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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 06-11-10, 06:10 PM
  #1  
bosoxmrkn
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Who is at fault? My first Car/Bike Accident

So I just finished my Friday afternoon workout ride. The fact that I'm posting this so soon should indicate that I am 100% fine. At mile 10, I was hit by a car. I was probably doing 16-18mph down a very busy road in NH. I was trying to be careful, and was just outside the white line on the right with about 1-2 feet before dirt/grass. A woman driving a silver car passes me on the left, probably doing the speed limit or just under and immediately comes up on a car stopped in the lane taking a left.. By the time she had come to a full stop, I had caught up with her. At that exact moment, she decided to go around the guy to the right. I caught her intentions in enough time to swing wide and caught her bumper midway up my left calf/shin. I almost went over, but managed to correct myself.

She kept driving, never stopping to check on whether or not I was ok.

Who is at fault? Am I responsible for coming up on her right, when she had just passed me? 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. She basically took my lane away from me while I was next to her, resulting in a collision.

Your thoughts?

Edit: Single lane road in both directions. Car taking a left was entering a driveway/small side street.

Last edited by bosoxmrkn; 06-11-10 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:18 PM
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I wouldnd't overthink this. Who broke the law? As a cyclist, you are required to stay as far to the right as is reasonable, which you did. As far as I know, you are not required to stop behind every car that stops to make a left turn. The woman hit you because she was not paying attention, which is even more evident from the fact that she drove away after hitting you. So, she actually broke two laws: 1) passing a stopped car, and 2) hit and run.

Having said that, the one idea I live by while riding is the following:

It doesn't matter if you're right if you're dead.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:22 PM
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Oh, believe me.. I learned a good lesson on this one.. I'm lucky she was barely moving and I had enough time to react before ending up in the middle of the road. I will definitely make sure I am even more cautious coming up on situations like that.

Good news is, I have very good eyesight... the plate was not very hard to read.

I am also fortunate to be in a very cyclist friendly area. The lieutenant who stopped (There were 3 cars pulled over as I collected myself, all who witnessed the accident) was very kind and took down all the information. As I got ready to leave, he said they got her address from the plate and were heading to her house which was right down the street. I mentioned I didn't want to press any charges (I'm not like that) but he seemed to indicate it was going to happen anyways.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:31 PM
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OK, technically, because she tried passing on the right, and failed to take ANY following traffic into account, she's at fault for your contact.

But you could have short-circuited all that by being on the CORRECT side of the "far-right line", namely, IN THE LANE. You have the right to be there, too. If your area is as bike-friendly as you say, there shouldn't be an issue with you doing that. You don't need to HOG the lane, but you are entitled to a piece of it. Had you been out there where you could very well and legally be, she would have been a bit more aware of you, and possibly even looked FOR you before trying her illegal maneuver.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:33 PM
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The road is very narrow. Every car that passed me, even though I was outside the white line, was well aware of me. Even in the spot I was in, in order to give me 3+ feet, cars were halfway into the other lane passing me. Traffic was heavy and quick 40mph+ at times in both directions.
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Old 06-11-10, 10:35 PM
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it is illegal to pass a left turning car if there is a single travel lane even though most of us do it. This is for many very good reasons. That being said, it's also illegal for you to pass a left turning car on your bike. I can't imagine the OP prevailing in this situation.
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Old 06-11-10, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
it is illegal to pass a left turning car if there is a single travel lane even though most of us do it. This is for many very good reasons. That being said, it's also illegal for you to pass a left turning car on your bike. I can't imagine the OP prevailing in this situation.
At any rate, if both the cyclist and the motorist had obeyed the law, this accident probably would not have happened. Personally, I give the cyclist a little more blame because he was trying to pass two cars that were stopped in the lane.
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Old 06-12-10, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
At any rate, if both the cyclist and the motorist had obeyed the law, this accident probably would not have happened. Personally, I give the cyclist a little more blame because he was trying to pass two cars that were stopped in the lane.
I see your point, but I give the motorist more blame because she made a sudden lateral shift out of her lane, without checking to make sure it was clear. The cyclist wasn't driving ideally either, but at least he held a straight line.

And way more damning, the motorist didn't stop. Unless the impact was so light that she can plausibly say she didn't know it happened, any hit-and-run incident should carry a heavy jail sentence, and a LONG license suspension. Frankly, bosoxmrcn, it was irresponsible of you to think about not pressing charges. (Again, unless you think it's possible she didn't know she hit you.)

