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Hit by a car, now what?

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Hit by a car, now what?

Old 02-24-09, 08:37 PM
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ms2
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Hit by a car, now what?

I got hit by a car a little more than two weeks ago. I brushed off the incident because I wasn't severely injured or was my bike damaged. I just had a bruised knee that I iced and it was all good in a couple of days.

So this is how the incident happened: I am overtaking a car on the right when the driver abruptly pulled over to the right. I am next to the car and pedaled around the car. Her side mirror caught my left knee and the mirror came right off. She never signaled right nor did she brake to slow down to pull over (her brake lights didn't come on, so I assumed she didn't brake but coasted into the right).

I never pass vehicles on the right if I see that they want to turn right or signaling right or near a intersection. But I pass vehicles on the right carefully when I am going faster than them, which is when they are accelerating or slowing down at a stop.

She filed a claim with her insurance company and they contacted me quite some time after the accident. I was perfectly fine by now and told the AAA representative that I was fine. AAA sent a letter to me stating that I have two years from the incident to file a law suit or settle the claim if I was injured.

However, the driver now wants me to pay for her side mirror because it got knocked right off when she drove into me. I refused to pay for anything when she was the one at fault. And she said that she will take it to the "authority." Should I be worry about this?
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Old 02-24-09, 08:57 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it... her trying to report such a minor incident several weeks after the fact isn't going to go far... and worse case she takes you to small claims court and you have to go talk to a judge.

Seriously not worth the effort on her end, especially since she's pretty likely to not get anything.

edit: If she contacted me again, I'd mention the letter stating that you have 2 years to file a personal injury claim against her insurance and that you think your knee MIGHT be injured and you were thinking about going in for an MRI on it... just to make sure.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:00 PM
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Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this, but from what I gather, you rode into the mirror from behind and the driver shifted to the right while remaining in the same lane? If that's the case, it seems you might be at fault. Either way, a mirror shouldn't be that big of a deal.

For future reference, I only pass on the right only if 1) I have an empty right turn lane to filter in OR 2) I ride at 5-10mph. Any other situation, I pass on the left (more room) or don't pass at all.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:01 PM
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AAA would not have sent you a letter stating you had 2 years to settle the claim if they thought you were at fault.
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Old 02-24-09, 09:16 PM
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Tell AAA you will settle for $25K That outa shut her up :O)
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Old 02-24-09, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this, but from what I gather, you rode into the mirror from behind and the driver shifted to the right while remaining in the same lane? If that's the case, it seems you might be at fault. Either way, a mirror shouldn't be that big of a deal.

For future reference, I only pass on the right only if 1) I have an empty right turn lane to filter in OR 2) I ride at 5-10mph. Any other situation, I pass on the left (more room) or don't pass at all.
You are misinterpreting it a little bit. She turned right and drove into me. She didn't drift. I pedaled around the car to avoid her. It's like a motorist changing lane (to the right) and then getting their mirror hit off by the other driver overtaking them and then blaming the other driver for driving into their car.

I follow what you do most of the time. It's just that on this route it is very busy with cars and drivers often don't slow down for cyclists who want to change lanes.

Thanks everyone for input. If she contacts me again I'll mention the letter.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:07 PM
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I hate to be the one that raises this question, but you say you were overtaking the car:
Originally Posted by ms2 View Post
So this is how the incident happened: I am overtaking a car on the right when the driver abruptly pulled over to the right. I am next to the car and pedaled around the car.
Was the slowing and you overtook the car, or is this a misstatement? Was the car in the rightmost travel lane? Was there a bike lane?

Are you in the U.S.?
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Old 02-24-09, 10:44 PM
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Nobody was hurt, and there was only very minor damage to the car. It sounds like AAA wants to drop the case. Maybe the OP should do the same.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I hate to be the one that raises this question, but you say you were overtaking the car:


Was the slowing and you overtook the car, or is this a misstatement? Was the car in the rightmost travel lane? Was there a bike lane?

Are you in the U.S.?
Shouldn't matter if the driver was slowing or not. If there was no signaling taking place, how would the OP now she was going to turn? It's also her responsibility to make sure she's not going to hit anything as she makes a turn. This is pretty much a right hook, and we all know that the motorist is as fault for that.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
Shouldn't matter if the driver was slowing or not. If there was no signaling taking place, how would the OP now she was going to turn? It's also her responsibility to make sure she's not going to hit anything as she makes a turn. This is pretty much a right hook, and we all know that the motorist is as fault for that.
No we do not all know that.

