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  1. #1
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Near Accident today...feeling shook up

    Hi guys... my nervous system is a wreck and the adrenaline is still pumping through me as I type this. I almost got left crossed, here's how it happened ( see drawing for clarification)

    I was riding from my apt in DT LA on Wilshire and Bixel. I was making a quick trip to the ATM a few blocks away and was on my way back. I had just washed my helmet straps (smelly from sweating on my daily commute) and left it out to dry, so I did NOT have my helmet on. I hate riding without it, but I stupidly thought Id be ok because of the short distance.
    I was riding the sidewalk because 1) I had no helmet and felt vulnerable on the road 2) the road has no bike lane, is narrow with parked cars on the right, and is extremely dark bc of trees blocking the street lights 3) everyone speeds here and I have personally witnessed accidents here nearly every week

    I had just entered the crosswalk with a green light when a BMW 7 made a left coming right at me. Everything seemed in slow motion and I braced for impact. Somehow, I swerved or sped up juuuuust enough so that he missed my rear wheel by mere millimeters. I don't know how I didn't get hit with that heavy ass car - it was a miracle. I then fell of my bike as I lost my balance from swerving. The driver did stop and we had a discussion afterwards but I was too shook to be coherent. The cannondale seems to be ok and I have no injuries.

    The driver mentioned how he thought that I was at fault because I came from the sidewalk. One witness said that I have right of way, while another blamed me saying that it was illegal to ride the sidewalk. I am sure I was already in the crosswalk when he started his left and sped at me. I have a bright ass light too so it seems he just simply wasn't paying attention. He would have hit a pedestrian had one been in the crosswalk. Was I in the wrong here? Is it illegal to ride in the sidewalk? Would I have been found at fault if the police had came?

    Thanks guys for reading, I just had to let it out because I am still very shook up and do not want to ride again for a while.
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  2. #2
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    Don't ride the sidewalk unless you have to.

    Strangely enough, cars will not be looking for you when they're pulling in/out of driveways/corners.

    Yes, it is legal, so long as you're not being disruptive. Some cities will have signs posted saying it's illegal, since they have bike lanes. Santa Monica near Beverly Hills has signs like that posted up.

    And finally, at the risk of sounding like a jerk, I'm sorry you're shook up and all, but I myself ride through that street in day time, and deal with the workday traffic. I've gone through at night-mostly K-Town, when I lived near there. It's better to have a light and ride on the street with your radar up.
    Be safe, sucks that that happened, good thing that was the worst.

  3. #3
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
    Don't ride the sidewalk unless you have to.

    Strangely enough, cars will not be looking for you when they're pulling in/out of driveways/corners.

    Yes, it is legal, so long as you're not being disruptive. Some cities will have signs posted saying it's illegal, since they have bike lanes. Santa Monica near Beverly Hills has signs like that posted up.

    And finally, at the risk of sounding like a jerk, I'm sorry you're shook up and all, but I myself ride through that street in day time, and deal with the workday traffic. I've gone through at night-mostly K-Town, when I lived near there. It's better to have a light and ride on the street with your radar up.
    Be safe, sucks that that happened, good thing that was the worst.

    Thanks for the insight and No you don't sound like a jerk... I know I wasn't technically supposed to be there (and I will never do it again) but I'm just curious - if there was an accident who would be at fault.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Might be a good idea to have a spare helmet.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike F's Avatar
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    Because of the parked cars, I think you're decision to ride on the sidewalk made you hard or impossible to see for the BMW driver and you probably did take him by surprise in the crosswalk. My quick reading of the posted VC is that had an collision occurred you would had been found at fault (however a cyclist being at fault is pretty much the police default position unless the driver is drunk or flees).

    I do think it's an excellent idea to ride with a headlight--just don't make it too high powered during the day so not to annoy people. A spare helmet is also in order. And it goes without saying, have insurance if you ride a bike because had you been hurt and boarded for evaluation at a ER, you're expenses easily would have exceeded $10K--a $100 co-pay is much easier to take.

  7. #7
    Bendo Bendopolo's Avatar
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    Cars hurt no matter who is at fault. Give them a wide berth. If you aren't sure of how a situation is developing stop or bail out. Always try to get eye contact and some sort of recognition. Hand signals help. I used to say stay off the sidewalks until 'text while drivers' have sent me jumping curbs. Pedestrians rule on the side walk so slow down when present. Don't let yourself get hit. It takes two to create an accident. Pay attention, follow the laws, its all we can do.

  8. #8
    Half Fast mwandaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bendopolo View Post
    Cars hurt no matter who is at fault. Give them a wide berth. If you aren't sure of how a situation is developing stop or bail out. Always try to get eye contact and some sort of recognition. Hand signals help. I used to say stay off the sidewalks until 'text while drivers' have sent me jumping curbs. Pedestrians rule on the side walk so slow down when present. Don't let yourself get hit. It takes two to create an accident. Pay attention, follow the laws, its all we can do.
    I think this is good advice except... "Always try to get eye contact...". My suggestion is that you never trust eye contact, because people have looked right at me and then almost hit me. I think in reality they were looking in my direction, but did not actually see me. Instead, assume they do not see you. Look at their front wheels. If they start to rotate, take whatever evasive action is needed.
    Not slow, not fast, but Half Fast!

