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  1. #1
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    My 16yo son was hit by a car in a crosswalk ...advice..

    I am a newby but had a question about bicyclists getting by cars in crosswalks.

    Yesterday around noon my son (16yo) and his friends were riding thier bikes westbound down the sidewalk of a pretty busy street. the westbound side of the street was blocked off due to flooding so they were going westbound down the eastbound side sidewalks. The intersetion they crossed only had a stop sign for the cars crossing it from the southside the street that the kids were riding on had no stop. There was a car stopped at the stop sign looking to the left as the 1st kid rode past her. He made it through, my son followed shortly there after and she didnt see him and tried to shoot out into traffic hitting my son directly in the middle of her car. Funny thing is that there was a police officer that was blocking traffic that basically saw the whole thing and was there in seconds as he was no more than 50 feet away. the woman did get out to assist my son and see how he was. He was obviosly freaked out and such but didnt seem to be in too bad of shape except bruises and such (he didnt hit his head) the officer asked if he wanted an ambulance he said no and also said he just wanted to go home. so the officer let him. Keep in mind he is 16 and a minor. he would report an incident at the station and his parents (me) could get a report there. The bike was totally unridable and both wheels damaged along with the frame. When he got home we decided after hearing what happened to take him to the Emergency room, luckily he was not in too bad of shape. Deep tissue contusions and back strain. So we got lucky that he seems to be ok so far.

    I call the police this morning to get a police report and find out that there was not one done. The dispatcher that answeres the non emergency number looked up my sons name and said that since he refused an ambulance and didnt want a police report nothing was filed. I asked what should i do next, he stated that I should contact my insurance and let them decide.

    I didnt realize a Minor can be released like that and based on his word, a person can get off totally on hitting him with a car and leave the parents holding the whole bag.

    Any advice anyone out there can give would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member JonnyHK's Avatar
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    If you have no reports and no idea who the motorist is, you are left with one thing only. A life lesson for your son.

    He should learn the following:
    - never presume a car has seen you
    - don't just follow your friend
    - try to be calm in an emergency (OK, he's in shock, but some well drilled coping mechanisms are needed...such as)
    - stop, breath, think.
    - ask for help, don't just run home
    - phone for help - ie YOU (or ask someone to do it for him)
    - get the details of the driver in an accident

    I think the cop should have insisted that he call the parents of a minor - not doing so is lazy and dangerous. What if your son was badly injured (internal, head) and it didn't show up until later?

  3. #3
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    I would also suggest that you and your son get hold of your local traffic laws to see how bikes are addressed. Some localities treat bikes as pedestrians, and some as vehicles. If your locality treats bikes as vehicles, that means that while riding on a bicycle, your son must obey all traffic laws, regulations & signage just like the rest of the vehicles on the ROAD. If bicycles are treated as vehicles, that means you CANNOT ride on the sidewalk, and the cyclist must stop at all stop signs, lights, etc., and ride with traffic. If your locality treats a cyclist as a pedestrian, that means they cannot ride in the streets, and must obey all pedestrian rules - especially as they might apply to jaywalking!

    Once you and your son understand your locality's position on cyclists, future incidents such as the one you described - which is where your son appears to have neglected BOTH traffic and pedestrian rules - NOT to let the driver off the hook for NOT LOOKING!!!! - will not occur. Cyclists ALWAYS have to assume that drivers WILL NOT SEE THEM.

