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Was I at fault?

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Was I at fault?

Old 05-24-24, 09:45 PM
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Was I at fault?

Was l (or would I have been) at fault here, or would the other bike/cyclist have been? I was on a neighborhood side street (on a road bike), at the extreme right side of the street, next to the curb. I was out of the saddle, cranking up a slight incline, and going about 15-16mph. Just at the crest of the incline I turned RIGHT onto another side street. Admittedly, at the moment my head was down, and I wasn’t exactly looking ahead. But then, just around the turn, I looked in the nick of time, and just barely missed colliding with another bike being ridden by a teenage girl on the same side of the street, in the opposite direction.


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Old 05-24-24, 09:47 PM
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She was on the wrong side of the road?
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Old 05-24-24, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
She was on the wrong side of the road?
Yes. But as I said…had I not been looking down I could have easily averted the situation.

Dan
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Old 05-24-24, 10:15 PM
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Her fault, but always try to ride and drive defensively. You also could have run into something that was supposed to be there, like a car about to back up to parallel park.
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Old 05-24-24, 10:33 PM
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ForceD: I bet you will be more alert after this near miss. This situation was all to common when I and the wife lived in a college town. A friend of ours died of a broken neck from a wrong way rider. A student going the wrong way on a marked path attempted to make me liable for his dental work when he bounced off of our two wheeled cart. I totaled a Honda Spree with my Stump Jumper. Yes she was going the wrong way and I had parked cars on my right.
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Old 05-24-24, 10:52 PM
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No. She was salmoning from the sounds of it. Glad you didn't hit her.
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Old 05-24-24, 11:26 PM
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Yes, you would have been at fault as would also be the salmon. You're always responsible for avoiding collisions in front, with the only excuse being if it were unavoidable. Just take a moment to consider that, instead of a salmon, it was a child retrieving his ball.

Of course, that doesn't excuse the salmon, if there were serious injury, it would probably end up lawyers negotiating shared blame.

BTW- if upon seeing her, you swung out to avoid collision, and she ran into the case would be much simpler.
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Old 05-25-24, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
Yes, you would have been at fault as would also be the salmon. You're always responsible for avoiding collisions in front, with the only excuse being if it were unavoidable.
It seems if there had been a collision it would have been unavoidable by definition. Although his head was momentarily down, the salmon was cycling down the street the wrong way and had also not managed to avoid the collision.

Originally Posted by FBinNY
Just take a moment to consider that, instead of a salmon, it was a child retrieving his ball.
A child retrieving his ball would have been easier to avoid than a salmon due to the difference in closing speeds with respect to _ForceD_.

Originally Posted by FBinNY
Of course, that doesn't excuse the salmon, if there were serious injury, it would probably end up lawyers negotiating shared blame.
The salmon would be liable for the vast majority of the blame as her wrong way cycling was prima facie reckless.

Originally Posted by FBinNY
BTW- if upon seeing her, you swung out to avoid collision, and she ran into the case would be much simpler.
Swinging out risks getting hit side on and ending up on the roadway to be run over by a motor vehicle.
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Old 05-25-24, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
Yes. But as I said…had I not been looking down I could have easily averted the situation.

Dan
I think you would both show some fault. She should have been obeying the laws of the road and you should have been more alert. I am guessing if lawyers got involved here speed would come into play. ie was she just plodding along or was she going too fast for you to avoid her even had you had your head up.
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Old 05-25-24, 09:28 AM
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Maybe she was just cutting the corner and headed for the left sidewalk. I do that lots.
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Old 05-25-24, 10:04 AM
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There’s the legal fault to consider, and I could see that going several ways. But I think the OP is really asking, did I screw up? The answer is yes. You weren’t looking where you were going. Was the other person doing something wrong too? Again yes.

We all make mistakes, and cycling is no different. I screw up while riding sometimes and I’m thankful, when it involved another person, that they were paying better attention than me.

I try to be honest with myself. Accept responsibility to myself about a near miss or not handling the situation properly. I’ll think through how best to handle it next time. I do this even if I did nothing wrong, but could do something different to keep me safer.

This is also one reason I don’t get all bent out of shape when someone else makes a mistake. We all make mistakes. I try to learn from them.
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Old 05-25-24, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53
Maybe she was just cutting the corner and headed for the left sidewalk. I do that lots.
Please don't.
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Old 05-25-24, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
I try to be honest with myself. Accept responsibility to myself about a near miss or not handling the situation properly. I’ll think through how best to handle it next time. I do this even if I did nothing wrong, but could do something different to keep me safer.
This is a good answer.

Story time. A few months ago I was hit from behind by another cyclist. We had finished a group ride and everyone was riding separately back to where our vehicles were parked. This rider was about a half block behind me on a quiet residential street when I stopped at an uncontrolled intersection for a car entering from my right. I came to a full stop (gently, not a panic stop) and put my foot down just as the rider behind me ran into me, having apparently not seen me or slowed at all. I was knocked from my bike but basically uninjured; he went flying off his bike out into the intersection and hit his head badly on the pavement. I ran up to him and found him unconscious with blood dripping through his cracked helmet. Thankfully 911 was able to send an ambulance very quickly, and he was waking up by the time the EMTs arrived. I don't know him personally but I'm told he has recovered well and has no memory of the incident. I'm also told that he has had at least one similar incident in the past where he ran into a vehicle which was parked somewhat blocking the roadway.

