Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle today.

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quazi
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Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle today.

Post by quazi » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:37 am

I was riding my bicycle to a friend's house for steak and ice cream after work today. I was riding along the sidewalk (before you freak out, in Fairbanks bicycles are supposed to ride on the sidewalk, they are extra wide and there are sign everywhere) when I noticed a car stopped in the exit to a parking lot waiting to get out onto the street. He was a little way into the sidewalk, which makes me a little nervous. Normally I would break and wait until I was absolutely sure he wasn't going to pull out, but I have cantilever breaks that do about as much good as foul language and I figured it was likely I wouldn't be able to stop until I was a little ways out in front of him. I briefly considered swerving into the parking lot (very briefly, this went down fairly fast) but I wasn't sure that I wouldn't hit his car or wreck my bike trying to avoid hitting his car. I thought to myself I should just continue on, the oncoming traffic was close enough that I would have waited if I were him, and I thought he probably saw me.

Well, he didn't wait, and he didn't see me. Instead he accelerated quickly (but only for a few feet) and t-boned me. The bike went out from under me and I hit the front of his car hard enough to put a crack in my helmet. I got and everything was spinning a bit. A few people asked if I was alright and the guy got out of his car and walked my bike over to the nearby gas station. He parked his car and then came up and apologized and offered me $100 to fix my bicycle. I told that Beaver Sports was very close by and we should just go over there so we could get an accurate estimate. We put my bicicyle in the back of his hatchback and drove over there.

After a while the bicycle mechanic told us how much it would cost, and he gave me the money in cash plus a little extra. After he left they found some more damage, and I had to buy a new helmet, so what he gave me didn't quite cover it but it was close enough that I didn't want to bother with tracking the guy down.

My whole left side from the knee up hurts pretty bad, but it's mostly scrapes and bruises. When I first got up my head and my ribs hurt the worst. My head stopped hurting within ten minutes, and my ribs started feeling better too, but then my left arm and leg started tightening up and hurting pretty bad. Oddly my left pectoral muscle is giving some of the worst trouble, especially when I breathe deeply. My ribs are starting to hurt again, and I think I'm going to go to the clinic tomorrow to get checked out.

The guy was in the wrong, but there were several things I could have done better.

I should have been paying more attention. If I had seen him before he pulled up to the exit I would have had the opportunity to start breaking soon enough to stop or swerve.

I should have been my normal paranoid self and not gone out in front of him, even though I had the right-of-way and he should have been looking and I would not have pulled out if I was him. On a bicycle it's too easy to get squashed, and I was lucky things didn't end up worse.

I should have asked for all his information right away, and called the troopers. I didn't want to get the guy in trouble. Mistakes happen, but at the same time I was not at fault and I don't feel I should have to pay for my visit to the clinic if it ends up costing me some real money. I did get the guy's license plate number, and he told me his name but I was pretty shaken up and forgot it. Really I was so happy that I and my bicycle weren't mangled up too badly that I wasn't thinking very far into the future. I probably should have also asked for the names and phone numbers of some of the people who stopped to ask if I was okay. I did end up calling the troopers a couple hours after the accident just so there would be something on the record.

The thing that I'm most thankful I did right was wearing my bicycle helmet. There could have been a crack in my skull instead of the helmet!

I'm off to take a hot shower to try to relax my muscles a bit.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Silent Kube » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:33 am

Did you at least get his info in case there are medical issues? I'm not a suing type of guy but there are issues that could come up in the next few days/weeks. You shouldn't have to pay for them.
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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Grimstad » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:51 am

I once had a minor wreck on my bicycle and received absolutely no injuries. No scrapes or scratches, only my feet hit the ground. The next morning I woke up with whiplash.

In an ironic and unrelated incedent, the ONLY time I ever got off my bike to cross a crosswalk, I got hit by a motorcycle. Go figure. Luckily I got away with just a banged up knee.
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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Vel454 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:53 am

Crazy bro. Glad your alright. Great example of even though you have the technical right of way, physics can warrant something else. Your banged up, but your alive and one piece, gotta be thankful for that.

Agreed, a lot of coulda shoulda woulda on getting info and all that, but, it is what it is.
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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Gyrfalcon » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:53 pm

Glad you're OK.