    Also - ROAD ID http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx with emergency contact & medical info!!
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  4. #4
    Senior Member spooner's Avatar
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    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...looding-ADVICE

    Generally speaking you only need to post the issue/question in one forum. Otherwise you end up with different threads having overlapping/different information.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    file a police report. cops s*ck. the bike was ruined and no one took any driver information seriously? cops s*ck
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  6. #6
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    I would also suggest that you and your son get hold of your local traffic laws to see how bikes are addressed. Some localities treat bikes as pedestrians, and some as vehicles. If your locality treats bikes as vehicles, that means that while riding on a bicycle, your son must obey all traffic laws, regulations & signage just like the rest of the vehicles on the ROAD. If bicycles are treated as vehicles, that means you CANNOT ride on the sidewalk, and the cyclist must stop at all stop signs, lights, etc., and ride with traffic. If your locality treats a cyclist as a pedestrian, that means they cannot ride in the streets, and must obey all pedestrian rules - especially as they might apply to jaywalking!
    And some places allows you to be either, and switch back and forth as you please.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    file a police report. cops s*ck. the bike was ruined and no one took any driver information seriously? cops s*ck
    And then what?

  8. #8
    Senior Member colombo357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    And then what?
    Then nothing, but at least it's official.

    Cops are lazy sobs. That's why they're so fat.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Before you make too many assumptions I think you might keep in mind that you've heard only one side of this story. I obviously didn't see what happened, but the OP says a group of 16 year old boys were riding on the sidewalk counter traffic flow and across a crosswalk. I don't know how fast they were riding but I'm thinking it was probably faster than walking speed.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Hey, now. We only victim-blame in A&S here.
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  11. #11
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    the street he was riding on was a main street 2 lane divided highway. the street they were crossing was a basic side street from a residential area with a stop sign for that street. The kids on bikes did not have a stop. the reason they were on the sidewalk going opposite traffic was that the way they wanted to go with traffic was blocked by police and flooded so this was the only way to go.

  12. #12
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nacdale View Post
    the street he was riding on was a main street 2 lane divided highway. the street they were crossing was a basic side street from a residential area with a stop sign for that street. The kids on bikes did not have a stop. the reason they were on the sidewalk going opposite traffic was that the way they wanted to go with traffic was blocked by police and flooded so this was the only way to go.
    Check your local bylaws before your next move.

    It's highly likely that riding a bike on either a sidewalk or crosswalk is illegal, in which case, your son could be sued for any damage to the car. Bearing in mind that an officer was there to witness him crossing the road at what would normally be the crosswalk zone, further action on your part may result in a legally deserved fine or citation, which would mean a successful civil case against the driver or officer would be much less likely. Even if minors may legally ride on sidewalks or crosswalks, there may be an age cut-off that prohibits some minors from riding in that manner. Often, laws use a common threshold age like 13 or 16 to determine when it is legal for a minor to ride in areas normally forbidden to bicycles. There may also be a clause indicating maximum wheel sizes for bicycles legal to ride on sidewalks or crosswalks. Finally, the actions of the officer regarding medical care might be considered sufficient if there is no obvious determination that he was dealing with a minor. For instance, your son might be 5'10" tall and appear to be an adult so his refusal to be checked by medical personnel might be enough to absolve the police officer from further responsibility. Finally, the flooding that helped create the situation may not necessarily help your position, simply because illegally diverting to the sidewalk without being specifically directed that way by a traffic cop does not rule out diverting up to several streets away to avoid the situation.

    :)ensen.
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  13. #13
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    They were on the sidewalk because the street lane they wanted to ride in was closed. That doesn't change the fact that they were on the sidewalk. They weren't pedestrians because they were riding. I don't know what local traffic laws apply to the situation. The kids should not have just ridden through the crosswalk. Nor should the driver have pulled out as kids on bikes were crossing the street. Obviously, a police accident report should have been done.
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  14. #14
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    To the OP: I don't understand what you are trying to achieve.

    If it were me, I'd hug my kid, be thankful he wasn't hurt worse, and move on.

    If it's a dangerous crosswalk and there is precedent for this, you should talk to your city council-person about improving signage on the crosswalk.

    If you are trying to get damage to the bike or medical expenses covered, talk to your insurance company.

