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Who is at fault? My first Car/Bike Accident

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Who is at fault? My first Car/Bike Accident

Old 06-12-10, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bosoxmrkn
Despite my objection the cop who showed up insisted she is being charged unless she can absolutely convince him that she didn't know she hit me.

I had 2 witnesses that will attest to the fact that there is no way she could have not realized she hit me. My left hand was halfway up her hood as I took the impact.
This may come as a shock to you, but when people commit various acts contrary to our laws and then determine there is no consequence to breaking such laws other than to say they're sorry the person is quick to determine they need not be inconvenienced by said law ever again.

Part of your responsibility as a victim and to other victims is to stand up for your rights, as bothersome and cruel to the driver as it may seem.
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Old 06-12-10, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bosoxmrkn
Despite my objection the cop who showed up insisted she is being charged unless she can absolutely convince him that she didn't know she hit me.

I had 2 witnesses that will attest to the fact that there is no way she could have not realized she hit me. My left hand was halfway up her hood as I took the impact.
I agree with the cop. Anyone that hits and runs is automatically guilty. All she needs to do is admit she was driving. Either that or if you can identify her.
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Old 06-12-10, 09:38 PM
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My read on this is that the driver is actually the more guilty of unsafe passing on the right.

#1- She had just passed you so she knew you were there.

#2- It sounds like you did not change your line of travel and had she not veered right you would have passed her car and the turning car safely.

#3- By riding as far right as practical you are effectively creating your own travel lane. Had there been a bike lane present on this road it would more than likely have been exactly where you would have been riding. Had she turned into the bike lane and hit you it would have been more obvious that she broke the law. But bike lanes are just stripes on the pavement you had the same rights to be riding where you were regardless of the striping.

HOWEVER, the cyclist most definitely could have anticipated the driver's error and saved everybody a lot of trouble. When coming upon such a situation in the future I strongly suggest anticipating that the driver will do something STUPID! I know the adage "Don't ASSUME. It makes an ass of you and me." But in this case assuming the driver will do something stupid may save your life.

One other tip- it's rare that drivers will signal such an intention- (also illegal)- I've trained myself to watch the front wheels of cars and as soon as I see it turning my way I'm ready to take evasive action. The reaction time you have to the turning wheel is faster than if they signal, which is often done simultaneously or slightly after they turn the wheel right (because they hit the indicator lever as they turn the steering wheel to the right.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman
HOWEVER, the cyclist most definitely could have anticipated the driver's error and saved everybody a lot of trouble. When coming upon such a situation in the future I strongly suggest anticipating that the driver will do something STUPID! I know the adage "Don't ASSUME. It makes an ass of you and me." But in this case assuming the driver will do something stupid may save your life.
I completely agree with you.

However, she had just passed me, and I could not have possibly stopped behind her before she got to the car taking a left. With my 105s I would have come to a stop somewhere near where the accident had occured if I had reacted right away anticipating her stupidity... In all honesty, she never should have passed me.
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Old 06-13-10, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by SCROUDS
I agree with the cop. Anyone that hits and runs is automatically guilty.
Minor nit -- the cop doesn't get to decide guilt or innocence -- that's for a judge or jury.

The cop just writes the ticket and testifies in court if needed.

Though I imagine that even the cop doesn't think that "[Somebody has a collision and leaves] is automatically [needing a ticket]" in *every* *single* *case*. If there's a good chance that the collision was so minor as to be truly unnoticed, he probably doesn't give a ticket. He probably just didn't think this was such a case.
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Old 06-13-10, 07:25 AM
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I have to agree with the cop pursuing this. The impact itself was an infraction against the cyclist. The run part is really an infraction against the rule of law, not the cyclist. The reason we have penalties for hit and run is so that people don't think "well, I'll just run away, if they catch me anyway, I'm no worse off." People need to know that if they try to get away rather than face the music, the penalties will be much worse.

So I'm OK with them pursuing the hit and run charge even if the person hit doesn't want to press charges for the incident itself.
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Old 06-13-10, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
From a purely technical point of view, if you were to the right of the white line, you were not on the roadway and therefore you actually forfeit your right to operate under normal road rules.
Why?

In California, bicycles are explicitly allowed to operate on the shoulder - basically using it as a travel lane. It doesn't say anywhere you sacrifice your rights as a user of the road by doing this. I would think this depends on how the state treats riding on the shoulder.

