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Friend got into accident with another cyclist.

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Friend got into accident with another cyclist.

Old 07-22-09, 06:52 PM
  #1  
PrestonNg
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Friend got into accident with another cyclist.

My friend came out from Long Island, NY to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn to take advantage of the Trek sale going on at the moment. He had just picked up a Trek 3900. The last time he was on a bike was about 10 years ago, so I decided to show him around the bike path I normally ride on, next to the Belt Parkway. It's a dedicated bicycle path, no vehicles. We were riding along single file, me in front, him in back when I heard a loud clang. I look over and see my friend on his side and a woman flying over him. The woman faceplants in the dirt near a tree. I'm not too sure what happened, or who hit who but someone swerved into someone else. My friend ends up with no injuries, and his new bike didn't even have a scratch on it. The woman however ended up with some dirt in her nose, a scraped knee and a messed up rear wheel. My friend comes over to me where I pull over after having been chewed out by the woman for causing the accident, and he sticks around because he feels bad the woman got hurt. The woman rides away but then returns to us when she realized her rear wheel is bent. She then asks my friend for his information, and he obliges, gave her his drivers license info and his phone #, because she demanded that he pays for the damage to the bike. I saw the damage to the bike, and it looks like the rear wheel is just out of true, spokes are all intact. The bike was not rideable in the sense that there is a lot of brake rub on the rim. We go our separate ways, didn't seem too major of an issue, but i'm wondering what my friend should expect. He's willing to pay for her damages and just end this. I'm wondering what my friend should expect in terms of cost for the damages. I know the LBS charges around $10-$12 to true a wheel. She was on an old steel frame Fuji bicycle.

While riding home, I was trying to tell my friend that it's not entirely his fault, and that both parties are wrong for what happened. He said he looked behind him a bit and didn't see anyone, so leaned left to go towards a garbage can. She claims he turned into her because he was too busy watching the ocean to our side. I was thinking it's also her fault because she didn't pass with enough room, or even make an attempt to let the person in front know that someone was passing. Any advice here would be appreciated.
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Old 07-22-09, 08:16 PM
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sounds like both are at fault. tough call though, sounds like she didn't give a passing warning and your friend made a erratic move.

This almost happened to me when I was passing a lady without the usual "passing on the left" warning, she made a sudden left turn at a fork and we barely avoided a crash.
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Old 07-23-09, 07:55 AM
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If it is true that your friend just avoided a garbage can and didn't do anything else more extreme, I count the other rider as primarily responsible. When overtaking we have better vision of the situation and thus greater responsibility. She could see the obstacle and expect your friend to avoid it.

This opinion does not have force of law in any known jurisdiction, but I would not be inclined to pay the overtaking rider's expenses.
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Old 07-23-09, 08:10 AM
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I agree with gcottay...your friend is not responsible to pay for her bike's damage....
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Old 07-23-09, 08:37 AM
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I also agree with gcottay. Passing safely is the responsibility of the person doing the passing.
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Old 07-23-09, 03:51 PM
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Think of motor vehicle law. The rear-ender is always at fault.
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Old 07-23-09, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by FlatMaster View Post
Think of motor vehicle law. The rear-ender is always at fault.
I seem to remember the opposite of that law in assachusetts
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Old 07-23-09, 07:45 PM
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cool, thanks for the response, so far the woman hasn't contacted my friend yet.
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Old 07-23-09, 08:07 PM
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Totally her fault. Always give a warning when passing.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FlatMaster View Post
Think of motor vehicle law. The rear-ender is always at fault.
That's not true in the case of motor vehicles either. If the car in front just slows down and is hit then the car in back would generally be at fault. But if the car in front suddenly changes lanes while someone else is in the process of passing then it would usually be the fault of the person who changed lanes. For example, I was once stuck in slow moving traffic on a freeway when the car in front of me suddenly switched lanes. Unfortunately, traffic in the adjacent lane was going about 40 mph faster and a car there plowed into the car that had been in front of me despite making a good effort to stop. It was clearly the fault of the car in front and not of the 'rear-ender.'

