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Hypothetical situation, legal result of bike trail crosses centerline causing head on

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Hypothetical situation, legal result of bike trail crosses centerline causing head on

Old 08-17-21, 10:35 AM
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Lakerat
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Hypothetical situation, legal result of bike trail crosses centerline causing head on

When I ride on bike trails, I sometimes ride right on the far edge to keep as much distance as possible from cyclists who weave, don't seem in complete control, or appear distracted, I wonder about the legal consequences of bikes colliding with such clear indication of fault. The possibility of injury is significant since closing speed of 30 MPH plus is common. I'll assume there is variability base on state law.
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Old 08-17-21, 10:51 AM
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indyfabz
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A suit for common law negligence would be the likely path.
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Old 08-17-21, 12:06 PM
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Ride where you feel safest under the circumstances and don't worry about how the judge or jury will review it. I find that being too close to the edge of a paved path is often rather bumpy for my taste so I wouldn't likely do your riding strategy, but if it works for you, do it for that reason, not because of your hypothetical prospects at a hypothetical trial..

Tort cases rarely actually go to trial and this kind would probably less likely to than other kinds, not sure if there's any insurance company with deep pockets to make this worth going after.

If you actually get a trial concerning a head-on on a bike path, you and the other party will probably both claim it's the other who caused the accident. The odds that either one of you will be able to prove their version of the story are not great unless you have a GoPro and it just happens to be pointed exactly the right way. So more than likely, it's going t come down to which of you looks less like they are lying.
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Old 08-17-21, 04:10 PM
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I'd try to avoid a head on, even if you think you might prevail in court. The physical damage caused by a collision would be unpredictable. You might set up a crash where you could fault the other rider but end up a veggie. The potential payoff would not be worth the risk, IMO.
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Old 08-17-21, 04:57 PM
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What kind of a trail are you thinking of? Is it one specific trail or in general where pedestrians and using it as well?

30mph is really fast if it's a trail shared with pedestrians or a park recreational trail with dirt, tree branches and animals all over it.

If it's strictly a bicycle roadway where there's no chance of anything other than cyclists on it, then consider a head on collision with another cyclist travelling at 30mph means the both of you will collide at 60mph relative to each other. The mostly likely scenario would be if someone were passing a slow cyclist and is caught on the wrong side of the road.

Yesterday, I was involved in a bicycle collision. I was passing a jogger when another cyclist was trying to pass me at the same time. My regular pace was between ten and fifteen km/hr. Just as I was passing the jogger and headed back to the right side, I suddenly heard and felt the other cyclist's front wheel rub against my right calf and get caught against my peddle. She fell over but I kept in control and stopped. I told her not to pass someone who's in the process of passing someone.

It was all captured on my rear view camera. No damage, no injuries. We both apologized to each other and rode on.

Get a camera or two.
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Old 08-17-21, 08:36 PM
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^ 30mph combined... as 15mph is easily achieved by a rider.

If hard evidence is brought into the equation, then it'd be easily deciphered to who is at fault as long as there's no posted mph.
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Old 08-18-21, 08:49 AM
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All I can say is that each case is different. Just try to ride as safely as you can and avoid accidents. And the suggestion to get a camera is a good one.
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Old 08-18-21, 08:53 AM
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I wouldn't bet on the average negligent bike path user's' ability to pay for any damages. Just keep yourself safe no matter where you are or who is coming toward you. Assume all others who are nearing your space are drunk or stupid or both, and act accordingly.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:27 AM
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We can toss hypothetical stuff around and all the logic we want. But until enough cases go to court and are decided on to make some precedents, then it's just a exercise in how well we can keep our composure and write legitimate thoughts on the subject.
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Old 08-18-21, 09:33 AM
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There have been several crashes on MUPs, I wonder what has come of those that made it to court? It would be difficult to prove in court in most cases without an onboard camera, unless you have surveillance video or enough credible witnesses. Unlike car accidents, which usually have a lot of forensic evidence involved.
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Old 08-18-21, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
We can toss hypothetical stuff around and all the logic we want. But until enough cases go to court and are decided on to make some precedents, then it's just a exercise in how well we can keep our composure and write legitimate thoughts on the subject.
Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
There have been several crashes on MUPs, I wonder what has come of those that made it to court? It would be difficult to prove in court in most cases without an onboard camera, unless you have surveillance video or enough credible witnesses. Unlike car accidents, which usually have a lot of forensic evidence involved.

The vast majority of car crashes do not get to trial mostly because trying the cases is expensive and the allocation of fault by the trier of fact (judge or jury) is really unpredictable. If you're expecting clarity to emerge from a series of court cases, I think you're going to have a very, very long wait. In the meantime, avoid head on collisions.
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Old 08-18-21, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The vast majority of car crashes do not get to trial mostly because trying the cases is expensive and the allocation of fault by the trier of fact (judge or jury) is really unpredictable. If you're expecting clarity to emerge from a series of court cases, I think you're going to have a very, very long wait. In the meantime, avoid head on collisions.
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Old 08-18-21, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
....In the meantime, avoid head on collisions.
Roger That
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Old 08-18-21, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
We can toss hypothetical stuff around and all the logic we want. But until enough cases go to court and are decided on to make some precedents, then it's just a exercise in how well we can keep our composure and write legitimate thoughts on the subject.
Outcomes in such cases are not likely to be precedential because they are fact specific. Who was negligent in that particular incident. And thatís often decided by a jury.
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