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Struck from behind

Old 02-13-18, 12:14 PM
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mcours2006
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Struck from behind

I aware of the pitfalls of posting details about collisions on the forum. No need to chide. But the purpose of the post is ask what can be learned and are there any changes one can make to mitigate the risk of this type of collision.

I was hit by a vehicle from behind on the way to work yesterday.

I saw a car in my helmet-mounted mirror coming from behind. I expected it to move over to the left to pass me as all other cars have done, so far. It did not, and then I felt the hit. Bike and rider launched forward.

Time was 6:30 AM, so just before sun rise.

Bike had two seat post mounted tail lights--one solid bright one (~30 lm), one on steady blink (less bright). I also had two lights on myself--one helmet mounted on flash, one on my ankle on solid. Also backpack on a fluorescent green cover with two reflective stripes. On the front I had three lights, not that it would have mattered in this instance. Two of them on handlebar, 500 lm and 350 lm both on steady, a third one (150 lm) on the head tube, blinking. Think Christmas tree.

A forensics officer took pictures of all this afterwards too.

One more bit of detail--driver was intoxicated, and possibly sleep-deprived, and possibly texting, which may have rendered all of the above visual safety measures completely useless.

But I will ask, what can be learned from this, other than the usual useless 'don't ride in the_________' advice?
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Old 02-13-18, 12:21 PM
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I think the lesson is drivers aren't going to see you (or me) unless they are looking for you, regardless of how hi-viz and lit up you (and I) are. The last time I got hit (in a hi-viz, well-lit situation) one of my coworkers gave up on riding figuring there was nothing one could do and leaving it to the driver was just too much risk. I can see that. But I do still ride.

edit: ps-> hope you are OK!

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Old 02-13-18, 12:29 PM
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Life is random. **** happens, no matter how much you prepare for it (hi-viz, mirror, lights, etc)
Glad you are okay, at least enough to be posting!
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Old 02-13-18, 12:50 PM
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What were you wearing color-wise and what color was your helmet.

Every helmet I have had was white. I buy only yellow or bright orange jerseys with no or little pattern (as I have observed as a driver that even very bright jerseys can "disappear" in mottled sunlight from trees on bright days). My theory is that bright enough objects that are moving attract subconscious response (maybe leftover survival instincts when that moving object might be a tiger). I'm not sure lights do the same thing since 10,000 years ago there weren't any. My all-time favorite jersey is a construction orange jersey with silver reflecting patches by Mavic. Spring/fall weight, great pockets and a miserable zipper that broke in a half dozen rides. Local shop had them on sale for $30. I bought 4, took them to my local drycleaner who sent them out for new, good zippers. Another $30 apiece. Portland is getting tired of seeing those jerseys but I love the awareness I get from cars.

I have been thanked many times by drivers for wearing the colors that I do. That never happened before I started wearing the very bright solid colors. (I wish the colors the rider was wearing was routinely reported for hits and close calls. I'd love to see if there is a statistical correlation.)

I know full well the "don't blame the victim" crowd is going to show up now. My apologies for bring them on.

Ben
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Old 02-13-18, 01:01 PM
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First, I hope you make a full and speedy recovery.


Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
But the purpose of the post is ask what can be learned and are there any changes one can make to mitigate the risk of this type of collision.
I'm with you on trying to learn how a particular collision, either our own or others, could have been avoided. Notice that this has NOTHING to do with fault or blame!

I saw a car in my helmet-mounted mirror coming from behind. I expected it to move over to the left to pass me as all other cars have done, so far. It did not, and then I felt the hit. Bike and rider launched forward.
Did/do you position yourself so as to maintain some bail out space to your right? If you had some space were you in the process of moving into it when hit?
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Old 02-13-18, 01:21 PM
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If you have video, feel free to post it. Other than that, it’s hard to know what happened, and what if anything you could have done differently. Hope you are OK or at least not seriously injured.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:24 PM
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Sounds like you did everything right, hope you have a speedy recovery.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:28 PM
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****. Good luck with recovery.

This happens and the only possible option is decrease the amount of cars of your selected route (assuming you have more than a single option.)
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Old 02-13-18, 01:39 PM
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Sometimes, there's just nothing you can do, or could have done differently. Life happens. That's why some people win lotteries and some are hit by lightning.

High-viz, lights, reflectors, etc, can only help prevent accidents -- they can't guarantee accidents won't happen. Every one of us assumes some risk the second we throw a leg over the top tube. The vast majority of us will enjoy the benefits, but some will suffer an unfortunate event. It's easy to forget these simple truths.

I think one of the lessons here is that life is short and unpredictable. Be thankful your injuries are not worse. Be thankful for the joys your bicycle riding has brought to your life. Be brave enough to get back out there and ride. Consider this - statistically speaking, it's pretty rare to be hit by a car while riding a bicycle, how rare is it to be hit twice? The odds are in your favor!

Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery; physical, mental, and spiritual.


