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Accident question

Old 06-04-08, 01:13 PM
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seedsca
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Accident question

hello, I'm typing this in pain as I now have a splint on my left wrist....

here is the set up:
https://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=3...,0.010815&z=17

I was going down allesandro st. and made a right turn onto glendale bldv. towards the 2 freeway. the right turn arrow was green for me. as I did this I sped up so I could miss all the traffic that had a red light on glendale and would eventually make a right turn onto the freeway. the right most lane (1) is a right turn only and the one next to it (2) allowed for a right turn or a continued path on glendale. I was the first to reach the 2 freeway entrance so I figured (my mistake) that all was well and every one had seen me. well the person on lane 1 slowed down but the person on lane 2 just went on ahead and turned into me more or less side swiping me. i flew a couple of feet and slid a couple more. got her info and did not wait for a police report because we were blocking the freeway entrance (another mistake).

my question: is she at fault for not having slowed down to let me pass? considering I was very visible and she agreed to having seen me. I could not legally make a right turn onto the freeway and was keeping with the law requiring slower moving vehicles (bicycles) to stay to the right. vehicle code 21202 ( https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21202.htm )

this law is vague and confusing at best.

any help/links would be appreciated as i'm planing on getting loss wages, bike repair, and medical bills covered by her/her insurance.

thanks
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Old 06-04-08, 01:24 PM
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It sounds to me that you were going straight in a right turn lane, which is illegal unless you were in some sort of bike lane that ended at the freeway entrance or something. I could be wrong, though, and the lady admitting to having seen you doesn't do anything for her side either. Either way, I hope you heal up quickly.
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Old 06-04-08, 02:56 PM
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Sounds like he was going straight in the lane that could either turn right onto the freeway or continue on straight??? Bone
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Old 06-04-08, 03:13 PM
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sorry I'll clarify. I was on the right turn only lane as per my understanding of the law. witch might be faulty. there is no way i could enter the freeway legally. i guess i should have gotten on the right turn and through traffic lane. the second from the right.

I would assume she would slow down since i obviously can not make a right turn. but that's what happens when you assume right?
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Old 06-04-08, 03:57 PM
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The only thing to assume when riding a bike in traffic is that everyone is trying to deliberately kill you. Ride with confidence but also caution. As with most of my own incidents you are now realizing that if you only had... you could have easily avoided the situation. Right or wrong doesn't really matter that much except in a court of law.

As for your question , the driver has no right to run over you regardless of you being in the right or wrong. If you were hit the person that hit you was at fault. I am guessing she never saw you.
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Old 06-04-08, 04:01 PM
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So...you were in the lane closest to the sidewalk, correct? I'm certainly no expert at this but I think you were at fault. If you had been driving a car and continued straight in that lane, it would certainly be your fault and since you were riding, you were a vehicle occupying that lane.

Now...if you were in one lane over to the left, it was *probably* her fault.

Heal fast and best wishes.
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Old 06-04-08, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55 View Post
...If you were hit the person that hit you was at fault.
Incorrect.
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Old 06-04-08, 05:10 PM
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Bicyclist are required to comply with California vehicle codes and if it's illegal for a car to travel straight in a right turn lane, then it's illegal for a bicyclist to do so as well. If you intended to travel straight you should have been to the left of the lane not in it or to the right.

Were you ahead of the car or beside it? Are you certain the motorist saw you and could accomodate the fact you were traveling in the lane? Frankly I would have stopped and let the cars go through. Just makes sense and safer as well.

Sorry you are hurt. It's a tough lesson learned. Never assume as a cyclist you are seen by a motorist. Never. Always ride defensibly.

The best you will be able to do is claim comparative fault. i.e. you were both at fault. The motorist may owe some of your medical damages and expenses but likewise you may owe for some of her vehicle property damage (if any). I would contact the motorist and ask that she submit a claim to her insurance carrier but don't be surprised your claim is denied. At that point you will have to get an attorney.

If you have health insurance, your expenses are covered. Your homeowner policy will likely pay for bike damage (less the deductible). Loss wages are another matter. Are you really missing work because of the injury? I've had some pretty bad accidents (fx'd collarbone, fx'd wrist) and was able to work but I don't do heavy lisfting, only computer work. I was paid by my employer for time off.
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Old 06-04-08, 05:20 PM
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I'm no lawyer, but my opinion is this: I think you need to file the claim with her insurance company and see how it plays out.

They'll probably try and say you were at least partially at fault, so their costs will be reduced. They can deny the claim completely by saying you were completely at fault, but I believe they'll eventually offer you something to go away, since that would be cheaper for them than having to fight a lawsuit.

How much they will be willing to pay is the real question here. I also think you'll have a very hard time getting much more than actual losses (i.e., medical bills, cost of bike replacement), but I could very easily be wrong about that. The point is that if they determine she was anything less than 100% at fault, you'll get less than if she was.

Legal/insurance problems rarely end up with everyone being satisfied with the outcome.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:02 PM
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"I believe they'll eventually offer you something to go away, since that would be cheaper for them than having to fight a lawsuit."

Agreed, according to Win Your Personal Injury Claim from Nolo that I borrowed to help myself with my crash claim.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsca View Post
sorry I'll clarify. I was on the right turn only lane as per my understanding of the law. witch might be faulty. there is no way i could enter the freeway legally. i guess i should have gotten on the right turn and through traffic lane. the second from the right.

I would assume she would slow down since i obviously can not make a right turn. but that's what happens when you assume right?
You should have been in the second lane that would let you either go straight or turn, and taken the whole lane.