Hard to know in the case of this bike accident, but I'd put a decent share of the blame on your friend if he made a sudden turn without checking behind. BTW, if the wheel is bent enough so it won't pass through the brakes even if they're opened with the usual release, then I'd doubt that a simple retruing will be sufficient. Even if it can make the rim reasonably true, the spoke tension would be left very uneven and the wheel would be likely to repeatedly go out of true later. A shop may very well recommend that a new rim be installed so that they can do a build that they're willing to stand behind.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:53 PM
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She's at fault and she will have a VERY hard time proving otherwise. However, if all it takes the the cost of a wheel trueing to end it, I'd pay just to end it.
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Old 07-23-09, 10:33 PM
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In every state I've bothered to look up the info in, the passing cyclist is required to announce themselves due to the fact that most cyclists DON'T have a mirror to always know what's behind them.

If she didn't announce herself, she's at fault.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:46 AM
  #13  
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The rule is never to move laterally - left or right - without scanning behind to make sure that no one is overtaking you or trying to pass. If someone is already in the lane behind you, they have the right-of-way, and if you swerve or merge into their path without checking behind, you're at fault.

It's usually good etiquette to announce that you're passing, but not a requirement in any state. Announcing "passing, on your left" is good manners, but with so many squirrelly riders and pedestrians out there who take that warning to try and dodge in that direction, many riders opt to give a little wider clearance and pass quietly.

If you or your friend had been on the street and swerved to go around the garbage can, would you have looked behind first? What if there was a bus back there, or one of those sneaky little hybrid cars?

NEVER move laterally on the road or path without checking behind first. If all the lady needs is a truing job, consider it a cheap lesson.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Pscyclepath View Post
The rule is never to move laterally - left or right - without scanning behind to make sure that no one is overtaking you or trying to pass. If someone is already in the lane behind you, they have the right-of-way, and if you swerve or merge into their path without checking behind, you're at fault.

It's usually good etiquette to announce that you're passing, but not a requirement in any state. Announcing "passing, on your left" is good manners, but with so many squirrelly riders and pedestrians out there who take that warning to try and dodge in that direction, many riders opt to give a little wider clearance and pass quietly.

If you or your friend had been on the street and swerved to go around the garbage can, would you have looked behind first? What if there was a bus back there, or one of those sneaky little hybrid cars?

NEVER move laterally on the road or path without checking behind first. If all the lady needs is a truing job, consider it a cheap lesson.
What if it had been a child who walked in front of the woman?

If you're worried about people dodging in your direction when you announce yourself on a MUP, you're doing it wrong. It sounds as though you sneak up on other users and announce yourself right before you pass. Of course people are going to go all over the place if you do this. Announce clearly, loudly, and with plenty of time to see the reaction. If you don't bother to do this, you are at fault, whether it's a cyclist who thinks he checks behind him, or a child who darts in front of you.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807 View Post
In every state I've bothered to look up the info in, the passing cyclist is required to announce themselves due to the fact that most cyclists DON'T have a mirror to always know what's behind them.

If she didn't announce herself, she's at fault.
Care to share the location of any of that info about state requirements for passing cyclists to "announce themselves"?
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Old 07-24-09, 02:29 PM
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I don't know if, as a matter of law, if announcing a pass is required in NYC.
But as a matter of common sense, if she didn't announce that she was passing, then she is taking the bulk of the responsibility for what happened.

Pscyclepath has it backwards. There is no "rule" that you maintain an absolutely straight line, although it is good etiquette. OTOH there is always a requirement to pass safely, which includes slowing down, and often a requirement to announce passing.

If I was on that jury with those facts, I'd find for your friend.
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Old 07-24-09, 03:02 PM
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if there is no signal its not your fault are you supposed to be able to sense another person coming around you.
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Old 07-24-09, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bicyclerampage View Post
if there is no signal its not your fault are you supposed to be able to sense another person coming around you.
If this happened on a road and involved either a turn or a change of lane, then yes, the vehicle codes generally require that it be done only when safe and that requires 'sensing' another person/vehicle coming around you - generally done by looking, either using a mirror or by turning around far enough to see. The vehicle codes also require that before making such a movement that a signal be given - either using turn signal lights or the appropriate hand signals.