Its really stupid to pass a motorist on the right when they can legally turn right from their lane. The OP should take this as a lesson learned and take some sort of education course. Many bicyclists are killed in these situations especially when a truck is involved.

Even if I am visiting a city with terrible bicycle lanes, like Portland, I leave the bike lane and take my place in line to avoid this very situation.

It would be the motorists fault if she had passed the OP and then turned right. That is also a right hook but with an entirely different set of circumstances leading up to it.

To this poster: You always look behind to make sure some nutty bicyclist is not illegally passing you before making a right turn in an auto? I sure dont.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I hate to be the one that raises this question, but you say you were overtaking the car:


Was the slowing and you overtook the car, or is this a misstatement? Was the car in the rightmost travel lane? Was there a bike lane?

Are you in the U.S.?
It was hard to perceive if the car was slowing down since there were no signal whatsoever (no braking signal or turning signal). Either coasting or staying at a constant speed.

I believe it's a Class III bike route. There is a bike lane a mile before thus making it a Class II during that part, I think.

Yes, I'm in CA.

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
Shouldn't matter if the driver was slowing or not. If there was no signaling taking place, how would the OP now she was going to turn? It's also her responsibility to make sure she's not going to hit anything as she makes a turn. This is pretty much a right hook, and we all know that the motorist is as fault for that.
I hate right hooks as much as anyone. But I don't think you can call this a right hook. I would assert that the primary element of the right hook is that the motorist overtakes a cyclist and turns right before completing the pass. In this case, the motorist had no idea that the OP was to her right.

I don't think denigrating the OP is called for here. I'm sure it looked perfectly safe until things went sour. I have passed people on the right, particularly when I was pretty sure they were turning left. Just did it the other day. Granted, I was prepared to get right hooked.

Last edited by unterhausen; 02-24-09 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 02-24-09, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by California Vehicle Code (VC) 16000 (a)
The driver of a motor vehicle who is in any manner involved in an accident originating from the operation of the motor vehicle on a street or highway, or is involved in a reportable off-highway accident, as defined in Section 16000.1, that has resulted in damage to the property of any one person in excess of seven hundred fifty dollars ($750), or in bodily injury, or in the death of any person shall report the accident, within ten days after the accident, either personally or through an insurance agent, broker, or legal representative, on a form approved by the department, to the office of the department at Sacramento, subject to this chapter. The driver shall identify on the form, by name and current resident address, if available, any person involved in the accident complaining of bodily injury.
You were injured (minor injury counts here). Has she filed her SR-1?

Originally Posted by DMV Website
DMV Accident Reporting
When you have an accident, report it to DMV using the Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) form. You or your insurance agent, broker, or legal representative must complete the SR 1 report and send it to the DMV within 10 days if someone is killed or injured (no matter how minor the injury) or property damage is over $750. The SR 1 report is required in addition to any other report made to the police, CHP, or your insurance company.

The SR 1 form is available at DMV field offices, at CHP offices, or online (www.dmv.ca.gov)(see link in previous paragraph). This report is required whether you caused the accident or not, and even if the accident occurred on private property.

Your driving privilege will be suspended if you do not complete a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) form or if you did not have the proper insurance coverage at the time of the accident.

Every accident reported to DMV by law enforcement will show on your driving record unless the reporting officer says another person was at fault. Every accident reported by you or another party in the accident, will show on your record if:

any vehicle involved has over $750 in damage, or
anyone is injured or dies.
It does not matter who caused the accident. The law says DMV must keep this record.
https://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl16.htm

If she hasn't reported, is she prepared to have her license suspended for failing to report an injury accident?

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Old 02-24-09, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I hate right hooks as much as anyone. But I don't think you can call this a right hook. I would assert that the primary element of the right hook is that the motorist overtakes a cyclist and turns right before completing the pass. In this case, the motorist had no idea that the OP was to her right.