I wasn't there, and obviously it was a split-second decision on your part, and you might not have been able to change course, as you mentioned. But I know that whenever I'm walking or riding, I don't go in front of a car. Ever. I always go behind them. First, it's the polite thing to do. Second, when you're driving, you're looking for cars, and not for a pedestrian-cyclist (who may be in your blind spot) to zip in front of you. Whether it's ultimately his fault or not, it wasn't a good move on your part.

Accidents happen. Often, both parties did something they shouldn't have.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Tater Raider » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:00 am

No one got badly hurt (hospitalized) and the car tried to do right by you after the accident including giving you a ride to the shop. It's nice to see that. Not so nice you got in the accident, and I hope you recover quickly.

When you are on a bicycle ride it like everyone is trying to kill you. Yeah, it's paranoid, but it might help prevent these things. You already knew that, I bet.

Again, hope you and your bike recover quick.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by quazi » Tue Jul 26, 2011 12:17 am

Silent Kube wrote:Did you at least get his info in case there are medical issues? I'm not a suing type of guy but there are issues that could come up in the next few days/weeks. You shouldn't have to pay for them.
I didn't, only his license plate number. I called the troopers to report the accident, and they told me they could get me and the guy in touch if I had any future medical costs. Well I was hurting more on Friday than right after the accident, and my family and coworkers convinced me to go get checked out at the clinic. They determined that I injured my shoulder and ribs, but my lung wasn't punctured and my shoulder wasn't separated. They told me that with those types of injuries it doesn't really matter how bad they because the only treatment is to let them heal over time, so I opted out of getting any x-rays done. It still ended up costing me $195.

I called the troopers again but they told me they couldn't get me in touch with the guy and my only recourse would be to get a lawyer and take documentation of my injury to the DMV. Two-hundred dollars is a lot of money to me, but not worth trying to involve a lawyer over. I should have got the guys information. Live and learn, I guess.
Gyrfalcon wrote:I wasn't there, and obviously it was a split-second decision on your part, and you might not have been able to change course, as you mentioned. But I know that whenever I'm walking or riding, I don't go in front of a car. Ever. I always go behind them. First, it's the polite thing to do. Second, when you're driving, you're looking for cars, and not for a pedestrian-cyclist (who may be in your blind spot) to zip in front of you. Whether it's ultimately his fault or not, it wasn't a good move on your part.
I normally go behind cars too, unless they obviously can't get out and I know for certain they see me. This time I just wasn't sure I could manage to stop. I thought he wouldn't go, but that was obviously a bad mistake on my part.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by therianthrope » Tue Jul 26, 2011 4:05 pm

When you say bicycles are supposed to ride on the sidewalk, does that mean they're not allowed in traffic, period? This seems crazy to me, for the very reason that started this thread. People aren't conditioned to look for fast moving things in the sidewalk, or even to yield to anyone/thing in the sidewalk, even though that's the law - as far as I know - everywhere. I probably wouldn't ride in that town (which is to say I wouldn't live in that town, because I love to ride).

I hope you get/got your brakes adjusted too when you got/get the repairs done. It's not hard to do yourself for that matter. Ultimately, the primary causality fault is yours for riding a bike that isn't in functioning condition. However he is legally at fault in an accident for failure to yield, you should have gotten his information. He may have been apologetic and you may have not wanted to get him in trouble but in these situations you always have to look out for numero uno.
First, it's the polite thing to do.
Both parties need to observe the law - that's the polite thing to do. The object in motion has the right of way, period, even if that right of way is on a sidewalk.

I get defensive, obviously when it comes to bicycle law as America has such an auto-centric/anti-every-other-form-of-transport culture and yet people complain about gas prices. Want cheaper gas? Facilitate alternative transportation! ... but I digress.

I'd recommend you learn to ride in traffic. It can be scary at first and dangerous even on roads with lanes as a lot of drivers are hostile towards bikes - believing they "have no business being on the road", but for every accident I hear about happening on the road, I hear about 10 that happened on a sidewalk or crosswalk or parking lot, etc. Glad to hear you're okay and that your ride isn't too gnarled, stay in the saddle!

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by quazi » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:00 am

therianthrope wrote:When you say bicycles are supposed to ride on the sidewalk, does that mean they're not allowed in traffic, period?
I'm not sure if bikes are allowed on the road. There are signs all over the place that say "Bike Route Use Sidewalk" or something similar to that. The sidewalks up here are extra-wide, I'm assuming with the intent that they serve as a bike path as well. There is actually surprisingly heavy bicycle traffic up here during the summer, and I've never seen anyone riding on the road who wasn't flagrantly violating the law and common sense.

