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Any help/ideas on an "almost" accident? (long story)

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Any help/ideas on an "almost" accident? (long story)

Old 03-22-13, 10:27 PM
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Bahnzo
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Any help/ideas on an "almost" accident? (long story)

I've read the disclaimer on the site, but I'm going to tell my story up this point. It's not terrible, but I want to vent and ask some advice and maybe inform others who might be in the same situation as I.

I was riding on a sidewalk (and I realize that a sidewalk isn't a place for a bike usually, but my alternative was crossing a 4 lane road, riding 1/2 block and crossing that 4 lane again, so in this case it was a safe choice IMO). As I was crossing a business entrance, a truck tried to make a turn across traffic into my path. I saw the truck out of the corner of my eye and was able to brake and swerve and avoid the truck. But in doing so I lost control of the bike and crashed. I wasn't hurt too badly, some road rash on knee and leg.

The driver rolled down his window. He didn't ask if I was ok or apologize for causing this, but actually laughed at me and told me it was all my fault, that he didn't hit me and I was stupid for wrecking my bike. I was of course a little pissed at this reaction, so I laid into him. I'm not afraid to use strong language when I think it's proper, so I did (can you blame me?). I didn't threaten him in any way, simply called him some choice words and told him to pay attention when driving. He *did* threaten me and was told I would get my ass kicked. After some jawing I left and rode a couple hundred feet down to the next business to catch my breath and assess my injuries.

It was here I saw this driver was an employee of the store I was almost hit in front of. I decided (maybe wrongly) that I should speak to his boss to see if this kind of attitude was company policy. So, ok...yeah I was gonna be an a-hole and get him in trouble. To my surprise, his boss came out and threatened me, told me to go "F" myself etc etc. Said his employee wasn't on the clock and what he did wasn't his business and get out before he beat me.

At this point the employee (I'm guessing seeing his boss) came out and threatened me again, getting in my face, pushing me and not allowing me to leave. He was bigger than me, and I know when I'm probably on the losing end of a fight, so I was trying to back away and leave, but he continued to get in my face, threaten me with physical violence and keep me from leaving.

As I tried to back away and leave, he kicked my bike numerous times and damaged the rear rim beyond repair.

At this point I took out my phone and called the police.

After some time and talking I was told this: the police said I was the aggressor. Because I used "vulgar" language and because I came back to the scene of the accident (after I left and assessed my condition and noticed he was an employee), what I did was considered "harassment". They also would not ticket the driver with any driving offense, since I was riding on the sidewalk I was a pedestrian and not subject to any traffic or bicycle laws. They noted that he admitted to stomping on my rim and causing damage, but refused to charge him without charging me with the harassment charge. They refused to tell me what penalties the harassment charge would carry, saying "That's up to the judge", so I couldn't make an informed decision to agree to the charge in order to have the other guy charged as well.

Wow...right? So for starters, any ideas on how I should proceed from this? I feel like I really got the short end of this. I've contacted the corporate offices of the company whose employee/owner/franchise this happened on, and haven't heard from them. I'm not sure there's a law suit here due to the nature of injuries (but then I'm not a lawyer and I'm not sure of the final extent of the injuries

My final plan is to simply sue for the extent of the cost of the replacement for the rim + labor + any other damages I can possibly think of. Anything else? Thanks for reading.

Edit: I should add, as a learning experience. I was told that since I cussed out the driver, that kinda screwed me. So...it seems that if you are involved in something, hold your tongue. In Colorado, among other things, harassment is considered "using profane language or gestures in a public place" which I would consider "conversation" but can also be used against you. I also learned that you should be *very* careful as to what you admit to a police officer. I tried to be truthful and honest, but since the I admitted to the "coarse language" and the driver didn't admit to his language and menacing, I was on the outside. Either don't do it, or lie you ass off if there aren't any witnesses. Sad, but true. I should also add then when I was asking about the "harassment" charge and as to if the driver's name/address would included in the police report, I was told by one officer that "I've got better things to do than discuss this". Nice, good job Loveland Co, police.

