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feeling guilty about this accident

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feeling guilty about this accident

Old 09-21-15, 01:17 PM
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feeling guilty about this accident

I usually ride in a local town that prides itself on bike pathways. This morning I was riding and one trail takes you across a usually busy 4 lane road that has a bike median for safety. Most of the time I ride up to this road and make a u-turn and head back but, traffic was light this morning so I went for it. Everything was fine until coming back. The road was busier so I stopped and waited until the north 2 lanes were clear and went to the median where I again stopped to wait. A car also stopped to let me thru but this is two lanes and there were other cars coming so I motioned him on. The car behind him stopped but before they could take off, a tri-axle dump truck plowed the second car hard. Thank God no one was injured but the lady was very shaken up and ended up in an ambulance. The police report stated that it was the truck drivers fault and I was just a participant (whatever that means). I realize that I'm not really at fault here but I'm feeling guilty for ruining so many people's day. How would you feel in this situation? Sorry it's so lengthy!
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Old 09-21-15, 01:20 PM
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I can see how being there might make you feel somehow "responsible" but bottom line is that people have free will. The people who stopped for you did so because they decided to. The dumptruck driver was inattentive.
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Old 09-21-15, 01:26 PM
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The Truck driver is responsible to leave enough space between themselves and the vehicles in front of them. Clearly they didn't leave enough space, or were not paying attention. Nothing you can do about that.
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Old 09-21-15, 02:26 PM
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People who stop for me for no reason is one of my biggest peeves.

Too bad it had such a bad result this time, but it wasn't your fault...
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Last edited by rmfnla; 09-22-15 at 02:43 PM.
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Old 09-21-15, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rmfnla
People who stop for me for no reason is one of my biggest peeves.
I like it when cars are courteous to cyclists but I prefer that they take the right of way when it's there, otherwise you end up in situations like this where people stop behaving like you expect them to and BOOM! Chaos ensues.
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Old 09-21-15, 03:28 PM
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Understandable. If you weren't there it most likely wouldn't have happened. But such is life and our presence affects all kinds of people from family, friends, business associates, etc.

However you did nothing wrong. You were acting carefully and legally, and you can't be responsible for the actions of others in this situation.

I'd be upset about it too, and it would likely take me a while to get over it. Your feelings are your feelings and not wrong. Just remind yourself that you did nothing wrong.
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Old 09-21-15, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMo59
The police report stated that it was the truck drivers fault and I was just a participant (whatever that means). I realize that I'm not really at fault here but I'm feeling guilty for ruining so many people's day. How would you feel in this situation?
Absolutely not your fault. The dump truck driver was at fault. It sounds like if this is a "bike median", you were behaving in a usual and predictable way for a cyclist. Waving one car on because traffic is still flying by in the other lane is a normal thing to do also. Don't feel guilty.

I would have been long gone by the time the police got there, but that's just me.
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Old 09-22-15, 06:39 AM
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I appreciate all the responses and I'm realizing that the outcome could have been much worse. I do know that I won't be crossing any four lane roads anymore unless it's at a stop light. Thanks again!
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Old 09-22-15, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
I like it when cars are courteous to cyclists but I prefer that they take the right of way when it's there, otherwise you end up in situations like this where people stop behaving like you expect them to and BOOM! Chaos ensues.

+1. It's particularly disrupting in the big city where there is a certain "flow" that you expect. That flow gets disrupted when people don't take their proper "turn."

OP: I am curious. Is there crosswalk striping where the trail crosses the road?
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Old 09-22-15, 08:58 AM
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I agree with trojanhorse: I prefer selfish drivers becuz they are more predictable.

Charlie
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Old 09-22-15, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ursa Minor
I agree with trojanhorse: I prefer selfish drivers becuz they are more predictable.

Charlie
It's not being selfish, it's exercising their right of way.

Only a law enforcement officer has the authority to alter standing regulations.

Accidents occur when a driver deviates from what is expected...
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Old 09-22-15, 09:46 AM
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What if you were not there, traffic carried on normally and the inattentive dump truck driver went on to later plow into other vehicles with more damage, destruction and possibly death?
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Old 09-22-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
+1. It's particularly disrupting in the big city where there is a certain "flow" that you expect. That flow gets disrupted when people don't take their proper "turn."

OP: I am curious. Is there crosswalk striping where the trail crosses the road?
Yes, the pathway is well marked with caution lights and stripes. But, it's the type of thing where some people comes to a complete stop and some blow on thru. That sets up a very dangerous scenario when there's two lanes of traffic each way.

Last edited by BigMo59; 09-22-15 at 10:18 AM. Reason: add content
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Old 09-22-15, 10:59 AM
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I used to have a .44 Magnum I called Big Mo (really)...
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Old 09-22-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by BigMo59
Yes, the pathway is well marked with caution lights and stripes. But, it's the type of thing where some people comes to a complete stop and some blow on thru. That sets up a very dangerous scenario when there's two lanes of traffic each way.
It most certainly does. A few years ago a local path here was extended in a similar way--two lanes of traffic, an island and then two more lanes of traffic. Both crossings are marked with crosswalk striping. A father and son were crossing towards the median. The vehicle in the lane closest to them stopped. The vehicle in the left lane kept going and struck the father. IIRC, the vehicle that stopped was on the large side so the driver of the striking vehicle couldn't see the cyclists crossing until it was too late. The city has since installed a traffic light at the crossing.
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Old 09-22-15, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
It most certainly does. A few years ago a local path here was extended in a similar way--two lanes of traffic, an island and then two more lanes of traffic. Both crossings are marked with crosswalk striping. A father and son were crossing towards the median. The vehicle in the lane closest to them stopped. The vehicle in the left lane kept going and struck the father. IIRC, the vehicle that stopped was on the large side so the driver of the striking vehicle couldn't see the cyclists crossing until it was too late. The city has since installed a traffic light at the crossing.
I just watched a video of bike accidents and at least 3 of them was this exact scenario. No reason not to have a light installed in those situation especially if it's a high traffic area.

