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My mom hit a kid the other day on a bicycle...

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My mom hit a kid the other day on a bicycle...

Old 11-18-12, 11:18 PM
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Speedwagon98
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My mom hit a kid the other day on a bicycle...

Friday night, I get a call from my mom. She is all kinds of freaked out, because she just hit a 16 year old kid on a bicycle.

Driving home after work, she was in her subdivision(a 25mph side street). Goes to turn into her driveway, and here comes the bicycle ninja. Kid hits the front of her car as she turned left into the driveway. Kid goes up onto her hood, breaks one of her headlights. She didn't see the kid at all, because it was dark out, and he had no lights or reflectors, and was wearing dark clothing. Apparently the kid was under the impression that the neighbors dog was chasing him, so he wasn't looking forward while pedaling.

Bike gets mangled pretty good, but the kid says he's ok. She offers to give him a ride. No one calls the police. The kid goes home, but today his leg was hurting, so the kid's dad takes him to the hospital, and they call the police. The police just showed up at my mom's house at 11pm to talk to her about this. No charges are being pressed currently, but it sounds like it is a possibility.

My mother is already paranoid about driving at night. She avoids it whenever she can, but winter in Chicago means driving in the dark. She has a 2011 Lancer, so fairly good headlights(and rather expensive to replace too).

A very good reason to not be a bicycle ninja. Anyone know what charges could be pressed in a situation like this?
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Old 11-18-12, 11:31 PM
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If the bicyclist had no lights and it was after dark, your mom is in the clear. It just comes down to if the insurance company wants to play hardball with the kid's family or not.
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Old 11-19-12, 12:28 AM
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Your mom should have called the police at the time of the collision, to prove the cyclist did not have lights. Did she give the kid her insurance information (likely required by law if the police were not going to be called). Even without lights on the bicycle, your mom may be held partially at fault for the collision since she was making a left turn and collided with the right of way cyclist.

You need to check the no-fault laws. Good chance your moms insurance will have to cover the kids medical bills. The head light is likely less than your moms deductible and your mom will just have to pay for that out of pocket unless she takes the kids parents to small claims court. Kids parents could also take your mom to small claims court for bike damage and medical if they do not want to go through insurance or the insurance will not cover those claims. Kid will likely end up having to just cover the damages to his bike in the end.
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Old 11-19-12, 03:59 AM
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The cyclist riding ninja-style, could be cited for not having any headlight. Your mother may be cited, but I don't think so.
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Old 11-19-12, 06:13 AM
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10-1 it's an insurance issue, but she should have had police out for the report. His initial bills will be paid by his dad's auto insurance. They'll probably try to settle with your insurance and it doesn't sound like there is enough damage for them to try getting a judgement against your mom. Without a police report it will be more difficult for your mom, or her insurance, to fight. Any time there is al collision, you need a police report. I probably would take daddy to court over the car damage, but your position is undermined by a lack of evidence. How the insurance piece works varies by state law, many have no fault rules.

i was right hooked by a young girl in a car around 10 years ago. She was FREAKED, crying, etc. I wasn't hurt beyond scratches/bruises and my bike was ok. I was nicer back then and I let it go after we exchanged information. A week later her dad calls me and wants me to pay for damage to her car. Of course I didn't, but it was aggravation and it could have been avoided with a police report.

Last edited by KonAaron Snake; 11-19-12 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 11-19-12, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Your mom should have called the police at the time of the collision, to prove the cyclist did not have lights. Did she give the kid her insurance information (likely required by law if the police were not going to be called). Even without lights on the bicycle, your mom may be held partially at fault for the collision since she was making a left turn and collided with the right of way cyclist.
IANAL, but...

If it's after sundown and there are no lights or reflectors, I think that pretty much legally absolves her of responsibility. I don't know what that does in a no-fault state (where responsibility for an accident is no longer required), but she should be (mostly) in the clear.

+1 on calling the police regardless immediately.

Good luck,
Charles
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Old 11-19-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post
IANAL, but...

If it's after sundown and there are no lights or reflectors, I think that pretty much legally absolves her of responsibility. I don't know what that does in a no-fault state (where responsibility for an accident is no longer required), but she should be (mostly) in the clear.

+1 on calling the police regardless immediately.