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Old 03-23-13, 07:49 AM
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I understand that sometimes the sidewalk is the default safest choice. But sidewalk riding is as safe or unsafe as you make it. Regardless of what you might think the law says about right-of-way when a vehicle is going in or out of a driveway, for your own safety you need to stay alert and yield to everybody and everything. When I ride on the sidewalk I check the street for slowing traffic that might turn in, I check the parking lot for anybody coming out and prepare to stop. Had you been doing as I advise you most likely would have had plenty of time to yield to the truck.

Cussing out somebody bigger than you over an incident like you describe is not very smart. What did you expect? That cussing him out would change his attitude for the better? Without any friendly witnesses I doubt you have a viable lawsuit.

Was it legal to ride on the sidewalk? I looked up your city code and in some areas it is, in some areas it is not.

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Old 03-23-13, 08:16 AM
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Most competent drivers check a sidewalk before they cross into a street. I'd say it wasn't a good idea to follow up on a hostile confrontation, but you probably would win a civil/small claims case because he did damage your property. Live and learn.
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Old 03-23-13, 11:59 AM
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Invest in 30 minutes of a real lawyers time if you wish to find out what your real options are.
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Old 03-23-13, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
I've read the disclaimer on the site, but I'm going to tell my story up this point. It's not terrible, but I want to vent and ask some advice and maybe inform others who might be in the same situation as I.

I was riding on a sidewalk (and I realize that a sidewalk isn't a place for a bike usually, but my alternative was crossing a 4 lane road, riding 1/2 block and crossing that 4 lane again, so in this case it was a safe choice IMO). As I was crossing a business entrance, a truck tried to make a turn across traffic into my path. I saw the truck out of the corner of my eye and was able to brake and swerve and avoid the truck. But in doing so I lost control of the bike and crashed. I wasn't hurt too badly, some road rash on knee and leg.

The driver rolled down his window. He didn't ask if I was ok or apologize for causing this, but actually laughed at me and told me it was all my fault, that he didn't hit me and I was stupid for wrecking my bike. I was of course a little pissed at this reaction, so I laid into him. I'm not afraid to use strong language when I think it's proper, so I did (can you blame me?). I didn't threaten him in any way, simply called him some choice words and told him to pay attention when driving. He *did* threaten me and was told I would get my ass kicked. After some jawing I left and rode a couple hundred feet down to the next business to catch my breath and assess my injuries.

It was here I saw this driver was an employee of the store I was almost hit in front of. I decided (maybe wrongly) that I should speak to his boss to see if this kind of attitude was company policy. So, ok...yeah I was gonna be an a-hole and get him in trouble. To my surprise, his boss came out and threatened me, told me to go "F" myself etc etc. Said his employee wasn't on the clock and what he did wasn't his business and get out before he beat me.

At this point the employee (I'm guessing seeing his boss) came out and threatened me again, getting in my face, pushing me and not allowing me to leave. He was bigger than me, and I know when I'm probably on the losing end of a fight, so I was trying to back away and leave, but he continued to get in my face, threaten me with physical violence and keep me from leaving.

As I tried to back away and leave, he kicked my bike numerous times and damaged the rear rim beyond repair.

At this point I took out my phone and called the police.

After some time and talking I was told this: the police said I was the aggressor. Because I used "vulgar" language and because I came back to the scene of the accident (after I left and assessed my condition and noticed he was an employee), what I did was considered "harassment". They also would not ticket the driver with any driving offense, since I was riding on the sidewalk I was a pedestrian and not subject to any traffic or bicycle laws. They noted that he admitted to stomping on my rim and causing damage, but refused to charge him without charging me with the harassment charge. They refused to tell me what penalties the harassment charge would carry, saying "That's up to the judge", so I couldn't make an informed decision to agree to the charge in order to have the other guy charged as well.