Regardless, I can't say I would've stopped either. Seems kind of silly to. I mean, if you are on the shoulder and unimpeded, why would you stop because a car far to your left in the travel lane is making a left? Now, seeing the other driver approaching, I probably either would've slowed down or sped up, anticipating the driver's maneuver. But I don't see how any blame could be laid on the cyclist in this situation. He, in practical terms, passed on the right in what is more or less another lane (the shoulder), and that's not particularly unsafe. He could have operated in a more defensive manner, but that's not the same as being partially at fault for a collision.
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Old 06-13-10, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
Why?

In California, bicycles are explicitly allowed to operate on the shoulder - basically using it as a travel lane. It doesn't say anywhere you sacrifice your rights as a user of the road by doing this. I would think this depends on how the state treats riding on the shoulder.

Regardless, I can't say I would've stopped either. Seems kind of silly to. I mean, if you are on the shoulder and unimpeded, why would you stop because a car far to your left in the travel lane is making a left? Now, seeing the other driver approaching, I probably either would've slowed down or sped up, anticipating the driver's maneuver. But I don't see how any blame could be laid on the cyclist in this situation. He, in practical terms, passed on the right in what is more or less another lane (the shoulder), and that's not particularly unsafe. He could have operated in a more defensive manner, but that's not the same as being partially at fault for a collision.
The law quoted earlier says that it's illegal to leave the roadway in order to pass on the right.

As for the "silliness" of stopping in this situation, the outcome speaks for itself.
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Old 06-13-10, 06:02 PM
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I'm not sure it is hit-and-run. Every cop that I have ever talked to insists there must be property damage or an injury requiring medical treatment in order for the hit part of hit-and-run to be met. In New Hampshire:

264:25 Conduct After Accident. –
I. The driver of a vehicle who knows or should have known that he or she has just been involved in any accident which resulted in death, personal injury or damages to property, shall immediately stop such vehicle at the scene of the accident...
If there was no obvious injury or property damage (the op says he was able to right himself), then it is not hit and run.

Now, someone show me why this is wrong, because I hate it!!!
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Old 06-13-10, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kuan
So what? They should wait until it is safe to pass.

Just because they "need" to pass doesn't give them the right to pass unsafely. I don't get this whole "I needed to pass but the cyclist was in my way" crap.
+1000.

There IS NO "need to pass"; it IS a "want to pass". Unless you're transporting a bleeding, dying person to the ER, there is no NEED.
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Old 06-14-10, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody
The law quoted earlier says that it's illegal to leave the roadway in order to pass on the right.
Is that the state law?

As for the "silliness" of stopping in this situation, the outcome speaks for itself.


That's some seriously flawed logic, dude.

So if someone gets hit crossing the road, does that mean that they should no longer cross the road because the outcome was bad? Puh-lease, try again.

Last edited by sudo bike; 06-14-10 at 01:32 AM.
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Old 06-14-10, 02:57 AM
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what happened when the lieutenant went to the woman's house?
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Old 06-14-10, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Spire
what happened when the lieutenant went to the woman's house?
I do not yet know. The Lieutenant said another officer was on the way to her house as we parted ways Friday afternoon. Either she convinced the officer that she didn't know she hit me, or since it happened late Friday afternoon, they aren't really doing anything until today. I'll let you know if I hear anything.
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Old 06-14-10, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
Is that the state law?

That's some seriously flawed logic, dude.

So if someone gets hit crossing the road, does that mean that they should no longer cross the road because the outcome was bad? Puh-lease, try again.
Well for a road crossing example, the logic would be that if someone gets hits while crossing the road on a crosswalk before waiting for traffic to stop it means they should not longer cross the road at crosswalks assuming traffic will stop until they confirm it does.

The logic in this case is that if someone may be "passing on the right when someone is stopped in the lane taking a left " and you see a car ahead making a left turn and another driver has just passed you you should expect that the driver who just passed you will try and pass the other car on their right using the shoulder because "everyone does it" legal or not.

With the extra detail of the timing of the sequence the OP added, it does seem to be fully the passing drivers legal fault and moral responsibility, but it also should not have been that hard for the cyclist to anticipate and avoid this.

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Old 06-14-10, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
I'm not sure it is hit-and-run. Every cop that I have ever talked to insists there must be property damage or an injury requiring medical treatment in order for the hit part of hit-and-run to be met. In New Hampshire:



If there was no obvious injury or property damage (the op says he was able to right himself), then it is not hit and run.

Now, someone show me why this is wrong, because I hate it!!!
It's hit and run, or more accurately leaving the scene of an accident. If your vehicle strikes another, there has been an accident...you can't very well determine if you caused any injury or property damage if you don't stop to check.