I don't think denigrating the OP is called for here. I'm sure it looked perfectly safe until things went sour. I have passed people on the right, particularly when I was pretty sure they were turning left. Just did it the other day. Granted, I was prepared to get right hooked.
If the OP is truthful, he had no reason to believe she was turning right. The OP will probably be more vigilant, but it's still the motorists fault. Sorry, plain and simple. If you're driving a car in a left lane and suddenly decided to turn right, who do you think would be at fault when the car in the right lane struck you?
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Old 02-24-09, 11:56 PM
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For what it's worth, California (as well as most of the rest of the non-US world) permits motorcycles to share lanes with cars (typically it's motorcycles "splitting" lanes). https://www.chp.ca.gov/html/answers.html
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Old 02-25-09, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
If the OP is truthful, he had no reason to believe she was turning right. The OP will probably be more vigilant, but it's still the motorists fault. Sorry, plain and simple. If you're driving a car in a left lane and suddenly decided to turn right, who do you think would be at fault when the car in the right lane struck you?
Was the motorist in the left lane? From what I see on line, a class III bike route is a street that is safe to ride your bicycle on. There is no painted bike lane. Thus, a motorist in the rightmost travel lane should have a reasonable expectation that they will not be passed on the right. It is not clear to me that either party escapes blame here. If the motorist had used her signal I don't see how there could be any question. My understanding is a lane splitting motorcyclist would be cited for this incident.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Was the motorist in the left lane? From what I see on line, a class III bike route is a street that is safe to ride your bicycle on. There is no painted bike lane. Thus, a motorist in the rightmost travel lane should have a reasonable expectation that they will not be passed on the right. It is not clear to me that either party escapes blame here. If the motorist had used her signal I don't see how there could be any question. My understanding is a lane splitting motorcyclist would be cited for this incident.
In nearly every state, the law says to ride to the right. If someone randomly slows down, what do you do? Do you assume they're turning and dart to the left of them, possibly getting hit by a speeding motorist? Do you slow down, maybe even stop, hoping they make a move before you've given up 5 minutes of your time?

Maybe if the OP had been wearing a bubble wrap suit, he wouldn't be blamed for this. Or maybe he should've just walked his bike. His reaction time would have been greatly increased! Heck, to really be a responsible rider, maybe he should stay of the bike altogether and just drive.

I really love A&S. You guys love to blame cyclists for accidents. It's like a game or something. My feeling is that someone piloting a 5000 pound vehicle should have greater responsibility to pay some freakin' attention to what the hell they're doing. That doesn't absolve us from taking responsibility for our own safety and making sure we avoid situations like these, but when they invariably arise, the greater responsibility should lie on the motorist.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:31 AM
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I see the OP is new to the forum. I bet she/he didn't know she was going to be tried in a mock court by a bunch of mock lawyers. God help her/him--another newbie, seeking advice, scarred for life in the A&S shark pool.

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Old 02-25-09, 12:39 AM
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no, I hate to blame cyclists for accidents. And I know what you are talking about as far as A&S, I was recently blamed for leading a motorist into violating my right of way. Still trying to figure that one out.

However, I can see this scenario played out at the street corner near my work any time I want. I'll go out and get a cup of coffee tomorrow and tell you how long it takes before this happens. The two-way, two lane road by my work goes downhill to a traffic light controlled intersection with a two lane one-way street. Most of the traffic going by my work turns right. Most of the motorists fail to signal. Cyclists come down this road at a high rate of speed and most go straight. They pass the cars to the right and near collisions are frequent.

The requirement to keep as far to the right as practicable is a complicating factor here. I assume some similar language is present in the CA. law regarding bicycles. These laws don't generally seem to have been written with the knowledge that a cyclist might be going faster than the motorized traffic.
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Old 02-25-09, 12:39 AM
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Thank you everyone for your responses. I'll just be more careful from now on.
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Old 02-25-09, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
In nearly every state, the law says to ride to the right. If someone randomly slows down, what do you do? Do you assume they're turning and dart to the left of them, possibly getting hit by a speeding motorist? Do you slow down, maybe even stop, hoping they make a move before you've given up 5 minutes of your time?

Maybe if the OP had been wearing a bubble wrap suit, he wouldn't be blamed for this. Or maybe he should've just walked his bike. His reaction time would have been greatly increased! Heck, to really be a responsible rider, maybe he should stay of the bike altogether and just drive.

I really love A&S. You guys love to blame cyclists for accidents. It's like a game or something. My feeling is that someone piloting a 5000 pound vehicle should have greater responsibility to pay some freakin' attention to what the hell they're doing. That doesn't absolve us from taking responsibility for our own safety and making sure we avoid situations like these, but when they invariably arise, the greater responsibility should lie on the motorist.
Passing on the right is always an iffy situation. Motorists should be aware of us if they have just passed us, but all too often cyclists are a foregone conclusion to a driver; we don't seem to exist unless we are almost a hood ornament.