Wow...right? So for starters, any ideas on how I should proceed from this? I feel like I really got the short end of this. I've contacted the corporate offices of the company whose employee/owner/franchise this happened on, and haven't heard from them. I'm not sure there's a law suit here due to the nature of injuries (but then I'm not a lawyer and I'm not sure of the final extent of the injuries

My final plan is to simply sue for the extent of the cost of the replacement for the rim + labor + any other damages I can possibly think of. Anything else? Thanks for reading.

Edit: I should add, as a learning experience. I was told that since I cussed out the driver, that kinda screwed me. So...it seems that if you are involved in something, hold your tongue. In Colorado, among other things, harassment is considered "using profane language or gestures in a public place" which I would consider "conversation" but can also be used against you. I also learned that you should be *very* careful as to what you admit to a police officer. I tried to be truthful and honest, but since the I admitted to the "coarse language" and the driver didn't admit to his language and menacing, I was on the outside. Either don't do it, or lie you ass off if there aren't any witnesses. Sad, but true. I should also add then when I was asking about the "harassment" charge and as to if the driver's name/address would included in the police report, I was told by one officer that "I've got better things to do than discuss this". Nice, good job Loveland Co, police.
The 'threat' by the Loveland Police, of a charge of harassment, sounds like they could care less, about cyclists'. I know Don found that biking on the sidewalk is not permitted everywhere in the City of Loveland. But that doesn't excuse the motorist's behavior.
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Old 03-23-13, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by curbtender View Post
Most competent drivers check a sidewalk before they cross into a street. I'd say it wasn't a good idea to follow up on a hostile confrontation, but you probably would win a civil/small claims case because he did damage your property. Live and learn.
And competent cyclists don't trust motorists to check the sidewalk. If the bike is traveling at a good clip on the sidewalk it will be missed by the typical motorist's cursory check.

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Old 03-23-13, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Roosterbird View Post
Invest in 30 minutes of a real lawyers time if you wish to find out what your real options are.
A capable lawyer's 1/2 hour is worth more than a typical bike wheel.

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Old 03-23-13, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
A capable lawyer's 1/2 hour is worth more than a typical bike wheel.
Small claims court in most places is about $50 to file. Make sure to get a copy of the police report and at least the officers' names who heard him admit to kicking the bike.
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Old 03-23-13, 03:25 PM
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If you have the money. You might learn something for the future. Just a thought. And he will tell you whether the cop was telling you the truth.
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Old 03-23-13, 03:41 PM
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Brilliant deduction by law enforcement, motorist laughs at cyclist and calls him stupid for crashing his bike, cyclist gets irate at the comment and then wants to talk to employer = harassment. One would think that law enforcement charging the motorist for physical assault would not be hinged on the cyclist's verbal response to the motorist's comments. Typical anti cyclist train of thought at work.
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Old 03-23-13, 03:53 PM
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Too bad.....So sad
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Old 03-23-13, 04:04 PM
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Sorry to be blunt about this but in practice "almost accident" doesn't count, and going back to the guy's employer to complain is harassment. Especially if you were disrupting business. Not letting you leave and stomping your wheel is wrong of course but you're going to have a real hard time making that stick. My advice, get a new wheel and let sleeping dogs lie.
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Old 03-23-13, 04:09 PM
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The only part of Loveland where a bike isn't permitted on a sidewalk is certain areas of downtown. So no issue there. I ride this 1 block stretch of sidewalk a lot, so I'm always very mindful of cars entering and leaving parking lots. I go slow and am often not the only cyclist on this stretch using the sidewalk.

I certainly agree my mouth got me in trouble. But then I was laying on the ground, bleeding and scraped up and being taunted by the driver that caused it....so yeah I was a little pissed. But a learning experience and hopefully for others as well.