Last edited by sanitycheck; 06-12-10 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 06-12-10, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by bosoxmrkn View Post
The road is very narrow. Every car that passed me, even though I was outside the white line, was well aware of me. Even in the spot I was in, in order to give me 3+ feet, cars were halfway into the other lane passing me. Traffic was heavy and quick 40mph+ at times in both directions.
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.
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Old 06-12-10, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
it is illegal to pass a left turning car if there is a single travel lane even though most of us do it. This is for many very good reasons. That being said, it's also illegal for you to pass a left turning car on your bike. I can't imagine the OP prevailing in this situation.

In Wisconsin the law just changed and now it's legal to pass on the right if there is enough pavement and the person is making a left turn.

It all depends on where your accident occurred who is really at fault.
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Old 06-12-10, 06:22 AM
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The driver is mostly at fault, she probably just didn't look in her mirror and didn't see you coming. But what OP did can be pretty dangerous, maybe you should be a little more careful in the future, especially on a road with a high average speed. There's no benefit in being right for you when you're dead.
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Old 06-12-10, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rogwilco View Post
The driver is mostly at fault, she probably just didn't look in her mirror and didn't see you coming. But what OP did can be pretty dangerous, maybe you should be a little more careful in the future, especially on a road with a high average speed. There's no benefit in being right for you when you're dead.
The driver and the cyclist did exactly the same thing. How is it possible that one is guilty and the other is innocent?
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Old 06-12-10, 08:44 AM
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I don't think they did the same thing, the car had stopped and then decided to go around the other car; the cyclist just went the same way he'd been going the whole time. I'm also suspicious of the car driver not stopping after hitting the cyclist, which she must have noticed, that's not what a responsible person does.
But I don't think it would be absurd to say they are equally at fault also. Either way, no amount of being right can protect a cyclist - better yield and live in a situation like that. You can't count on cars always seeing you coming when you're on a bike.
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Old 06-12-10, 10:20 AM
  #14  
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There are states where it is legal to pass a left turning vehicle on the right, and if there's enough pavement to do this then this is arguably safer than waiting behind the left turning vehicle and risking a rear end collision. Since the vehicle that hit you wasn't making a left turn, you don't have this justification for passing said vehicle on the right, and your passing maneuver was illegal. You should have waited your turn to go past the left turning vehicle, after which most cars on the road would be traveling faster than your bicycle anyway.
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Old 06-12-10, 11:30 AM
  #15  
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This is the law in AZ: Check local laws, they vary by state.
"
28-724. Overtaking on the right
A. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
1. When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn.
2. On a street or highway with unobstructed pavement that is not occupied by parked vehicles and that is of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles in each direction.
3. On a one-way street or on a roadway on which traffic is restricted to one direction of movement and if the roadway is free from obstructions and of sufficient width for two or more lines of moving vehicles.
B. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting the movement in safety. The driver shall not make the movement by driving off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway."
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Old 06-12-10, 11:39 AM
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Plus, if I'm reading this right, he was not in the same travel lane, he was on the shoulder. Meaning, providing in his state that's OK, he shouldn't be obligated to stop behind a left turning vehicle since he's not in that travel lane, right?

I don't see anything particularly unsafe about what he did (again, if I'm reading this right). He's riding on the shoulder, a car is turning left, the car behind doesn't want to wait so pulls around partially entering the shoulder. This should be no question that it's the motorist's fault, and I don't think the cyclist was required to stop in this situation.
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Old 06-12-10, 11:50 AM
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Based on description I imagine the scenario was like this: Car passes cyclist. Up ahead a 2nd car is stopped waiting to make a left. The car that passed cyclist earlier slows down then moves right into shoulder to pass the left turning car. As the 1st car was slowing, the cyclist caught up to them and also tried to pass in shoulder, causing space conflict.

If that description is right then the cyclist should have seen this coming from way back and slowed as the car ahead was slowing and then let them first pass the left turning car on the right, then the cyclist could follow and do the same.

If the cyclist was there first behind the left turning car, the opposite should have happened.
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Old 06-12-10, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bikesafer View Post
In Wisconsin the law just changed and now it's legal to pass on the right if there is enough pavement and the person is making a left turn.

Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
This is the law in AZ: Check local laws, they vary by state.
"
28-724. Overtaking on the right
A. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
1. When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn.
B. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle on the right only under conditions permitting the movement in safety. The driver shall not make the movement by driving off the pavement or main traveled portion of the roadway."
This is also the law in Vermont.
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Old 06-12-10, 01:59 PM
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She broke the law due around here due to an "unsafe turning motion". It is the same charge if somebody turns into you when filtering forward, motorists should be shoulder checking and looking at mirrors before changing position(lol ya right).