IMO, both the driver and the OP were in the wrong - the driver for doing a bonehead move without checking for other vehicles and leaving the scene of an accident, the OP for being to impatient to plan for Murphy (expect the other person to do the stupidest thing possible (which she did) and plan your actions accordingly (which you didn't, as evidenced by the fact that you got tagged.)
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Old 06-14-10, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
I'm not sure it is hit-and-run. Every cop that I have ever talked to insists there must be property damage or an injury requiring medical treatment in order for the hit part of hit-and-run to be met.
You've asked every single cop you've ever talked to about this? And they all insist?

If there was no obvious injury or property damage (the op says he was able to right himself), then it is not hit and run.
If a cyclist is knocked over while going at speed, an injury is very likely. It's likely to be small -- minor cut, bruise, etc. -- but it's still an injury.

And as chipcom said, how do you know if you don't stop?
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Old 06-14-10, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
If there was no obvious injury or property damage (the op says he was able to right himself), then it is not hit and run.
Is that you Michael Bryant? This law sounds like a motorist's wet dream.
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Old 06-14-10, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike
I don't see anything particularly unsafe about what he did (again, if I'm reading this right).
A collision happened. It was unsafe (inarguably). He had a choice of doing what he did (which was, in fact, unsafe) or he could have done something else (ie, slowed down).

IMHO, the driver is legally at fault but the cyclist might not have made the safest choice (passing the car without slowing down). In terms of driving-defensively, there should be some expectation that the car would try to pass on the right. If the cyclist knew about the left turning car (ie, if he saw that car's left turn signal), he should have had a higher expectation that the other car might try to pass on the right.

Originally Posted by Roody
The driver and the cyclist did exactly the same thing. How is it possible that one is guilty and the other is innocent?
Not "exactly". The driver made a lane change. The cyclist did not.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
From a purely technical point of view, if you were to the right of the white line, you were not on the roadway and therefore you actually forfeit your right to operate under normal road rules.
???

Originally Posted by SCROUDS
I agree with the cop. Anyone that hits and runs is automatically guilty. All she needs to do is admit she was driving. Either that or if you can identify her.
No. They have to leave knowingly (ie, knowing that they hit something).

Last edited by njkayaker; 06-14-10 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 06-14-10, 12:12 PM
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I would guess the driver will claim "I didn't know he hit me" as an explanation for not stopping.

Not too plausible, but probably better than "I ran because I figured I could get away with it."
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Old 06-14-10, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman
My read on this is that the driver is actually the more guilty of unsafe passing on the right.

#1- She had just passed you so she knew you were there.

#2- It sounds like you did not change your line of travel and had she not veered right you would have passed her car and the turning car safely.

#3- By riding as far right as practical you are effectively creating your own travel lane. Had there been a bike lane present on this road it would more than likely have been exactly where you would have been riding. Had she turned into the bike lane and hit you it would have been more obvious that she broke the law. But bike lanes are just stripes on the pavement you had the same rights to be riding where you were regardless of the striping.

HOWEVER, the cyclist most definitely could have anticipated the driver's error and saved everybody a lot of trouble. When coming upon such a situation in the future I strongly suggest anticipating that the driver will do something STUPID! I know the adage "Don't ASSUME. It makes an ass of you and me." But in this case assuming the driver will do something stupid may save your life.

One other tip- it's rare that drivers will signal such an intention- (also illegal)- I've trained myself to watch the front wheels of cars and as soon as I see it turning my way I'm ready to take evasive action. The reaction time you have to the turning wheel is faster than if they signal, which is often done simultaneously or slightly after they turn the wheel right (because they hit the indicator lever as they turn the steering wheel to the right.
Here you go.
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Old 06-14-10, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
In terms of driving-defensively, there should be some expectation that the car would try to pass on the right. If the cyclist knew about the left turning car (ie, if he saw that car's left turn signal), he should have had a higher expectation that the other car might try to pass on the right.
Exactly. Based on the cyclists experience they should have strongly expected the passing action of the driver:
Originally Posted by bosoxmrkn
I realize she shouldn't be passing on the right when someone is stopped in the lane taking a left (everyone does it), but that's sort of what I was doing as well.
If there is a situation where two 'effective lanes' of traffic merge into one and I am in a situation where it will either need to be me or the vehicle adjacent (or potentially adjacent to me) to go first I will no matter who should be legally merging with who actively ensure it will clearly be one of us and not make any assumptions based on what should ideally be done by the other driver.
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Old 06-14-10, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom
It's hit and run, or more accurately leaving the scene of an accident. If your vehicle strikes another, there has been an accident...you can't very well determine if you caused any injury or property damage if you don't stop to check.
I'm not so sure. If there is no damage, then there may be no accident. Much as I wish mere contact was enough to make the grade as an accident, the one New Hampshire accident attorney web site I went to (https://www.newhampshirecaraccidentat...efinitions.cfm) says:


Accident

Definition:
A collision involving an automobile and anything that causes damage to the automobile, including other automobiles, telephone poles, buildings, and trees.
Since the op didn't go down the driver seems to have a valid argument that there was no accident.

