because he doesn't say that. He says she was riding the wrong direction on a street that has a bike lane. Which is not the same thing as saying she was riding in a bike lane the wrong direction. (Perhaps that's what Ultra-G intended to say, but he did not actually say it.)
I have no idea if she was in the bike lane or not actually.

But to have a broken wrist, probably thousands of dollars in hospital bills and to be sued by the driver, just seems to suck. Hope she learned her lesson.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:06 AM   #20
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Unfortunately, I agree with the lawsuit. Cyclists should obey the law. Costly lesson.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:50 AM   #21
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Well, let's break it down. There are two actors here: the driver and the cyclist. As far as we know, only one of them acted wrongly (a lawyer would say "failed to exercise due care"). As a result, both suffered some harm: the driver's car was damage and the cyclist's bike and body were damaged.

Only the person who acted wrongly is liable for the damage she caused: both the damage to herself and her property and the damage to the other person's car.

I know we generally don't like to take the cager's side around here, but put yourself in the shoes of the driver: I'm driving safely and legally down the street when another person damages my car. Why should I be prevented from trying to recover from that person just because she managed to damage herself and her own stuff at the same time?
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Old 01-13-05, 12:46 PM   #22
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I'm not sure if the direction of the bike lane was ambiguous or what, but I assume these things will come out...

It's obviously a bad idea to ride on the wrong side of the street, unless she was making some kind of emergency maneuver that forced her into the wrong lane. However, I don't agree with the mindset of immediately suing someone. It's just insane. I mean, the person has to have insurance, right? I would be trying to make sure the cyclist is ok. Broken wrist means lesson learned.

You guys are technically/legally right, but you also come off pretty cold and unfeeling.
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Old 01-13-05, 12:54 PM   #23
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I'm not at all cold and unfeeling. I really feel for this person, that really sucks. Hell, it would have really sucked if she were in a car and the same thing happened. But it happened and the driver may not be any more capable of paying for his damages out of pocket than she is. On top of that, I don't know what IL has for insurance regs, but unless it's a no-fault state and the damages fall under the no-fault limits, the insurance company is going to make them sue (or sue on their behalf) if the driver wants to be able to collect on the policy.
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Old 01-13-05, 01:04 PM   #24
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Perhaps.

Personally, I wouldn't wish broken bones and especially a broken bike (!) on anyone. But I can't work up much sympathy for this rider.
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Old 01-13-05, 08:43 PM   #25
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Deserve it? No. She was wrong though and should pay for the damages her mistake caused.
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