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Old 09-01-12, 11:04 AM   #1
Frankfast
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Lucky

Yesterday while out for my daily ride a car came from behind me and took a right hand turn, cutting me off. There was absolutely no time to react so I rammed him at 17mph tumbling onto the trunk of his car and then to the ground. In that instance I saw my life pass before me. I ended up with a swollen knee and some road rash and couldn't believe how lucky I was not to have been hurt badly. The driver of the car had no concern for me but rather the extensive crease in the rear fender of his Honda and proceeded to make a claim to the police that it was my fault. The police also kept repeating that I hit him and should have been on the parallel bicycle path and not the road. The road is used extensively by bicyclists since the path is littered with glass. There are no posted signs prohibiting bicycles on the road. Their attitude changed when a witness to the accident stepped forward.
The location of the accident is almost the same place that I fell a couple of months ago when I hit a deep pothole I didn't see while trying to avoid another car coming from the opposite direction turning into the same beach entry. My road rash was more serious with that one. The pothole is still there.
Most drivers in Puerto Rico are courteous and respect bicycles but like everywhere else there are crazies. When you take daily rides as I do the odds are stacked that sooner or later something is bound to happen. Unfortunately, because of this latest episode, I've considered giving up this daily ride. It will take me a while to get over it and am not sure I can ever regain my confidence. It was scary but I was lucky.
My steel framed single speed survived unscathed.

Last edited by Frankfast; 09-01-12 at 11:13 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 09-01-12, 11:36 AM   #2
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Glad to hear you are OK! I can't speak to the legalities of your situation but hopefully the motorist will think twice and give cyclists more space since his car was damaged by the incident.
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Old 09-01-12, 02:45 PM   #3
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hopefully the motorist will think twice and give cyclists more space since his car was damaged by the incident.
It's sad, but that might be the best we can hope for from that situation.

Nice that the bike wasn't damaged. Are there other routes around that you can use without a lot of traffic? On my days off I tend to run my errands through residential areas and on bike paths. Seems like we need the exercise.
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Old 09-01-12, 02:54 PM   #4
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These things happen. HTFU and get back in the saddle.
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Old 09-01-12, 03:19 PM   #5
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Glad you were not injured any worse, hope that the soreness goes away quickly. Wonder how many people the driver has whined to about that damned cyclist hitting him from behind and how the police screwed him over.

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Old 09-01-12, 04:04 PM   #6
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These things happen. HTFU and get back in the saddle.
I've decided that if I don't get back out right away, I may not ride again. So tomorrow I'm planning on riding and I'll be taking the same route. There are a lot of bikes out there on Sunday and it seems safer in numbers.
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Old 09-01-12, 04:33 PM   #7
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I think you're describing a pass and right hook. Common enough and I'm glad you are OK.

I haven't a clue as to fault and have often wondered how the police chalk this one up. On one hand it 's a reckless driving/failure to yield right-of-way incident, not that they ever charge a motorist with that. It would seem pretty obvious that you cannot pass a slower moving vehicle and then as you pass, make that right turn (happens all the time, I know and we even have the Right Hook term for it) . But on the other hand we are taught (usually) that what's in front of us is our responsibility to not hit, or so goes the theory, which is why rear end collisions are almost always the fault of the driver in the rear. This is a grey area and much is dependent on having a witness to state that they saw the motorist cut you off, leaving you no way to avoid the hit. It really only matters at this point if you are looking for either medical coverage and I'm not sure what the no-fault law is in PR (if any).

Hope this turns out well and you recover quickly.

SB
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Old 09-01-12, 05:07 PM   #8
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Just to make it clear, I didn't hit him in the rear. I hit him in the side, right at the rear wheel.