Good luck,
Charles
No reflectors is an assumption that can no longer be proven. What happens if the kid was on a BMX bike that does not meet the legal definition of a vehicle?
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Old 11-19-12, 08:01 AM
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Hi,

Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
No reflectors is an assumption that can no longer be proven. What happens if the kid was on a BMX bike that does not meet the legal definition of a vehicle?
That's actually a good question. I'm assuming it doesn't matter.

If you decide to ride a lawn tractor on the street with no headlights and you get into an accident, I don't believe the fact that you weren't in a car is an excuse to not have headlights.

Likewise, if you hit a pedestrian at night who is without lights or reflectors, I believe the outcome is the same. If you don't have a reasonable chance of seeing somebody due to their own actions, that changes who is liable.

Again, IANAL...

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 11-19-12, 08:08 AM
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Also... the kid said he wasn't watching where he was going.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-19-12, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post
Likewise, if you hit a pedestrian at night who is without lights or reflectors, I believe the outcome is the same. If you don't have a reasonable chance of seeing somebody due to their own actions, that changes who is liable.
You are way off here if you think there is some duty for pedestrians to have lights and reflectors. And if the bicycle does not meet the definition of a vehicle, then the kid will be considered the same as a pedestrian. In some no-fault states, even adult cyclist are treated as pedestrians for insurance liability.


It has been over 20 years since I lived in CT, so I do not remember the laws there, but I suggest you do some serious reading to avoid unpleasant surprises should you ever be in a collision.
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Old 11-19-12, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Also... the kid said he wasn't watching where he was going.
Prove it, no police report or witnesses and the kid has probably been coached by mom and dad by now.

Always get a police report to protect your butt. Was riding with another guy on a country road and as we turned into a subdivision a woman pulled out in front of us. He T-boned her, I finally talked a neighbor into calling police as nobody involved seemed to want to. I think the guy was happy afterwards that we did. Wheel was tacoed and helmet was split in two.

If you end up in court (small claims) and you don't have a police report, you're dead.

Last edited by curly666; 11-19-12 at 08:42 AM.
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Old 11-19-12, 09:38 AM
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You'd think her headlights would have illuminated him.
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Old 11-19-12, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
You are way off here if you think there is some duty for pedestrians to have lights and reflectors. And if the bicycle does not meet the definition of a vehicle, then the kid will be considered the same as a pedestrian. In some no-fault states, even adult cyclist are treated as pedestrians for insurance liability.
Yes, I am suggesting that if a pedestrian is walking in the road in the dark with no reflective clothing or lights and you hit said pedestrian, your liability is very different than if they were illuminated. Why? How are you supposed to see somebody dressed in all black?

This is particularly true for bicycles as they move much faster than pedestrians (generally) do and can move very quickly into your "active area."

Charles
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Old 11-19-12, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post
Yes, I am suggesting that if a pedestrian is walking in the road in the dark with no reflective clothing or lights and you hit said pedestrian, your liability is very different than if they were illuminated. Why? How are you supposed to see somebody dressed in all black?

This is particularly true for bicycles as they move much faster than pedestrians (generally) do and can move very quickly into your "active area."

Charles
It's true. A woman was killed near here a few months back. No charges were filed, because she was walking in dark clothing at a corner with no lighting. Now that's morally wrong - the driver should travel as slow as necessary to see and avoid pedestrians - but legally the run-down was an accident.

I wonder in this case, was the cyclist on the sidewalk? The original post doesn't say, but it could make a difference in places where children (here 16 years old is the cutoff) are allowed to ride there. I'm thinking not, but it might make it harder on OP since the cyclist could be viewed as a pedestrian in this case.

None of my business, but won't your mom's liability insurance cover the kid's medical expenses? Is the question how to avoid that?
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Old 11-19-12, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post
Hi,



That's actually a good question. I'm assuming it doesn't matter.

If you decide to ride a lawn tractor on the street with no headlights and you get into an accident, I don't believe the fact that you weren't in a car is an excuse to not have headlights.

Likewise, if you hit a pedestrian at night who is without lights or reflectors, I believe the outcome is the same. If you don't have a reasonable chance of seeing somebody due to their own actions, that changes who is liable.

Again, IANAL...