This happened a week ago, so I've had time to think. I've tried contacting the corporate headquarters of the company and have yet to hear from them. I might try calling next week. I'll look into small claims...it was just under $50 to get the rim replaced but I'll be damned if I'm paying for this guy's deliberate damage.
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Old 03-23-13, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Sorry to be blunt about this but in practice "almost accident" doesn't count,
Maybe. I was thinking about this....if I was driving a car, and someone suddenly pulled in front of me and I swerved to avoid it and wrecked my car, would the other driver not be at fault because he didn't hit me?
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Old 03-23-13, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Sorry to be blunt about this but in practice "almost accident" doesn't count, and going back to the guy's employer to complain is harassment.
I can see that you never worked in customer service.
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Old 03-23-13, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Worknomore View Post
Too bad.....So sad

Surprising answer from someone who lives in an area that was voted one of the top ten places to bicycle in Florida, by one or more biking websites.
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Old 03-23-13, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
This happened a week ago, so I've had time to think. I've tried contacting the corporate headquarters of the company and have yet to hear from them. I might try calling next week. I'll look into small claims...it was just under $50 to get the rim replaced but I'll be damned if I'm paying for this guy's deliberate damage.
AFAIK, no state allows more than actual expenses in small claims (i.e. no pain and suffering awards) but I think you can claim the filing fee and any replacement costs for clothing you bled on or otherwise damaged in the wreck, cost of having the bike fully checked by a shop, etc.
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Old 03-23-13, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Sorry to be blunt about this but in practice "almost accident" doesn't count, and going back to the guy's employer to complain is harassment.
Complaining to someone's employer about reckless driving isn't harassment, it's a valid complaint. Even if the guy was off the clock, if he was easily identified with the company, the employer should consider his behavior to be relevant to the company's image. I've worked for plenty of companies that had policies about not wearing visible ID cards or uniform shirts in certain situations off the clock, not taking company vehicles with door signs to the bar, etc.
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Old 03-23-13, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
The only part of Loveland where a bike isn't permitted on a sidewalk is certain areas of downtown. So no issue there. I ride this 1 block stretch of sidewalk a lot, so I'm always very mindful of cars entering and leaving parking lots. I go slow....
Why was it difficult to stop for the truck in time then? It may not be right to have to do it, but for my own safety, I give the right-of-way to vehicles crossing the sidewalk unless eye contact has been established and it is 100% clear they are letting me through.

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Old 03-23-13, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
Maybe. I was thinking about this....if I was driving a car, and someone suddenly pulled in front of me and I swerved to avoid it and wrecked my car, would the other driver not be at fault because he didn't hit me?
Depends on the situation, don't you think?

Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
I can see that you never worked in customer service.
Oh I have, although I prefer my current career incarnation as a software engineer. I'd put up with a lot from a customer. But it's a big difference, causing a scene about something that happened off the clock and not in a uniform or company car.
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Old 03-23-13, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
Maybe. I was thinking about this....if I was driving a car, and someone suddenly pulled in front of me and I swerved to avoid it and wrecked my car, would the other driver not be at fault because he didn't hit me?
In that example it is typically hard to establish fault. Yes fault exists, but hard to get prosecuted or collect civil damages on.

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Old 03-23-13, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dynodonn View Post
Surprising answer from someone who lives in an area that was voted one of the top ten places to bicycle in Florida, by one or more biking websites.
What does where I live have to do with my comment? Idiot drivers are everywhere and making the situation worse by shooting off you mouth definitely happens everywhere.
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Old 03-23-13, 06:43 PM
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I think he's already found his answer. Mistakes happen and I'm sure if these two ended up at auntie May's house somewhere in CO, they'd explain what was going on in thier lives that made them adversarial.
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Old 03-23-13, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
But it's a big difference, causing a scene about something that happened off the clock and not in a uniform or company car.
He was in uniform, and he was on company property.
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Old 03-23-13, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Worknomore View Post
What does where I live have to do with my comment? Idiot drivers are everywhere and making the situation worse by shooting off you mouth definitely happens everywhere.
Maybe the bike websites got it wrong.

So it's OK for the motorist to shoot his mouth off first, first to resort to physical assault, and first to give his company a figurative black eye. I wouldn't be so quick to drop the hammer on the cyclist.

More anti cyclist thought processing.
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