  9. #9
    Senior Member JTGraphics's Avatar
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    Glad you did not get hit first of all.

    But I have to say riding your bike in the cross walk or sidewalk is not a good idea.
    I treat it like this if you want to ride your bike across intersections do so in the right of the lane closest to the curb unless situations call for other wise.
    If you want to be in the cross walk you should take the roll of a pedestrian and walk.
    Simple ride in the street, sidewalk and crosswalks walk.

    But I am glad you are OK ride safe! and always wear a helmet I make the kids wear one even to go down the driveway even if it's just one time up and back!
    Last edited by JTGraphics; 07-27-13 at 10:30 PM.
    It may not be fancy but it gets me were I need to go.
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  10. #10
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    Ah, good point, eye contact...
    Hate cars with darkened front windows, especially police cars, can't tell where the driver is looking, I won't commit until I know what the drivers going to do, If I stop traffic, to bad... No eye contact or idea of a drivers intentions and I'm stopping, if I piss someone off, hey, I'm obeying the law, the obstruction of visual continuity is breaking the law.

    I'd rather look at the eyes or see the hands, the wheels are a last resort.
    Err, the op was a pedestrian traveling to fast.

  11. #11
    so cal com John R's Avatar
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    Your ok.....He's ok.....apply any lesson learned from this......thank God your ok.....Keep riding...Every day is a new day!!!
    Pain is Weakness Leaving The Body[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC].

  12. #12
    Slogging along rubic's Avatar
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    It was your fault. Riding on the sidewalk is an infraction in California. Not only that, the driver was looking for vehicles approaching from the opposing lane, not from the sidewalk, moving faster than pedestrians at that. Consider yourself lucky and don't repeat this behavior.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    As soon as my kids were old enough, I made sure that they rode in the street, not on the sidewalk, to avoid this type of accident.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  14. #14
    Bendo Bendopolo's Avatar
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    At least you got to see the moron that almost took you down. Eye contact is different than" I can see your face "contact. Many blank slates out there to be sure. Be seen, wear bright clothing, keep your lights on in traffic. Remember the second option...Bail out of the situation. Flair wide, go around, always have an out. If you can't, you are going too fast for the situation, slow down. If you feel the need for reckless speed, do it out in the boonies where you can only take yourself out. I say that because we are all somewhat addrenaline junkies. Be safe and reign in your inner speed child. Hold it in your soul until you can finally let it go. I let it go on Santiago road, three times a week.

  15. #15
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    Luckily, LA allows riding on sidewalks (if done safely), but LA still requires you meet all reflectors/lights required first.

    So you are at fault for not using a headlight and reflectors.

    http://www.bicyclela.org/Law.htm


    Equipment Requirements


    CVC 21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    (b) No person shall operate on the highway a bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his hands above the level of his shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.

    (c) No person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it in a safe manner.
    (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following:

    (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
    (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
    (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
    (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors.
    (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).

  16. #16
    Certifiably crazy! Carloswithac's Avatar
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    When crossing the sidewalk was the green pedestrian light on or was the red hand on?
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    There actually was a guy on A&S a month ago who kept arguing that riding on the sidewalk was the safest thing to do. Your story demonstrates why that's such a crock.
    I have one place near my house where I actually do ride on the sidewalk, because making a left turn is next to impossible there. I never ride more than 5 mph on it, and when it hits the street again, I stop and look both ways. I think as a cyclist you're actually less visible than a pedestrian on the sidewalks, mainly because motorists are looking out for pedestrians (sometimes) but they don't look out for cyclists at all.
    Scott CR1 Team

  18. #18
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwandaw View Post
    I think this is good advice except... "Always try to get eye contact...". My suggestion is that you never trust eye contact, because people have looked right at me and then almost hit me. I think in reality they were looking in my direction, but did not actually see me. Instead, assume they do not see you. Look at their front wheels. If they start to rotate, take whatever evasive action is needed.
    Thanks for the advice, it was dark so I couldn't see his face. Also, he accelerated at me very fast and I was going super slow - less than 8 mph. I am sure that if I was a pedestrian or runner already in the crosswalk, he would have hit me bc he simply wasn't looking.
    Last edited by MoreBlackSwan; 07-29-13 at 02:32 AM.

  19. #19
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTGraphics View Post
    Glad you did not get hit first of all.

    But I have to say riding your bike in the cross walk or sidewalk is not a good idea.
    I treat it like this if you want to ride your bike across intersections do so in the right of the lane closest to the curb unless situations call for other wise.
    If you want to be in the cross walk you should take the roll of a pedestrian and walk.
    Simple ride in the street, sidewalk and crosswalks walk.

    But I am glad you are OK ride safe! and always wear a helmet I make the kids wear one even to go down the driveway even if it's just one time up and back!