  15. #15
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    My guess is that your son would ultimately be found to be in the wrong. There are some municipalities that allow bikes to ride on sidewalks, however I believe you'll find that riding your bike in a crosswalk is not allowed. There are plenty of reasons for this. One of which is that a driver that has come to a stop is required to ensure that no pedestrians are about to cross the intersection. This requires a driver to check the sidewalk for the first 5 to 10 feet. The problem with cycling through crosswalks is that a driver is not expecting a 'pedestrian' to move at the same rate of speed as a cyclist, and therefore may not see someone on a bike until it's too late. The cyclist in that case is relying too heavily on the driver's periferal vision to see them well before they hit the crosswalk.

    Having said that, I'm a bit confused as to why the officer at the scene did not report the incident, especially after seeing the damage to the bike.

  16. #16
    Grillparzer Grillparzer's Avatar
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    An Internet forum isn't the place to get legal advice, for that you need a lawyer. If you want to pursue action I suggest you get one. At a minimum speak to your insurance company but don't necessarily believe what you are told. They follow legal guidelines but they are not lawyers and ever case is different.

    A Freedom of Information request submitted to the police department to identify the driver of the vehicle may be possible. Ordinarily it is routine to call the driver license information and the vehicle tag number in to the department for a wants and warrant check when a police officer interacts with a civilian in such a manner. That information will be on record even if a traffic accident report was not completed.
    People are broad-minded. They'll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn't drive, there's something wrong with him.

  17. #17
    Big Ol' Varmint nice_marmot's Avatar
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    Glad your son is okay.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grillparzer View Post
    An Internet forum isn't the place to get legal advice, for that you need a lawyer.
    This. We don't know what the laws are where you live -- biking could be legal in a crosswalk or not, illegally biking in a crosswalk could void a civil claim or not, etc. Additionally, there might be something you or your son hasn't mentioned that would make a difference in your case.

    Depending on where you are, there might be a bike awareness and/or legal advocacy group that can recommend something. You might also try calling the state bar, a law clinic, or a self-help center. Normally, I think, the insurance company would make a claim against the driver's auto insurance, but based on what you've said it sounds like there's no record of the driver's identity, and therefore nobody to sue.
    "Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

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  18. #18
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    That's a little wack that the police didn't file any sort of report. If you really want to track it down, the police officer might have written it down and if you can get ahold of him he might still have it. Sometimes there are reasons why the police do seemingly odd things. For example, I was told while in Wisconsin that someone passed a lot that basically said that if there was an accident, *someone* had to be blamed and get a ticket. It may be that for the officer to write a report, he would have to give someone a ticket, and he didn't want try to decide to give a ticket to - or he didn't want to give your son a ticket. Or maybe he didn't want to give the other person a ticket, who knows.

    But I made a mistake like this myself - had gotten on the road for a short stretch, was biking the wrong way (for like 100 feet) so that I could bike on the wider shoulder before getting on the next road. At the next road, I went across the intersection because the guy sitting there who was about to go across looked right at me and I would have sworn he looked right at me and made eye contact. Guess I was wrong, because he pulled forward just as I hit the intersection.

    At the time, after I realized I was alright, I was kinda ticked. I mean, the guy looked right at me practically. How could he not see me?

    Years later, I realize in retrospect that the guy probably just didn't expect that there would be a bike coming down the road the wrong way on the wrong shoulder that was going to pull out in front of him. I never had the feeling he wanted to hit me - he was ticked, but because he got in an accident - which is about the opposite of someone who would be willing to hit you. I really think he just didn't see me. And that at some point, it's possible I could make the same mistake he did. It was stupid of me to be on the wrong side of the road - a driver can only look so many directions.

    And the situation you're describing with your son sounds similar.
    - He was riding the wrong way. Yes, for a valid reason, but the person sitting at the intersection can't know that.
    - On the sidewalk.
    - And his friend made it across the intersection without hitting the car, but he did not.
    - The *road* didn't have a stopsign in his direction.
    - So - just think about it for a sec - how *fast* do you think he had to been going that one person on a bike zooms across in front of a car, and the car doesn't have time to stop before the second person rides in front of it?