That said, if you were the first to the 2 on ramp and the driver could clearly see you then she should probably have avoided hitting you, either by braking or swerving back parallel to your motion.
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Old 06-04-08, 08:29 PM
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It's never black and white.

For example, it appears that there's quite a bit of street along that stretch of Glendale Blvd. after the right turn from Alessandro. It looks to be at least 500ft, or so, and that can be a long time to be out in the second lane from the right. I might havel also stayed to the right (in the first lane), and began to merge over to the second lane somewhere further along and closer to the fwy onramp.

Is that stretch flat, uphill, or downhill, and how long does it take to cover that distance? That'd make a difference for me, as I like to minimize my exposure to cars passing me on my right if I can't keep a decent speed. You might argue that it was safer (and more legal) to turn right from Alessandro into the first lane on Glendale, and then merge left somewhere between that corner and the fwy onramp.

Can't really tell without being there, but sometimes I'll use the right hand turn lane longer on uphills and slower sections of road, moving over to proceed straight ahead at/near the last minute if I feel it's safer than sticking my @&& out there n the straight-through lane for too long.

Make sense?
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Old 06-04-08, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsca View Post
......considering I was very visible and she agreed to having seen me. ....
She saw you but still hit you?
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Old 06-04-08, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rooftest View Post
She saw you but still hit you?
Maybe at the last minute?
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Old 06-05-08, 01:59 PM
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thank you all so much for your reply. she told me she saw me. I was the only person on the street, bicycle or otherwise. wearing bright colors and middle of the day. DScott: it is flat but people drive like maniacs down that stretch, so yeah I tried to stay away. Next time I'll take an other street.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsca View Post
thank you all so much for your reply. she told me she saw me. I was the only person on the street, bicycle or otherwise. wearing bright colors and middle of the day. DScott: it is flat but people drive like maniacs down that stretch, so yeah I tried to stay away. Next time I'll take an other street.
Well, if that's the case, I'd say she is almost entirely at fault. She turned into you. Unless you did something really drastic like changed your direction rapidly, darting out into her path, I can't see it any other way.

Heal quickly, and I hope it all works out well for you.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by seedsca View Post
thank you all so much for your reply. she told me she saw me. I was the only person on the street, bicycle or otherwise. wearing bright colors and middle of the day. DScott: it is flat but people drive like maniacs down that stretch, so yeah I tried to stay away. Next time I'll take an other street.
I'm interested after she said she saw her - why then did she say she hit you? Did she assume you were turning right? It does seem odd you saw you but still hit you. What part of her car hit you or did you hit?

If she hit you with the front of your car, you might have some argument against her for comparative fault. If you hit the side of her car, I would say, you have a tough road to travel trying to get some money from her insurance.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:52 PM
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going to see a lawyer in about two hours. Don't know what she assumed when she saw me and still kept on going.
wish me luck.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:59 PM
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Good luck with the lawyer. I know that street and you're right, people drive with unrestrained fury on that stretch of road. I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable riding that section on my bike.
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Old 06-05-08, 04:01 PM
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I just want to add something for you to consider... if you feel a lawyer is needed (particular since this is a comparative fault claim) get one. It's better for the insurance carrier if you do. If they have to deal directly with a claimant, the CA Insurance Regulations places (I would look them up just FYI) alot of pressure on them to do things in a timely matter, however, once a claimant gets an attorney, the world slows down. All time restrictions are eliminated. The carrier then could care less about you and goes on to the next claim where the claimant is unrepresented. You have 2 years to file a lawsuit... I would have asked for the insurance information first, contacted the carrier and then if unsatified, got an attorney.

The value of your claim is unchanged but now you have to pay the attorney 1/3 (40% if the matter goes to trial). Dispite what people say getting an attorney doesn't increase the value of a claim. Most adjusters are used to working with attorneys and it doesn't scare them.

Another thing to consider - you say she saw you ... I would bet she will tell her carrier she didn't see you or not until it was too late. It will be your word against hers. You were travelling in the wrong lane. The law and the court will be on the driver's side. Hopefully you have some witnesses. Jurors (who are drivers) don't tend to like bicyclists.

anyway hope you are feeling better and good luck.
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Old 06-05-08, 04:43 PM
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From the description it sounds like you were at fault. You are supposed to be as far to the right as is practiceable, but you have to pay attention to lane directions as well. You should not have been in the right turn lane, you should have been in the second lane over.

I have an intersection like that I go through every day. Actually in my case the first lane goes onto a side street, the second goes onto the freeway, and the third goes onto the freeway OR continues on the same road, and the fourth only continues. I'll either be in the third lane over, or I'll split the second and third lanes if the light is red. But in that situation, I expect people in the third lane to make their turn without regard to me. When the light is red I'll pull up to the front and make eye contact with the driver and check their turn signal (altough most people don't signal... grrr). When the light changes I'll jump hard and get out into the lane in front of them. Most of the time they are getting on the freeway and they will slide over when I am out of their way, but if they really are going straight I will slide over to the right so that they can get by.

They important thing is that you have to be in front of the car, or behind it; if you are to its side then get behind it, and don't try to go around.
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Old 06-08-08, 08:05 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your accident. It's probably a good idea for you to consult a lawyer. If my personal experience is any indication, if you deal directly with her insurance company yourself, I would guess that in just shy of two years, you will receive a notice from a lawyer representing the driver that she is suing you for damages that your bike caused to her car, pain and suffering from the trauma, and loss of wages because she was too stressed by the incident to work. I'm not joking.
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