Lessons learned:
- I don't believe I was in any way at fault in this situation, but I sure wish I had called out an audible "STOPPING" as I slowed. He was well behind me — far enough that it was absolutely his responsibility to see and avoid, but I did know he was somewhere back there and the accident would likely have been avoided if I had proactively communicated verbally.
- Keep your head up! I can only assume that he had his head down (although it was a flat road) and was pedaling along assuming all was clear in front of him. This was of course tremendously unwise given the circumstances, but it has caused me to realize the situations in which I too put my head down for longer than I should.
- And, of course: wear your helmet. I was already a religious helmet-wearer, but seeing an accident like this first-hand was certainly a reminder of how fragile our heads are and that it doesn't take impact with a car or tree to create an impact that can do serious damage. Thinking of how different this would have gone had he not been wearing a helmet terrifies me.
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Old 05-25-24, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by retswerb
This is a good answer.

Story time. A few months ago I was hit from behind by another cyclist. We had finished a group ride and everyone was riding separately back to where our vehicles were parked. This rider was about a half block behind me on a quiet residential street when I stopped at an uncontrolled intersection for a car entering from my right. I came to a full stop (gently, not a panic stop) and put my foot down just as the rider behind me ran into me, having apparently not seen me or slowed at all. I was knocked from my bike but basically uninjured; he went flying off his bike out into the intersection and hit his head badly on the pavement. I ran up to him and found him unconscious with blood dripping through his cracked helmet. Thankfully 911 was able to send an ambulance very quickly, and he was waking up by the time the EMTs arrived. I don't know him personally but I'm told he has recovered well and has no memory of the incident. I'm also told that he has had at least one similar incident in the past where he ran into a vehicle which was parked somewhat blocking the roadway.

Lessons learned:
- I don't believe I was in any way at fault in this situation, but I sure wish I had called out an audible "STOPPING" as I slowed. He was well behind me — far enough that it was absolutely his responsibility to see and avoid, but I did know he was somewhere back there and the accident would likely have been avoided if I had proactively communicated verbally.
- Keep your head up! I can only assume that he had his head down (although it was a flat road) and was pedaling along assuming all was clear in front of him. This was of course tremendously unwise given the circumstances, but it has caused me to realize the situations in which I too put my head down for longer than I should.
- And, of course: wear your helmet. I was already a religious helmet-wearer, but seeing an accident like this first-hand was certainly a reminder of how fragile our heads are and that it doesn't take impact with a car or tree to create an impact that can do serious damage. Thinking of how different this would have gone had he not been wearing a helmet terrifies me.
It certainly wouldn't hurt to call out stopping,. But if he was that far back, I doubt he would have heard you or heard you clearly enough for him to think it applied to him. That guy was clearly zoning out while riding. He hit you at serious speed. I'm glad he apparently recovered, but I hope he learned his lesson.

Whether riding or driving, there's really no excuse for running into something that is not moving short of someone deliberately suddenly stopping in front of you.

I really don't relate to the head down way of riding. I do it very briefly (a few seconds at a time at the most) and only after I've clearly seen that there is nothing for several hundred feet in front of me. And even then, only if I'm fighting some headwind. No side streets or intersections. Basically I only do that on a rural highway. The only possible threat would be an animal running out in front of me. I never ride head-down in town. Of course, I glance down all the time to check for debris and such. But that's just part of my overall scanning while riding.

Of course, I make mistakes, but running into stationary objects has not been one of them. I know I just jinxed myself.
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Old 05-25-24, 10:01 PM
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Regarding hit-from-behind by fellow bicyclist crashes: I've had two, both while I was leading club rides.

One was as we were crossing a busy arterial street and had to hold the group in the median as an unexpected vehicle entered the street and accelerated. I called the group to stop, stopped myself, and a few seconds later was hit by one of the other riders. She was hurt but not enough for medical transport, but what irked me was she said she assumed that she would always be able to just keep going once we started a crossing, despite my explicit directives otherwise. She didn't ride much with us after that.

The second was at a signal that had just turned red as I signaled and called a stop. An 85-year-old (at the time) rider was a weekly regular on his long-wheelbase recumbent, and he buried that front wheel in my rear bag at nearly 10 mph. He was uninjured, but I wrenched my back from the impact, but still able to ride. I asked him what happened, and he couldn't really give me an answer. He was better about reacting after that, but not long after his reaction time and balance had slipped to where he hung up the bike for good, and passed some time later. We still talk about him, and someone usually mentions how considerate I was to act as his personal attenuator.
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Old 05-25-24, 10:14 PM
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Regarding the OP's situation: the other rider was clearly violating the law. Had you struck her, you could have been cited for failure to avoid or speed too fast for conditions, but if so it would only be just if the other rider was cited for wrong-way travel.