On a typical path the applicability of such rules is less clear since there usually aren't marked lanes. So there's a shared responsibility: the passer should give a wide enough margin and indicate the impending pass, and the passee should avoid sudden direction changes without first checking for any traffic behind.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cc_rider View Post
OTOH there is always a requirement to pass safely, which includes slowing down, and often a requirement to announce passing.
Perhaps you can help out bmclaughlin807 who can't seem to find his references. Why don't you provide any reference that states a safe pass requires slowing down or an announcement to pass?
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Old 07-24-09, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bicyclerampage View Post
if there is no signal its not your fault are you supposed to be able to sense another person coming around you.
Yes you use one of your senses - eyesight.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Perhaps you can help out bmclaughlin807 who can't seem to find his references. Why don't you provide any reference that states a safe pass requires slowing down or an announcement to pass?
Can't speak for all states, but Ohio does specify an audible signal in certain cases if passing another vehicle:

4511.27 Overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction.
(A) The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles or trackless trolleys proceeding in the same direction:

(1) The operator of a vehicle or trackless trolley overtaking another vehicle or trackless trolley proceeding in the same direction shall, except as provided in division (A)(3) of this section, signal to the vehicle or trackless trolley to be overtaken, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle or trackless trolley.

(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the operator of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle at the latterís audible signal, and the operator shall not increase the speed of the operatorís vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

(3) The operator of a vehicle or trackless trolley overtaking and passing another vehicle or trackless trolley proceeding in the same direction on a divided highway as defined in section 4511.35 of the Revised Code, a limited access highway as defined in section 5511.02 of the Revised Code, or a highway with four or more traffic lanes, is not required to signal audibly to the vehicle or trackless trolley being overtaken and passed.

(B) Except as otherwise provided in this division, whoever violates this section is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. If, within one year of the offense, the offender previously has been convicted of two or more predicate motor vehicle or traffic offenses, whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:45 PM
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Trackless trolley? Is this paragraph right next to the one that requires all motorists to carry a swinging lantern when entering the city so as not to frighten horses on the street? When was the last time anyone enforced this relic? Lord, what a cacophony of noise if that were true. Bet cyclists would just love every passing motorist to blow his horn and claim this rule required that action.

BTW does this antique law apply to bike paths too?
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Old 07-24-09, 09:23 PM
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You asked for reference. Reference was given. Is it a law that is enforced? Not that I have seen. But it is a current law that gives an example of a state requiring an audible signal to be given when passing a vehicle.
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Old 07-25-09, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by politicalgeek View Post
You asked for reference. Reference was given. Is it a law that is enforced? Not that I have seen. But it is a current law that gives an example of a state requiring an audible signal to be given when passing a vehicle.
Yes it was a reference, true. Also true is that it has no relevance for the accident scenario cited in the OP or bicycling, and probably no relevance to any situation in the last 50 or 60 years in Ohio or anywhere else.

It is fine with me if Internet cyclists want to rely on arcane, obscure and outdated traffic code as guidance for expounding on "required" behavior for cyclists. I would suggest they don't risk being involved in bicycling accidents by expecting anyone else to pay attention to these so called "requirements."
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Old 07-25-09, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Yes it was a reference, true. Also true is that it has no relevance for the accident scenario cited in the OP or bicycling, and probably no relevance to any situation in the last 50 or 60 years in Ohio or anywhere else.

It is fine with me if Internet cyclists want to rely on arcane, obscure and outdated traffic code as guidance for expounding on "required" behavior for cyclists. I would suggest they don't risk being involved in bicycling accidents by expecting anyone else to pay attention to these so called "requirements."
To take this a step further and apply it specifically to bikes, my city's municipal codes follow pretty close to state codes, including this:

2173.01 Code application to bicycles, children's non-motorized vehicles.
(A) The provisions of this Traffic Code that are applicable to bicycles apply whenever a bicycle is operated upon any street or highway or upon any shared-use path within the public right-of-way as defined in section 910.01 (P) of the Columbus City Code or easement adjacent thereto or however specifically provided for in Chapter 2173.
2131.03 Overtaking, passing to left; driver's duties.
(a) The following rules govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction:
(1) The operator of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall, except as provided in division (a)(3) of this section, signal to the vehicle to be overtaken, shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance, and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
I'll agree to an extent that we are each responsible for ourselves. But here are the codes in one city that would apply in this case. What you call "so called requirements" are in fact law, at least here.
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