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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 02-11-11, 12:43 PM   #1
swc7916
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Local Tandem Team's Accident Report

A local tandem was involved in a collision a couple of days ago and this is a posting of their accident report. The accident is typical - a driver turned left in front of them - but you have to read the driver's excuse in the last paragraph:

"Nothing too original about the accident, we were on a straight stretch of road, in a bike lane, slight downhill with a tailwind, >30 mph, when a car going the opposite way turned left in front of us. We hit the right front quarter panel, the captain rolled over the hood, destroyed the windshield with his shoulder and helmet and finished sitting on the ground just in front of the driver's side door. The stoker stayed with the bike on the passenger side of the car.

The captain bruised one hip/upper thigh and the opposite knee so couldn't stand up, but nothing significant above the waist, amazingly. The stoker fared even better with just some bruises. X-rays and CAT scans at the hospital found nothing broken. They looked very hard for more damage after they heard how fast we'd been going. A few days of pain pills and naps and we'll be fine.

The funny part was, instead of the usual "I never saw them, they came out of nowhere", the driver's story was that she saw us, she knew she'd be cutting us off, but assumed that as a bike we'd have to stop for her!! She said this to the cop and you should have seen his face, and the faces of the witnesses. My first thought was, "OK, that settles who's insurance is paying for this"."
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Old 02-11-11, 12:58 PM   #2
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Well - the best I can say is "At least she was honest". Maybe better than "I didn't see them" or "I had the right of way".

Honesty paired with ignorance. Glad you're (relatively) OK. The insurance company should be glad they're not covering huge medical bills. You should get a nice, new bike out of the deal.
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Old 02-11-11, 01:07 PM   #3
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Honesty paired with ignorance. Glad you're (relatively) OK. The insurance company should be glad they're not covering huge medical bills. You should get a nice, new bike out of the deal.
It wasn't us. I thought others should see this and I got permission from him to post his report.
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Old 02-11-11, 02:14 PM   #4
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...she knew she'd be cutting us off, but assumed that as a bike we'd have to stop for her!!
That would be a great argument for a motorist who lives and drives along Atlanta's PATH system... basically MUPs that parallel roads where the MUPs have stop signs at all of the intersections and drives that cross the MUP. They installed a 3 mile section of this MUP near Kennesaw National Battlefield and continue to expand the thing and it's a no-win situation for cyclists who typically ride on the road instead of sharing MUPs with dog walkers, families out for a stroll or who don't like stopping every few hundred yards once the MUP gets into the stretch lined with subdivisions and a senior center.

So.... not sure what the mix of bike paths and MUPs are where the accident occured, but if they're as un-uniform and screwed up as ours a good lawyer should easily be able to create reasonable doubt in a jury filled with the average motorist who couldn't get out of jury duty... not that this would ever go to a trial.

But, yes... the cyclists should work to extract every cent they're due from the motorists' insurance company.
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Old 02-11-11, 02:50 PM   #5
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..My first thought was, "OK, that settles who's insurance is paying for this"."
More importantly, did the cop write ticket the idiot driver?
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Old 02-11-11, 05:19 PM   #6
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This discussion is interesting, but I keep getting a slow-motion nightmare vision of a driver turning in front of me and my wife, followed by horrible sounds of breaking bones and bending metal. OUCH!

I'm very glad the tandem couple is OK, and I'll be even more paranoid than usual as we ride.

Last edited by mwandaw; 02-11-11 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 02-11-11, 06:05 PM   #7
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It could have been much worse scenario for the tandemistas.
Something to be said for helmets . . .
Damage to the bike? Sounds like a least bent wheels/messed up frame/paint.
In all 3 major hits we've had with cars/trucks, each time the driver got the ticket.
Pedal on!
Rudy and Kay/zonatandem
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Old 02-11-11, 11:36 PM   #8
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I had a city employee do something similar to me along a bike path (i was on a bike, he was in a pick-up). He said the same thing. I mean, he actually said, "cars have the right-of-way over bikes". I was astounded. I chewed him out a bit and recited a few chapters and verses of the state vehicle code to him. I worry not so much that so many of our fellow citizens are uneducated as that so many may just be uneducatable.

I am glad the folks in the wreck described in the OP will likely recover quickly, at least physically.
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Old 02-12-11, 02:37 AM   #9
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When you say "bike lane", do you mean a bike lane that was part of the regular roadway, or was it a separated bike path? Either way, the driver was clearly in the wrong. However, if it was a separated bike path then this is a clear illustration of why I normally try to avoid those. By using paths separated from the road, you remove the danger of a collision from behind, but I find that the danger of a collision from a vehicle crossing the path is magnified many times above what it would be if I was riding on the road. IME, bike lanes that are part of the regular road are not nearly as much of a problem in this respect.
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