The guy said that he had lived up here all his life, but somehow he managed to never see any of the signs.
therianthrope wrote:I hope you get/got your brakes adjusted too when you got/get the repairs done. It's not hard to do yourself for that matter. Ultimately, the primary causality fault is yours for riding a bike that isn't in functioning condition.

I don't know much about bicycles, my father is the bicycle guy, by my understanding is that the style of breaks on my bicycle (I think they're called "cantilever") just don't work as well as v-brakes or disc brakes. There isn't anything mechanically wrong with my brakes, they were adjusted not long ago. My understanding is that It would be impossible to have another style of brake installed on my frame.

I blame myself far more than my brakes. Usually I pay close attention, and start braking far ahead of any dangerous situation. This time I wasn't paying good enough attention. Then I made a bad split-second decision, where in the past I've stopped myself by hopping off my bike, or laying it down if it came to it.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by andygates » Wed Jul 27, 2011 1:42 am

Shared-use bike/pedestrian paths with lots of vehicle access driveways are a dangerous design fail. The vehicular cycling crowd -- and me -- would just ignore that and ride on the road. 8-)

Glad you're okay!

Oh, and low-speed falls that crack a helmet would usually have been a scalp cut and sparkles, not a fractured skull. The sacrificial nature of bike helmets confuses people into thinking their skulls are just as fragile sometimes! Of course, a scalp cut is a gory, distressing thing, so feel free to make your choices as you see fit.

+1 to getting the brakes checked out. Also, keep the machine clean! Dirty brakes are less effective, so when you wash the bike, take a scrubbing brush to the wheel rims and then pop the brakes open (disconnect the straddle wire, or just pop the wheels out) and scrub the brake block rubber with an old toothbrush and soapy water. Worn-down blocks should be replaced. A well-adjusted brake has a nice sharp "bite"; a bad one feels mushy. Your bike shop can advise. :D
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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by MikeC » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:21 am

I don't know if it's state or federal law, but in Kansas, according to the drivers testing booklet, a bike is supposed to be given the same rights as any other vehicle on the road. Such as, a full lane to themselves if you want to pass, and you must wait if it's not safe to pass. In reality, it seems like people try to squeeze past without giving any room. I have literally had a car pass me with less than a foot clearance, on a four lane street with no one in the other lane. Also here, there is a city ordinance (mostly ignored) that bikes are not to be ridden on the sidewalks.

The times I do ride my bike, I stick to side roads and keep my eyes peeled.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by therianthrope » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:38 am

... my understanding is that the style of breaks on my bicycle (I think they're called "cantilever") just don't work as well as v-brakes or disc brakes.
They don't have the stopping distance of disc-brakes no. But there's nothing wrong with rim (cantilever) brakes that are in proper condition. They allow a very good level of control during deceleration and are the standard on most factory, non-performance level bikes. The pads wear-down, cables stretch, either surface can get dirty (pad or rim). I know you said they were recently tuned, but if you can't get them to "groan" (if they just "hiss") with middling application of pressure, or do a "stoppie" with full pressure, you might want to consider having something done.

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Re: Caution Fail: Hit by a car while riding my bicicyle toda

Post by Foxen » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:20 am

Quazi...glad you're alive!~

Here's some advice for the future...

1. If you EVER get into an accident again... get down the name, number, license, auto insurance no., of the person who hit you or you hit. These are for "just in case" type of things, especially if you or someone involved ends up in the hospital.

2. You probably "should" get checked out at the hospital especially if your head came into contact with the ground. More likely than naught someone won't get a serious concussion from such an accident especially with a helmet, but then again...one never knows.

I know I probably sound more parent than anything...heh, I apologize but no. 2 is very important these days especially if you have medical coverage. GO GET CHECKED OUT!!! Use your insurance, that's what it's there for. And IF something more serious results (concussion or broken bones or whatever) and your med bills start to pile up... having the info from no. 1 will be important. Sometimes YOUR insurance company will want to go after the opposing party's insurance company and have them pay the $10,000-$20,000 whatevers medical bill incurred.

Anyhow, keep on biking!

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