Last edited by LGHT; 09-22-15 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 09-22-15, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by LGHT
No reason to have a light installed in those situation especially if it's a high traffic area.
Huh? The active traffic control device helps prevent the same type of accident from occurring again. The light turns red, all four lanes stop, bikes and peds cross all for lanes.
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Old 09-22-15, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Huh? The active traffic control device helps prevent the same type of accident from occurring again. The light turns red, all four lanes stop, bikes and peds cross all for lanes.
I forgot the not.... lol
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Old 09-22-15, 02:09 PM
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That's a bummer. In a situation like that, I try to adjust my body language to make it clear to drivers that I'm not trying to make a dash for it, and I'm not interested in them stopping for me, I have all the time in the world to wait until I can cross casually.

But sometimes people insist on being 'nice'...
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Old 09-22-15, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
It most certainly does. A few years ago a local path here was extended in a similar way--two lanes of traffic, an island and then two more lanes of traffic. Both crossings are marked with crosswalk striping. A father and son were crossing towards the median. The vehicle in the lane closest to them stopped. The vehicle in the left lane kept going and struck the father. IIRC, the vehicle that stopped was on the large side so the driver of the striking vehicle couldn't see the cyclists crossing until it was too late. The city has since installed a traffic light at the crossing.
Here in CA pedestrians have the legal right of way. If a car in one lane stops for them all lanes have to stop.

Very expensive ticket but that doesn't keep people from driving like buttheads...
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Old 09-22-15, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ursa Minor
I agree with trojanhorse: I prefer selfish drivers becuz they are more predictable.

Charlie

Exactly. When cars start treating bicycles as different than regular vehicles and traffic, they aren't doing anyone any favors. In fact, they are creating hazards like this. The two cars involved in this are at fault, not the OP standing on the side of the road. This is owned jointly by the dope that stopped in the first place (however well intentioned that was) and the inattentive truck driver that rear ended them. The problem is that while the truck driver was at fault so, really, was the guy who stopped in front of him for the wrong reasons.

In point of fact, when I see cars doing this sort of thing - the LAST thing I want to do is cross in front of them. They've just created a dangerous situation where they could get hit from behind and pushed into or over me as I cross. I do not want to cross in front of a driver that does not know the rules of the road.

J.
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Old 09-22-15, 04:05 PM
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This reminds me of a time I was crossing a four-lane suburban boulevard with a 45 mph speed limit. There is a center lane in between the two lanes in each direction for cars (and bikes) to pull into while waiting to turn left on to a neighborhood street.

There is no median or any other kind of lights, signs, etc.

I waited from a side street until both lanes in my direction were clear of cars, then rode across them and into the center turn lane, where I extended my left arm straight out to signal a left turn.

Immediately some woman in the closer of the oncoming lanes slammed on her brakes, as if I was a cop directing traffic or something. Of course traffic in the farther lane kept zooming by, and I had to wave to the lady to tell her to keep going.

Stuff like that makes me wonder what they teach in Driver's Ed these days. I realize she was trying to be "nice", but she endangered herself and those driving behind her - and me too, I guess, if someone swerved wildly to avoid her - with her "courtesy".
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Old 09-22-15, 05:43 PM
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This reminds me of a situation I was involved in when I was first starting off, riding down a rural 2 lane highway with a extra wide shoulder (I was on the far right), a car came up from behind - could clearly see traffic coming the opposite direction and yet still insisted on giving me the entire lane and putting their life in danger. Luckily the car coming towards us was attentive and braked, but to this day I hate drivers who do this. I'm not sure if they do it because they have trouble judging how close their surroundings are or if they simply think a bicycle going 15-ish mph needs a whole lane with a wide shoulder available. I'd much rather a driver just slow down when they pass (not leaving their lane of travel) rather than put themselves, myself, or someone else in danger.
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Old 09-22-15, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMo59
I usually ride in a local town that prides itself on bike pathways. This morning I was riding and one trail takes you across a usually busy 4 lane road that has a bike median for safety. Most of the time I ride up to this road and make a u-turn and head back but, traffic was light this morning so I went for it. Everything was fine until coming back. The road was busier so I stopped and waited until the north 2 lanes were clear and went to the median where I again stopped to wait. A car also stopped to let me thru but this is two lanes and there were other cars coming so I motioned him on. The car behind him stopped but before they could take off, a tri-axle dump truck plowed the second car hard. Thank God no one was injured but the lady was very shaken up and ended up in an ambulance. The police report stated that it was the truck drivers fault and I was just a participant (whatever that means). I realize that I'm not really at fault here but I'm feeling guilty for ruining so many people's day. How would you feel in this situation? Sorry it's so lengthy!
Happens a lot. Car sees bike in island and slams on the brakes. Car behind him doesn't expect it and slams into the lead car. It's so common that I stay in the island and do not go forward until all the cars have come to a complete stop, not just the lead car.

Think of it this way tough. They put the island between the two sections of highway for a reason. You used it as intended. Not your fault.
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Old 09-22-15, 10:59 PM
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You should not feel guilty. Last year a biker was killed when she proceeded in front of a car that stopped for her, but then was hit by a car in the other approaching lane that didn't stop.

As others have said, things proceed most safely if everyone properly executes their right of way. A driver might think it courteous to stop, but they can't control the behavior of the driver next to them (or behind them).

I am sorry the accident happened, but it's not your fault.
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