Don't post on here asking who is at fault unless you're ready for an earful about how the cyclist always is at fault because it's their neck.
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Old 06-12-10, 02:35 PM
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people driving vehicles are always in such a rush for no reason which is why stupid things like this happen.
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Old 06-12-10, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sudo bike View Post
Plus, if I'm reading this right, he was not in the same travel lane, he was on the shoulder. Meaning, providing in his state that's OK, he shouldn't be obligated to stop behind a left turning vehicle since he's not in that travel lane, right?

I don't see anything particularly unsafe about what he did (again, if I'm reading this right). He's riding on the shoulder, a car is turning left, the car behind doesn't want to wait so pulls around partially entering the shoulder. This should be no question that it's the motorist's fault, and I don't think the cyclist was required to stop in this situation.
This I what I was thinking at the time. However to refute the post after this, the car that I collided with hadn't finished passing me when it started slowing for the other car. We basically reached the car taking a left at the sale time.
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Old 06-12-10, 03:28 PM
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This is pretty simple IMO...

https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/...65/265-144.htm

I. A person propelling a bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat attached to the bicycle.
II. No bicycle shall be used to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.
III. No person riding upon any bicycle, coaster, roller skates, skateboard, sled or toy vehicle shall attach the same or himself to any vehicle upon a roadway.
IV. No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.
V. Persons riding bicycles 2 or more abreast shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of traffic and, on a laned roadway, shall ride within a single lane.
VI. Bicyclists intending to turn right or left shall not be required to give a continuous hand or arm signal if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.
VII. A person propelling a bicycle may pass a slower-moving vehicle in the same lane provided such movement can be made with reasonable safety. A person propelling a bicycle may pass a stationary or stopped motor vehicle on the right.
VIII. Any bicyclist shall stop upon demand of a peace officer and permit his bicycle to be inspected.
IX. No bicycle shall be operated unless the steering, brakes, tires and other required equipment are in safe condition.
X. No person less than 16 years of age may operate or ride upon a bicycle on a public way unless he or she wears protective headgear of a type approved by the commissioner of health and human services.
XI. A person propelling a bicycle upon a way at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time and place shall remain on the right portion of the way as far as practicable except when it is unsafe to do so or:
(a) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or any other vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
(b) When preparing for or making a left turn at an intersection or into a driveway.
(c) When proceeding straight in a place where right turns are permitted.
(d) When necessary to avoid hazardous conditions, including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, broken pavement, glass, sand, puddles, ice, or opening doors of parked vehicles.
XII. A bicyclist shall wear at least one item of reflective outerwear apparel, such as a reflective vest, jacket, or helmet strip, during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise. Source. RSA 250:17-a. 1973, 440:2. 1981, 146:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1982; 422:10, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m. 2005, 100:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. 2008, 209:3, 4, eff. Jan. 1, 2009.
https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/...265/265-19.htm

The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle only under the following conditions:
I. When the vehicle overtaken is making or about to make a left turn;
II. Upon a roadway with unobstructed pavement of sufficient width for 2 or more lines of vehicles moving lawfully in the direction being traveled by the overtaking vehicle;
III. The driver of a vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. Such movement shall not be made by driving off the roadway. Source. RSA 262-A:18. 1963, 330:1. 1973, 49:1. 1981, 146:1; 479:31, eff. Jan. 1, 1982, at 12:01 a.m.

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Old 06-12-10, 03:38 PM
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You were both trying to pass on the right, at first I'd lay some blame on both sides, but the above post says that's legal. I still wouldn't do it; I never pass on the right unless there's an actual bike lane there, and even then, I slow it down and keep an eye on every car that I pass.

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.

As far as checking, I doubt she noticed that she hit you.

I'd probably lay more of the blame on her. Though the above stated rules do say a car can pass on the right of another car waiting to make a left turn, I wonder if that's assuming that there are two lanes, or whether that's meant to mean that they can go around off the roadway?

In the end I wouldn't worry about it since there was no damage. Just use it to hone your instincts for the future.
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Old 06-12-10, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
You were both trying to pass on the right, at first I'd lay some blame on both sides, but the above post says that's legal.
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
I don't think any of this alters the driver's guilt. The cyclist was passing two slow/stopped cars in a legal manner. The car passed another car in an unsafe manner- she knew a safety hazard existed in the shoulder, and there was also some sort of failure to signal correctly.

Additionally, I'm guessing the shoulder is a recognized location on a roadway and you're still not supposed to collide with things in/on it. If your angle is correct, then the OP is longer a vehicle outside the white line, and he's a pedestrian instead, and the driver is guilty of hit-and-run on a pedestrian.

Also to the OP: Your compassion toward the driver is admirable, but consider the next guy she unknowingly hits because she wasn't punished for her infractions.

Last edited by Raiden; 06-12-10 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 06-12-10, 05:42 PM
  #25  
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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.

Last edited by bosoxmrkn; 06-12-10 at 05:45 PM.
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