I used to think that wrong-way riding was sufficiently per se negligent as to bar recovery of damages, but the experience of an acquaintance indicates otherwise. He was riding at night against traffic on a sidewalk and was struck and seriously injured by a turning motor vehicle. He was using lights, but they would not have been visible to the turning driver until just before impact due to approach angles. He was able to fully recover damages against the driver's insurance, even though a reasonable and prudent driver may not have been able to see and react to him in time. Apparently an injured bicyclist, regardless of actions, is a very sympathetic victim in litigation around here, and negligence is secondary to severity. He's doing fine, although I do advise him to not place himself in those types of risky situations in the future. But again, many riders see being hit from behind as the greatest overall risk, and engage in behavior to reduce that which can expose them to even greater serious crash risk.
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Old 05-26-24, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by RCMoeur
He's doing fine, although I do advise him to not place himself in those types of risky situations in the future. But again, many riders see being hit from behind as the greatest overall risk, and engage in behavior to reduce that which can expose them to even greater serious crash risk.
Some "advocates" see riding on a path, lane, shoulder or trail adjacent to a traffic lane with moving traffic as a greater risk than traveling in the traffic lane, regardless of the speed or density of the motor traffic or condition of the adjacent way, and encourage behavior which can expose bicyclists to greater risk of serious injury due to include increased exposure to high speed crashes with motor vehicles and the likely higher injury severity of such crashes.

Note that for some riders, apparently the overall risk and disadvantages from riding on an adjacent path/lane/shoulder environment that may restrict riding as fast as possible at all times, outweighs the overall risk of relying on the alleged advantages of "taking the lane" behavior, regardless of the traffic environment.
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Old 05-26-24, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Some "advocates" see riding on a path, lane, shoulder or trail adjacent to a traffic lane with moving traffic as a greater risk than traveling in the traffic lane,.....
Though I barely qualify as an advocate these days, you can count me among those who eschew, parallel bike lanes in most cases.

Since I don't live by set rules, and see everything as a situation, none apply here either.

However, IME most parallel bikes don't fit my needs, either for efficient transit or recreation for various reasons; pavement, litter, congestion, intersection risks, etc.

So, I generally prefer the lightening bolt odds of riding in the road, which has served me well for almost 60 years, to the death by a thousand cuts of most bike lanes.
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Old 05-26-24, 03:00 PM
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The other party would be more at fault but both parties have some fault. People riding the wrong way are the worst. However we should do our best to pay attention.
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Old 05-26-24, 03:02 PM
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Clearly the OP has no fault under any legal definition. The other rider was riding on the wrong side of the road, the OP was not. OP was clearly where he was supposed to be. All cyclists are required to follow the MV laws, other rider was not, OP was. Doesn’t matter if he was paying attention as much as he needed to, would not have mattered if other rider was riding where she was supposed to.
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Old 05-26-24, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B.
Clearly the OP has no fault under any legal definition. ......
Sorry not clearly at all, and not even murky.

Laws vary by state, so there may be exceptions, but violations by others do not relieve operators of their own responsibility.

Both parties are at fault. If there were a need to legally apportion responsibility it would turn on details and how lawyers frame their arguments.

BTW, this would be an example of why one should careful about what's said after an accident. Fault would lie with the salmon until you say, "I was looking down while cornering".
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Old 05-26-24, 06:01 PM
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When riding my road bike I find I must constantly remind myself to concentrate on looking far enough down the road to avoid any possible hazards that may jump in my way, all while keeping an eye on the condition of the roadway immediately before me looking for a pothole or debris. I try to be brief when looking at my computer or looking down to see which gear I’m in and then immediately sweep my eyes back to the roadway. This takes constant vigilance and gets more difficult as I get tired toward the end of my ride. In my area I have to watch out for wild turkeys amongst other creatures.
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Old 05-26-24, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ARider2
When riding my road bike I find I must constantly remind myself to concentrate on looking far enough down the road to avoid any possible hazards that may jump in my way, all while keeping an eye on the condition of the roadway immediately before me looking for a pothole or debris. I try to be brief when looking at my computer or looking down to see which gear I’m in and then immediately sweep my eyes back to the roadway. This takes constant vigilance and gets more difficult as I get tired toward the end of my ride. In my area I have to watch out for wild turkeys amongst other creatures.
Oh, so you have it EASY. When I'm on 2 lane roads, I have to watch both front and behind for hundreds of semi trucks of all kinds. Many have wide loads, on flatbeds. Like 12 foot tires for 100T dump trucks or grain silos.
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Old 05-26-24, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53
Oh, so you have it EASY. When I'm on 2 lane roads, I have to watch both front and behind for hundreds of semi trucks of all kinds. Many have wide loads, on flatbeds. Like 12 foot tires for 100T dump trucks or grain silos.
Yep, though I grew up riding in NYC traffic, I never appreciated close passes until Maine.

Getting passed at 55mph+ by a lumber hauler stacked high and wide changed my perspective.
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