Cheers,
Charles
I would have to agree with you. When I am out riding I see I do not know how many people walking and riding who do not have lights and are wearing dark colored clothing. So much so that when I do actually see someone particularly a walker that I'll stop and thank them for taking responsibility for their personal safety.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:11 AM
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Failure to report an accident.
Contact an lawyer for advice.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Also... the kid said he wasn't watching where he was going.
That sounds like an admission of guilt to me on the part of the kid, who also IIRC claims to have been chased by a dog.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
That sounds like an admission of guilt to me on the part of the kid, who also IIRC claims to have been chased by a dog.
Is it? If you are proceeding in a straight line and you have the right of way, why should you have to be watching out?
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Old 11-19-12, 10:23 AM
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FYI - without a police report, and without a witness or photos, nothing that kid said regarding fault is at all relevant. The reality is that those kinds of statements are seen as during trauma and are given little weight. What gets weight are photos, police reports and witness accounts.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:35 AM
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+100000000 for the suggestion about calling the police. Now it's just your word against his, and he's a minor and his parents may not allow him to testify. ALWAYS call the police and have them take a statement. I'd also advise keeping the conversation with the other party to a minimum, check to see if they're OK, if they need an ambulance, if they need to contact a parent or guardian. Even if the kid picks up the bike and runs off CALL THE POLICE and STAY in the accident area.

I'm afraid you will now be on the hook for what could be a sizable medical bill as well as be responsible for replacing the bike - regardless of how difficult the kid was to see. ALWAYS protect your interests by calling the police and notifying your insurance company too. This society is WAY past the point where anyones word can be trusted, you MUST consider possible litigation when having an accident, no matter how small.

A few years back my car door bumped another cars door in a parking lot, they were parked offset right on the line making it hard for me to get out of my vehicle without parking too far over as well. She pitched a fit and I started to call the police, she backed off and said that she would just take my insurance information, I refused and called the police anyway, she drove off. The popo came, I gave a statement and gave them the license number of the other car. Somehow, someway she or her insurance company got a hold of me and my insurance company and was claiming that I ruined her car door - there wasn't a mark on it when she left. Well since I had called the police and made a statement and she ran off the insurance company said they'd handle it. Well they did and refused to pay ANYTHING to here and handled the whole thing without me. PRESERVE YOUR INTERESTS AND CALL THE POLICE NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE ACCIDENT, they should ALWAYS respond when an injury is involved, in my case the cop was pissed about the door ding situation and the "waste of his time" but the tactic paid off for me and didn't cost me a dime.

Last edited by Rootman; 11-19-12 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:51 AM
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According to the police last night, the kid had slightly changed his story. It sounded like he told them that basically the same story, except he said my mom didn't have her lights on. Otherwise, he told the police the same story as mentioned above.
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Old 11-19-12, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Rootman View Post
...

A few years back my car door bumped another cars door in a parking lot...
On its own I suppose? I hope you rapped it with a rolled up newspaper - bad door!
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Old 11-19-12, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
It's true. A woman was killed near here a few months back. No charges were filed, because she was walking in dark clothing at a corner with no lighting. Now that's morally wrong - the driver should travel as slow as necessary to see and avoid pedestrians - but legally the run-down was an accident.

I wonder in this case, was the cyclist on the sidewalk? The original post doesn't say, but it could make a difference in places where children (here 16 years old is the cutoff) are allowed to ride there. I'm thinking not, but it might make it harder on OP since the cyclist could be viewed as a pedestrian in this case.

None of my business, but won't your mom's liability insurance cover the kid's medical expenses? Is the question how to avoid that?
There are no sidewalks in the subdivision. He was on the right side of the road, traveling towards(head on) my mother. Insurance wasn't called at the time, because the deductible is more than the damage to the car.
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Old 11-19-12, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
You are way off here if you think there is some duty for pedestrians to have lights and reflectors. And if the bicycle does not meet the definition of a vehicle, then the kid will be considered the same as a pedestrian. In some no-fault states, even adult cyclist are treated as pedestrians for insurance liability.


It has been over 20 years since I lived in CT, so I do not remember the laws there, but I suggest you do some serious reading to avoid unpleasant surprises should you ever be in a collision.
Where do you get this from???? The majority of state/cities require that bikes have a red rear reflector and a white front light when operating at night. Doesnt matter whether the bike was sold with reflectors or not. I know the police in san jose ticket on this issue.

I have never heard of the "bike meets definition of vehicle" any place.......
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Old 11-19-12, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Also... the kid said he wasn't watching where he was going.
Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
That sounds like an admission of guilt to me on the part of the kid, who also IIRC claims to have been chased by a dog.

The so-called "admission" of a minor, as reported by someone who heard about it, from the other party involved in the accident. Good enuff evidence for an A&S lynch mob.
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