    So in other words, him and his friends were riding the wrong way, on a sidewalk, and bombed off it at substantial speed in front of a car at a stop sign.

    We all make mistakes, like the ones I made, but what they should have done is gone through the intersection very cautiously as they were going to wrong way. It sounds like they made a mistake. A simple mistake that's like the kind of mistake many of us have made at some point in biking, but a mistake nonetheless.

    Legally speaking, regardless of the reason why, I am certainly not a laywer but usually accidents are legally the fault of the person who was technically breaking the law. It's possible I misunderstood what you wrote, but if they were past the point in the road where there was flooding, they technically should have been back on the other side of the street.

  19. #19
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    If he was riding on a sidewalk and crosswalk and if such is legal in your locale, there is no such thing as right direction/wrong direction, with/against traffic, any more than there would be for a pedestrian. If it's legal to be on the sidewalk, he'd have to follow the same rules as a pedestrian. But...check the laws for your area and see if it is legal to ride on the sidewalk. If it's not, keep quiet and let the incident be forgotten.

  20. #20
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    That amazing commercial has absolutely nothing to do with what we're talking about.

  21. #21
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    Ok, I have to add something.

    For a long time, I've been told this myth from people locally about how it was "illegal to ride on the sidewalk". I had always believed, then one day I though "Hey, I should look it up". Turns out that where I live (Minnesota) - it's a bunch of crap. It's only illegal to bike on the sidewalk in front of a block comprised mostly of storefronts (where I wouldn't bike above 4mph anyways), and where clearly marked. Which is - only like 3% of all the sidewalks.

    Perhaps there's somewhere it's true, but generally this "presumption" that it's illegal is way, way, way overblown.

  22. #22
    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    And then what?
    They spit. Jerks.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Ok, I have to add something.

    For a long time, I've been told this myth from people locally about how it was "illegal to ride on the sidewalk". I had always believed, then one day I though "Hey, I should look it up". Turns out that where I live (Minnesota) - it's a bunch of crap. It's only illegal to bike on the sidewalk in front of a block comprised mostly of storefronts (where I wouldn't bike above 4mph anyways), and where clearly marked. Which is - only like 3% of all the sidewalks.

    Perhaps there's somewhere it's true, but generally this "presumption" that it's illegal is way, way, way overblown.
    This. ^ It's going to vary by location, and is far from universal.

    I can tell you that Ohio does not expressly forbid sidewalk riding. My town only disallows it in a business district.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burton
    When some wild eyed eight foot tall maniac grabs you by the throat and taps the back of your favorite head head against the barroom wall, and he looks crooked in the eye, and he ask you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

  24. #24
    Senior Member KD5NRH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    They weren't pedestrians because they were riding. I don't know what local traffic laws apply to the situation.
    Then you don't know whether they had the rights and duties of pedestrians, as Florida considers a rider on the sidewalk.

  25. #25
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    Ok, I have to add something.

    For a long time, I've been told this myth from people locally about how it was "illegal to ride on the sidewalk". I had always believed, then one day I though "Hey, I should look it up". Turns out that where I live (Minnesota) - it's a bunch of crap. It's only illegal to bike on the sidewalk in front of a block comprised mostly of storefronts (where I wouldn't bike above 4mph anyways), and where clearly marked. Which is - only like 3% of all the sidewalks.

    Perhaps there's somewhere it's true, but generally this "presumption" that it's illegal is way, way, way overblown.
    And the other common myth is:
    "It might be legal to ride on the sidewalk but it is illegal to ride in crosswalks"

    I find that an amazing number of cyclist here even believe it. A senior cop here even told that to a news crew and was quoted in the Honolulu paper. I left a message for him and asked him to please call me back to provide some information. He never called back, but after getting his voice mail several times, he happened to pick up the phone. He finally admitted that there was no such crosswalk law.

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