-Kedosto
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Old 02-13-18, 01:40 PM
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Intoxicated at 6:30am, you can't make that any lower probability. Not a suggestion but an observation: just before or at sunrise is one of the most dangerous times as far as visibility goes. Whether that makes any difference with someone who couldn't see all of your lights, who knows.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
What were you wearing color-wise and what color was your helmet.

Every helmet I have had was white. I buy only yellow or bright orange jerseys with no or little pattern (as I have observed as a driver that even very bright jerseys can "disappear" in mottled sunlight from trees on bright days). My theory is that bright enough objects that are moving attract subconscious response (maybe leftover survival instincts when that moving object might be a tiger). I'm not sure lights do the same thing since 10,000 years ago there weren't any. My all-time favorite jersey is a construction orange jersey with silver reflecting patches by Mavic. Spring/fall weight, great pockets and a miserable zipper that broke in a half dozen rides. Local shop had them on sale for $30. I bought 4, took them to my local drycleaner who sent them out for new, good zippers. Another $30 apiece. Portland is getting tired of seeing those jerseys but I love the awareness I get from cars.

I have been thanked many times by drivers for wearing the colors that I do. That never happened before I started wearing the very bright solid colors. (I wish the colors the rider was wearing was routinely reported for hits and close calls. I'd love to see if there is a statistical correlation.)

I know full well the "don't blame the victim" crowd is going to show up now. My apologies for bring them on.

Ben
Helmet is fluorescent green.

I don't see it as 'blaming the victim'. I know full well the risks involved in risks in riding a bicycle alongside cars, let alone riding at night, and in winter, and with dicey road conditions. I choose to do it. I do not wish to get into a discussion about who's at fault. Save that for the A&S, which I thought about posting in, but decided a more purposeful discussion could be had here.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
If you have video, feel free to post it. Other than that, itís hard to know what happened, and what if anything you could have done differently. Hope you are OK or at least not seriously injured.
I do have a video, but I'm not going to post it. The police also have a copy.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
I think one of the lessons here is that life is short and unpredictable. Be thankful your injuries are not worse. Be thankful for the joys your bicycle riding has brought to your life. Be brave enough to get back out there and ride. Consider this - statistically speaking, it's pretty rare to be hit by a car while riding a bicycle, how rare is it to be hit twice? The odds are in your favor!
Haha. If that were only true. Unfortunately, statistically speaking my odds of getting hit by a car is exactly the same as it was before I was hit by a car.

Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
Best wishes to you for a speedy recovery; physical, mental, and spiritual.


-Kedosto
Thanks for the well-wishes. Physical recovery aside, it may be some time before I am emotionally and mentally ready to get back on the saddle.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I do have a video, but I'm not going to post it. The police also have a copy.
Not sure how posting the video would hurt, but itís your prerogative. Already a public record and discoverable.
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Old 02-13-18, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Not sure how posting the video would hurt, but itís your prerogative. Already a public record and discoverable.
...because I honestly have never done it. Don't have a Youtube account. Don't want to learn.
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Old 02-13-18, 02:15 PM
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I don't have anything to add other than to wish you a speedy recovery. As others have said, sometimes stuff happens despite all possible precautions.

I wish people wouldn't drink and drive (or text and drive). It's so unnecessary and causes so much damage.
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Old 02-13-18, 02:17 PM
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I don't know if this will make you feel better or not, but I'd bet the same thing would have happened if you'd been driving your car and were in the same spot at the same time.

Odds are the drunk driver didn't miss you because you didn't have enough lights or because your neon green helmet wasn't neon green enough. Odds are he hit you because he was drunk and not paying attention. If he wasn't looking at the road, if doesn't matter if you were a cyclist or a building. This guy was going to hit you.

The good news is that he admitted to being intoxicated. Granted I'm not an expert on Ontario traffic court, but I bet it's really hard to walk that kind of confession back once you say it.

As far as what follows, make sure you get checked out by a doctor. You got hit by a car and went flying into the street. Doesn't matter if you think you'll be okay. See a doctor. Get that visit documented.

If you find out you're hurt worse than you thought and need money for medical care a month from now (it happens...legitimately) you don't want the driver's insurance company to have a reason to suggest it wasn't because of the accident since you were feel well enough to not even seek medical care after it. You want to be able to say "I went to the doctor in the first couple days because I was sore. That pain got worse."

Furthermore, you want the insurance claim to have your visit to the doctor noted for the claims manager to see. The fact that you saw a doctor doesn't mean that you're going to sue the insurance company for $5 million. But knowing that you've sought medical attention and COULD sue them may make the initial settlement offer more reasonable.

If the insurance company thinks you are fine they might offer you $100 to replace a bent wheel if that's the only obvious damage.

If they are concerned that you might be more injured down the road their initial offer might be $1000 for a whole new bike and $200 to cover the check up with the doctor.

Ultimately you got rear ended by a drunk driver. The insurance company knows they are boned. They probably won't try to screw you. They know they will lose in court so they will do anything to keep you out of it. Give them a reason to think you're WILLING to go to court. You don't have to threaten it. You don't have to do it. Just give them a reason to THINK it.