Thank you all for the concern. My 65 year old body was sore for a day but I'm looking forward to a long ride tomorrow. After all, I need the practice for the NYC Century next weekend with my son. I'm only doing the 55 mile route. What a wus.
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Old 09-01-12, 05:38 PM   #9
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I've decided that if I don't get back out right away, I may not ride again. So tomorrow I'm planning on riding and I'll be taking the same route. There are a lot of bikes out there on Sunday and it seems safer in numbers.
It sounds like your choices may be: ride on the road or don't ride. So, if you can, try finding a group -- maybe even form one! Not only is there safety in numbers, but there are witnesses!

Even in health care I have seen that: the patient is always wrong -- unless there is somebody with him. And it doesn't sound like even the police have much sympathy for bicycles there.
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Old 09-01-12, 05:48 PM   #10
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...I'm only doing the 55 mile route. What a wus.
Hey, you've made the right decision, and do stop saying that a 55mi ride makes you a wus! Safe riding!
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Old 09-01-12, 05:49 PM   #11
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It sounds like your choices may be: ride on the road or don't ride. So, if you can, try finding a group -- maybe even form one! Not only is there safety in numbers, but there are witnesses!

Even in health care I have seen that: the patient is always wrong -- unless there is somebody with him. And it doesn't sound like even the police have much sympathy for bicycles there.
I wish you'd take your axe and grind it somewhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of people over at P&R who'd enjoy your insightful comments.
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Old 09-01-12, 06:01 PM   #12
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Frankfast : Sure it can be scary, but don't give up.

Glad to read that you are OK.

So many drivers have no notion of what they are doing by endangering others!
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Old 09-01-12, 07:38 PM   #13
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Perhaps you could take a different route that may be safer. Glad you survived with only minor injuries. Good luck in the ride with your son..
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Old 09-01-12, 07:41 PM   #14
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Yes, given the circumstances you were lucky. It could have been much worse. Glad you and your bike came out OK. Hope you don't have to test your luck again any time soon.
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Old 09-01-12, 09:32 PM   #15
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I wish you'd take your axe and grind it somewhere else. I'm sure there are plenty of people over at P&R who'd enjoy your insightful comments.
I for one do not consider GeorgeBMac's comments to be axe grinding. I do, however, find your comments rude and condescending.
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Old 09-01-12, 11:32 PM   #16
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Not sure what the rules are in Puerto Rico, but in the US and Canada, a couple of things you should know:

It is unlawful to impose a "mandatory sidepath law." This means that even if there is a separated bike path next to the road, you are permitted to ride on the road (unless it's a freeway. A freeway is a "limited access road," which means that if there's an intersection on it, it's not a freeway.)

A right hook is almost always the fault of the driver making the right hook. The vehicle proceeding straight generally has the right of way over a vehicle turning. The rear ender is a totally different situation - nobody is turning.

I'd see a lawyer and collect damages. However, please note that I am not a lawyer, I'm just repeating stuff I've heard from real bicycle advocates. Anyway, my sympathies, and I hope this helps. And I'm not trying to grind any axes, just passing on information I hope is helpful.

Luis
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Old 09-02-12, 04:31 AM   #17
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Not sure what the rules are in Puerto Rico, but in the US and Canada, a couple of things you should know:

It is unlawful to impose a "mandatory sidepath law." This means that even if there is a separated bike path next to the road, you are permitted to ride on the road (unless it's a freeway. A freeway is a "limited access road," which means that if there's an intersection on it, it's not a freeway.)

A right hook is almost always the fault of the driver making the right hook. The vehicle proceeding straight generally has the right of way over a vehicle turning. The rear ender is a totally different situation - nobody is turning.

I'd see a lawyer and collect damages. However, please note that I am not a lawyer, I'm just repeating stuff I've heard from real bicycle advocates. Anyway, my sympathies, and I hope this helps. And I'm not trying to grind any axes, just passing on information I hope is helpful.