    Thank you. It was one of those 'go two blocks from my house at 5-10 mph' rides to do an errand.
    Even now, Just 5 minutes before typing this, there was another accident at that intersection. This happens at least once a week at nighttime. Cars just speed or race there for some reason.
    Next time, I'll just walk it.
    Last edited by MoreBlackSwan; 07-29-13 at 02:33 AM.

  20. #20
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John R View Post
    Your ok.....He's ok.....apply any lesson learned from this......thank God your ok.....Keep riding...Every day is a new day!!!
    Thanks John, good mindset. I went back out there today and did the DT LA to Venice Beach to Palos Verdes ride and felt pretty good. Can't let the fear hold me back!!
    Last edited by MoreBlackSwan; 07-29-13 at 02:07 AM.

  21. #21
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubic View Post
    It was your fault. Riding on the sidewalk is an infraction in California. Not only that, the driver was looking for vehicles approaching from the opposing lane, not from the sidewalk, moving faster than pedestrians at that. Consider yourself lucky and don't repeat this behavior.

    Actually, I'm going to argue that it varies by city and is not an infraction in LA.

    Looking back, it is dangerous to ride in the side walk, but my reasoning is that
    1) it was at night with absolutely no pedestrians going two blocks from my house
    2) I had all necessary lights - very bright front handlebar light and was wearing a bright red jacket
    3) I was going less than 8 mph
    4) I was already in the crosswalk, and he nearly missed hitting my back tire meaning I was already in front of him
    5) I was planning on making a left after crossing the intersection. If I made the regular left like a vehicle, I would have to wait in the left-most lane, which is not a turn lane (like much of LA) which means that I would be very vulnerable to cars planning on going straight who cant see me stopped, waiting to make a left at the light (yes I have a rear blinking light). Cars tend to speed/race here.

    Yes, it was dangerous to ride in the sidewalk but I don't think it's illegal in LA...
    That said, never again....
    Last edited by MoreBlackSwan; 07-29-13 at 02:36 AM.

  22. #22
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigJeff View Post
    Luckily, LA allows riding on sidewalks (if done safely), but LA still requires you meet all reflectors/lights required first.

    So you are at fault for not using a headlight and reflectors.

    http://www.bicyclela.org/Law.htm


    Equipment Requirements


    CVC 21201. (a) No person shall operate a bicycle on a roadway unless it is equipped with a brake which will enable the operator to make one braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    (b) No person shall operate on the highway a bicycle equipped with handlebars so raised that the operator must elevate his hands above the level of his shoulders in order to grasp the normal steering grip area.

    (c) No person shall operate upon a highway a bicycle that is of a size that prevents the operator from safely stopping the bicycle, supporting it in an upright position with at least one foot on the ground, and restarting it in a safe manner.
    (d) A bicycle operated during darkness upon a highway, a sidewalk where bicycle operation is not prohibited by the local jurisdiction, or a bikeway, as defined in Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, shall be equipped with all of the following:

    (1) A lamp emitting a white light that, while the bicycle is in motion, illuminates the highway, sidewalk, or bikeway in front of the bicyclist and is visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle.
    (2) A red reflector on the rear that shall be visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle.
    (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
    (4) A white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle, and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle, except that bicycles that are equipped with reflectorized tires on the front and the rear need not be equipped with these side reflectors.
    (e) A lamp or lamp combination, emitting a white light, attached to the operator and visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and from the sides of the bicycle, may be used in lieu of the lamp required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (d).
    Thanks Big Jeff for digging up the specific ruling, but I DID have all required lights and reflectors including a bright headlight and rear blinking red light, reflectors on the pedals, wearing a bright red jacket, with a white bike going less than 8mph. I'm a pretty big guy and hard to miss too -_____-
    Last edited by MoreBlackSwan; 07-29-13 at 02:20 AM.

  23. #23
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carloswithac View Post
    When crossing the sidewalk was the green pedestrian light on or was the red hand on?
    Green pedestrian light. It was a fresh light, and had just turned green about 5-10 seconds prior.

  24. #24
    Member MoreBlackSwan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    I have one place near my house where I actually do ride on the sidewalk, because making a left turn is next to impossible there. I never ride more than 5 mph on it, and when it hits the street again, I stop and look both ways. I think as a cyclist you're actually less visible than a pedestrian on the sidewalks, mainly because motorists are looking out for pedestrians (sometimes) but they don't look out for cyclists at all.
    This is actually a big reason why I was on the sidewalk there - I was going to make a left after the crosswalk. There was no left turn lane and it would have been dangerous to stop in the left-most lane. But yeah, I'm fairly new to road cycling and am finding quickly how little drivers look for us. I'm learning more and more everyday, and this was definitely a lesson learned.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BigJeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoreBlackSwan View Post
    Thanks Big Jeff for digging up the specific ruling, but I DID have all required lights and reflectors including a bright headlight and rear blinking red light, reflectors on the pedals, wearing a bright red jacket, with a white bike going less than 8mph. I'm a pretty big guy and hard to miss too -_____-
    Oh that sucks....

    I guess you now just defer to the article about BMW's and Bicycles.

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