Of course, there is probably something in the bloody Military Commissions Act about terrorizing legitimate users of transportation infrastructure, but who, aside from cyclists, considers cyclists to be legitimate roadway users?

Okay, now give it to me. I hate this devil's advocate position and am very willing to have the side I am arguing bashed to the deck. I feel I have a dog in this fight as I have been the one who was struck by careless carcissists but had no claim since neither I nor my bike were injured or damaged (emotional issues exempt).
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Old 06-14-10, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
I'm not so sure. If there is no damage, then there may be no accident. Much as I wish mere contact was enough to make the grade as an accident, the one New Hampshire accident attorney web site I went to (https://www.newhampshirecaraccidentat...efinitions.cfm) says:

Since the op didn't go down the driver seems to have a valid argument that there was no accident.
If a car, collides with another person, common sense indicates that you stop and assess any "damage" which might have occurred. That is, the mere fact of a collision is sufficient as a requirement to stop.

The only excuse the driver has for leaving is if she did not know a collision occurred.

One glaring deficiency in the definition you provided is that it doesn't mention people (and injuries to people)!

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Old 06-15-10, 12:56 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by noisebeam
Well for a road crossing example, the logic would be that if someone gets hits while crossing the road on a crosswalk before waiting for traffic to stop it means they should not longer cross the road at crosswalks assuming traffic will stop until they confirm it does.
I disagree, because since he was on the shoulder he could safely proceed around the car without causing problems to traffic in the travel lane. BUT....

The logic in this case is that if someone may be "passing on the right when someone is stopped in the lane taking a left " and you see a car ahead making a left turn and another driver has just passed you you should expect that the driver who just passed you will try and pass the other car on their right using the shoulder because "everyone does it" legal or not.

With the extra detail of the timing of the sequence the OP added, it does seem to be fully the passing drivers legal fault and moral responsibility, but it also should not have been that hard for the cyclist to anticipate and avoid this.
Yeah, I basically agree with this. I don't think the cyclist was at fault at all, but could probably have avoided this situation. But to be fair, from what I gather, it's not that the car had just passed him, but was in the process of passing him. Kind of a tough spot to be in, though it could have been prevetable...

Originally Posted by njkayaker
A collision happened. It was unsafe (inarguably). He had a choice of doing what he did (which was, in fact, unsafe) or he could have done something else (ie, slowed down).
Horse manure. Just because a collision happened does not mean he was operating in an unsafe manner, period. Accidents happen all the time. There is nothing unsafe about passing a car that is in the travel lane while you are riding on the shoulder in and of itself. You are more or less in a different lane. This would be like saying traffic in the right lane should come to a stop because traffic in the left lane is turning... you know, because an impatient driver might pull around to the right.

Now, I grant you that with more caution, the situation could have probably been avoided by quick thinking on the cyclist's part. Hearing the car approaching and seeing the car making a left, I probably either would put the hammer down or have my hand on the brake (and my airzound ). But what people seem to be saying here is that not stopping for traffic that does not interfere with you whatsoever, while you are riding on the shoulder, is unsafe. I simply don't see why that is. And that a collision happened has nothing to do with it. Collisions happen when people are riding in a safe manner all the time, and you know this.
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Old 06-15-10, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree
I'm not so sure. If there is no damage, then there may be no accident. Much as I wish mere contact was enough to make the grade as an accident, the one New Hampshire accident attorney web site I went to (https://www.newhampshirecaraccidentat...efinitions.cfm) says:

Since the op didn't go down the driver seems to have a valid argument that there was no accident.

Of course, there is probably something in the bloody Military Commissions Act about terrorizing legitimate users of transportation infrastructure, but who, aside from cyclists, considers cyclists to be legitimate roadway users?

Okay, now give it to me. I hate this devil's advocate position and am very willing to have the side I am arguing bashed to the deck. I feel I have a dog in this fight as I have been the one who was struck by careless carcissists but had no claim since neither I nor my bike were injured or damaged (emotional issues exempt).
Speaking as a former LEO, this is pure horsepucky. If you don't stop to check you can't determine of there was damage or injury, let alone exchange contact and insurance info. The only potential affirmative defense the driver has is that he/she did not know that they hit anything...which is usually looked upon skeptically by LEOs and left to the prosecutor and/or judge/jury to decide...by citing them for leaving the scene of an accident.

This notion that a cyclist must "go down"...is too stupid to even comment on.
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