Luis
Thank you for your comments. I knew that I was within my rights riding on the road but I wasn't going to argue with the police. I could see their attitude wasn't going to be helpful. There could be reasons for that but I would only be speculating.
I won't pursue any damages. I have a little road rash but most of the damages are in my spirit. It's very disappointing to me that such a beautiful sport can be ruined by such a stupid act. I'll start repairing today with a ride.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:02 AM   #18
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"It is unlawful to impose a "mandatory sidepath law." This means that even if there is a separated bike path next to the road, you are permitted to ride on the road (unless it's a freeway. A freeway is a "limited access road," which means that if there's an intersection on it, it's not a freeway.) "

New York City has laws that require the cyclist to use a designated bike lane or path, if one is available next to the street/road. The police ticket on a regular basis, cyclists that use the street, except when turning and or to avoid a hazard or if the lane/path is blocked. Much discretion is given to the cops as to those reasons with many a youtube that has shown cops blocking the lane with their police cruiser, then writing a cyclist a ticket for leaving the lane. Take it to court the typical response. These laws had to pass the NY State Assembly in order to become legal in NYC, though they do not apply outside of the city.

"A right hook is almost always the fault of the driver making the right hook. The vehicle proceeding straight generally has the right of way over a vehicle turning. The rear ender is a totally different situation - nobody is turning."

Except when a car has already passed a cyclist, merged back into the lane and then makes a right. Still a right hook for all practical purposes, and not what happened to the OP, but it's all a matter of timing and location, thus hard to judge especially with no witnesses.
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Old 09-02-12, 07:44 AM   #19
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" The vehicle proceeding straight generally has the right of way over a vehicle turning."

It is a tricky situation depending on a lot of variables. For myself, earlier this past spring I almost took out a cyclist with a right hook. Fortunately he escaped, but I still shudder when I think how close it was...

The situation was that I was driving in downtown traffic in the left lane, the right lane was filled with a row of parked cars. I put on my turn signal and slowed to turn into a parking garage on my right when, as I was starting the turn, a bicycle flew by squeezing between me and the row of parked cars. I still have no idea where he came from. But, in downtown Pittsburgh it is common for bicyclists to run faster than auto traffic by creating their own third lane in the middle. The problem is not so much that they create the third lane, but that they are often moving faster than auto traffic and the cars simply can't see them coming (or have any reason to even look for them passing on the right).

About a year earlier I friend almost sandwiched a cyclist between his car and a row of parked cars in a similar manner. He swerved to avoid a pothole not knowing that a cyclist was coming up behind him using a self-created third lane. Again, the cyclist was going faster than the autos and coming up from behind in the auto's right-rear blind spot. I know this guy and was I riding in the passenger seat. He is not an aggressive driver and would never want to hurt a cyclist. He was simply driving and had no way of knowing the cyclist was there. And, even if he did, he still had a right to his own lane.

I am NOT suggesting that this was the situation with OP... He is clear about what happened and the driver (unless he was busy texting) pretty much had to know he was there and his right hook had to be a matter of intent.

So, how do you leglislate common-sense and respect for others?
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Old 09-02-12, 09:14 AM   #20
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Just finished a 45 mile ride. without incident. I have to be more cautious. Looking forward to the NYC Century next Sunday. It will be some quality time with my son. Maybe some of you will be there.
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Old 09-02-12, 09:55 AM   #21
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Just finished a 45 mile ride. without incident. I have to be more cautious. Looking forward to the NYC Century next Sunday. It will be some quality time with my son. Maybe some of you will be there.
That's great! Enjoy your ride and enjoy your son!
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Old 09-02-12, 03:35 PM   #22
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You are about to see some area's of NYC that you had no clue existed and probably will never see again, unless it's on your bike.

Not sure of the route details this year (they vary it year to year), but if you're feeling frisky and strong that day, do the 75. It heads over the Triborough/RFK bridge and down to Wards/Randalls Island, then over the pedestrian bridge and back to Manhattan (skipping the Bronx, which I found BORING). As well it heads to the Rockaway's, with great ocean views and I think it does a lap at the Kissena Velodome in Queens.

Have fun in any event.
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