And then again, if a month from now you can't stand up straight because your back is hurt, you have a leg to stand on for a larger settlement.

I am NOT saying to pretend you're hurt so you can get a big pay day. In fact, I'm actively saying DON'T do that. You WILL get caught. You WILL get prosecuted for it. Insurance companies are REALLY good at finding fraudulent claims.

I'm saying to set yourself up for a successful claims process with the insurance company and to make sure you're really as okay as you think, see a doctor tomorrow.

(Note: I work in insurance in the USA. Canadian laws might be a little different, but I doubt it's anything major)

As far as the driver goes, screw him. Show up at his DUI trial with a cane. Limp to the witness stand. Act like your life is over. Make the court want to burn him at the stake. Who cares if he was nice and apologetic at the scene. The guy got drunk and got in a car. Your minor injuries could have just as easily been a dead kid walking to school.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 02-13-18 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 02-13-18, 02:22 PM
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congrats on surviving! but we're not cats w 9 lives. can you avoid that road maybe?
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Old 02-13-18, 03:27 PM
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His insurance company is going to do everything they can to avoid a lawsuit - if there is any chance that you may need physical therapy or medical treatment for this, document everything, especially bills, and do not agree to close out the insurance claim for any reason until you are 100% certain that any issues you have are resolved. If you haven't been to a doctor by now, go. The last thing you want is to close out the claim and then 6 moths from now start have problems that could have been prevented with proper physical therapy.
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Old 02-13-18, 04:11 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, encouragement, and well-wishes, everyone. I will take it all to heart!

Here's to a speedy recovery

Last edited by mcours2006; 02-22-18 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 02-13-18, 04:33 PM
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This is the lesson I think you need:

I'd like to believe that what happened was and still is unlikely. You got unlucky. Once you get back on the bike, the likelihood of it happening again is still low. Good thing you have a mirror. I use one, too. I try to judge drivers as to whether they're paying attention or sane, but I can't judge everyone perfectly.
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Old 02-13-18, 04:38 PM
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So glad to hear you're ok! I don't know you, and we've never interacted on here but we both like cycling, and we both ride on potentially dangerous roads - your accident has me reflecting on my riding habits. You did everything right in my opinion. Infact you are far, far more visible then I am in respect to your gear.

Others have mentioned lawyering up or what not. I agree! Sock him where it really counts, right in the wallet!!

You mention a reluctance to get back on the bike - that's not your fault, and nothing to be ashamed of! That is PTSD, a natural response to the incident and a medical condition. Sue. The. Piss out of him. I promise you this isn't the first time he's done this. You need a new bike, and enough money to cover any costs involved with climbing back on that bike. Including the handy radar detector.

I had seen this discussed on the forum, I believe the road cycling forum. It's made by Garmin, it's a radar detector for bicycles.

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/51...09-10#overview

Another thought I had was to have a friend follow you in a car, with someone else video taping. That way maybe you can see how you look from a drivers perspective.
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Old 02-13-18, 04:51 PM
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My sister got up early on weekend to go to the farmers market and got rear ended by a driver that took off. The cop said most accidents at this time were due to people driving drunk, and wasn't surprised the other driver left.
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Old 02-13-18, 05:20 PM
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Glad youíre ok.

Secondly, I donít think thereís anything more you can do to increase your visibility. There will be some drivers who wonít see you. And then there are those who do see you and swear at you, like the guy in the ďSuch HostilityĒ thread.

If incidences like these deter cycling, I will continue to sound like a broken record when I ask why bad driving is an acceptable norm? The problem isnít the cyclist on the road. Itís the motorist on the road. Removing cyclists and pedestrians wonít reduce motorist fatalities at all. But removing motorists will have dramatic improvement on pedestrian and cycling fatalities and collisions. Itís incidences like these that make me anxious for self-driving cars.

However, you can do something audibly. Carry two horns. Mount your AirZounds pointing backwards. You are already proactively checking your rear-view mirror. So use the rear pointing horn just as you would with your normal horn. Can't wait for bike technology to come up with a rear facing proximity car alarm with yellow and blue flashing lights.

Finally, I donít think it would be a good idea to post your video. Like the sticky says, a lawyer for the defence may be scouring bicycle websites and forums and find yours. Post it after your case has been settled and closed.
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Old 02-13-18, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
congrats on surviving! but we're not cats w 9 lives. can you avoid that road maybe?
There are multiple routes that I can take, but there's nothing to suggest that an incident like this couldn't happen on any other road. This road is a two-lane road, 50 km/h limit, shared centre lane for left-turning cars. The road is not a busy one, especially early in the morning.

This driver could have been on any road and in his state he could have hit someone. The one thing that might have contributed to the collision was the fact that it is a long straight stretch where it doesn't require driver attention on the road to keep on the road. If, for example, it had been a bend in the road the driver would be required to turn the wheel.

So the lesson: Find the most circuitous and winding route possible.
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