I don't want to blame the cyclist, as right hooks seem to be a national past time, but to any cyclist, when passing on the right, proceed with extreme caution.

As far as what to actually do in the sort of situation presented by the motorist... I would move to the centerline behind the car, prepare to move left to pass, but don't be too eager either... many motorists have this weird thing of swinging right to turn left, or swinging left to turn right... and with out a turn signal, you have no idea of what they are intending... and even a turn signal is merely a suggestion.

As to the issue of having "given up 5 minutes of your time," first, it isn't five minutes... it is at worst, something less than a minute; second, that is the classic motorist complaint... pleeeease. And last... it is better to take the time to do it right, than to be bashed and have even more time taken away.

Since the OP did not indicate that the motorist had passed earlier... did the motorist even have a clue that there was a bicyclist anywhere nearby?
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Old 02-25-09, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
As to the issue of having "given up 5 minutes of your time," first, it isn't five minutes... it is at worst, something less than a minute; second, that is the classic motorist complaint... pleeeease. And last... it is better to take the time to do it right, than to be bashed and have even more time taken away.


It's what I always say, "If everybody left for work 5 minutes earlier, the accident rates would plummet."
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Old 02-25-09, 09:52 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I see the OP is new to the forum. I bet she/he didn't know she was going to be tried in a mock court by a bunch of mock lawyers. God help her/him--another newbie, seeking advice, scarred for life in the A&S shark pool.



Excellent.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
In nearly every state, the law says to ride to the right. If someone randomly slows down, what do you do? Do you assume they're turning and dart to the left of them, possibly getting hit by a speeding motorist? Do you slow down, maybe even stop, hoping they make a move before you've given up 5 minutes of your time?
California is one of those states that require cyclists to ride "as far to the right as is practicable." The operative word is practicable (e.g., as far as the rider feels safe doing so); not possible. As far as what the OP was actually doing at the time, the law in California as well as in nearly all other states, is that if you're passing somebody, you do that on the left. This is one of the specific exceptions to the rule about riding to the right, btw...

Passing anyone on the right, most especially when you're sharing a traffic lane, is really, really bad juju. You're putting yourself into a place where drivers don't expect anyone to be, and usually don't look beore they move right. At the least you can be squeezed into the gutter or ditch, more likely you can be run over and killed. This maneuver is one of the principle causes of dead bicyclists, surpassed only by people who ride against the flow of traffic and those who run traffic lights and stop signs.

If somebody randomly slows down or acts erratically, then I take whatever action I need to do to stay out of a place where I can get caught up in the consequences of their errors. It's all a part of defensive driving.


I really love A&S. You guys love to blame cyclists for accidents. It's like a game or something. My feeling is that someone piloting a 5000 pound vehicle should have greater responsibility to pay some freakin' attention to what the hell they're doing. That doesn't absolve us from taking responsibility for our own safety and making sure we avoid situations like these, but when they invariably arise, the greater responsibility should lie on the motorist.
We all -- motorists and cyclists alike -- have an obligation under the law to drive so as to cause no harm to other persons, what Bob Mionske describes as the "duty of due care" in his book, Bicycling and the Law. And sure, I expect the other road users to generally obey the rules of the road, but I take a few personal precautions for my own safety just in case they don't. You can call it vehicular cycling, defensive driving, bike safety, or just plain common sense.

In the OP's case here, there's fault on both sides under the law. OP screwed up by trying to pass somebody on the right side in a shared traffic lane. The motorist screwed up by failing to yield right-of-way, and failing to clear to the rear and sides before moving left or right on the roadway. In a California court, each would be found at least partially liable.

All collisions are not the fault of motorists. When you throw up the numbers, blame falls about 50/50 between erratic motorists and erratic cyclists, with about a 4-5% slice out of that where the situation is so screwed that it's difficult to tell who's at fault, or both are equally at fault.

The concept of sharing the roadways cuts both ways, we have to obey and abide by the laws and rules just as much as the motorists do. And when we don't, we can always come and b!tch about it here on A&S and hope for a sympathetic ear ;-)
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Old 02-25-09, 10:05 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post


It's what I always say, "If everybody left for work 5 minutes earlier, the accident rates would plummet."
Exactly...

Or something along the lines of "your bad time planning is no reason to threaten my life."
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