Crash, Bike trashed, Insurance...who has dealt with this?


New Member
Jul 21, 2007

Really glad I found tihs forum. I spent the last couple of hours reading around in here and decided to join. Hi everyone!

I used to ride road bikes pretty frequently, but only in Europe when I would go visit my family there. Recently, I finally decided to get a bike here and start getting back into riding. I live in Chicago, close to the Lake Shore Drive path, so I figure there is a great place to ride right out my door.
My dad still had his old road bike (ca. 1988) which was custom built to his body size back then. Since he's about the same size as me and since the bike was pretty much top of the line when it was new, I decided to completely restore it for a few hundred bucks and I started using it.

I started riding on the LSD path, but with all the kids and other people carelessly crossing in the bike lane constantly, I eventually decided it was too dangerous and I hit the road. I wasn't on the road for a mile and....crash! Someone coming the opposite way as me on the same street made a left turn right in front of me and went flying into his windshield, completely destroying it. I got lucky and walked away with a few stitches and a really bruised thigh, which is probably going to prevent me from walking properly for the next 2 weeks. The X-rays in the ER confirmed that there were no broken bones.
Since I trashed the dude's windshield, at least he had to stop. Witnesses immediately called 911, police came and filled out the report, the whole nine yards. The driver's insurance co also contacted me already by mail....

Now I'm wondering, how will I deal with getting his insurance company to pay for a new bike. Someone may be able to fix mine, but I think the frame is bent, the fork definitely is. Has anyone had experience with that? Obviously, if I can get a new one, that would be sweet, but how would I value such an old bike? I mean, it was a few grand in 1988, but what is that worth fully restored today and how do I prove it?
Also, for those of you who have had similar experiences, how nervous were you getting back onto a street in traffic and how did you deal with that?

Sorry it got so long....

well, honestly since i think most US states have a law saying bikes are to be treated as vehicles, you should probably talk to a lawyer about everything. You may need a lawsuit against him/his insurances agency for your medical bills and bike replacement. Ive had people almost pull out in front of me, but then see me and stop. im not a small person and VERY hard to miss lol.

I hope you heal and can get the money without legal involvment, but you may still want to talk to a lawyer, just so you know your rights. Obviously it wasnt your fault, unless you ran a red light/stop sign or failed to yeild.

Take care, and be careful.
I've had three bikes replaced by the other guy's insurance...all three were the fault of the vehicle drivers. One was an oncoming left turn similar to your crash. That one totaled out a perfectly spotless Pinarello Montello SLX.

Take your bike to a competent bicycle shop or two and get estimates on the actual replacement value of the machine.

Take those estimates to the driver's insurance company, along with ALL medical bills, and tell them that "THIS AMOUNT" will settle things FOR THE TIME BEING.

Sign NO medical release. Not now. Not Ever! No matter how much his adjustor threatens or pleads.

If they balk at the amount...just say, "Fine. No problemo. I'll be back tomorrow.".

Then, go hit a doctor, a chiropractor and perhaps get a CAT-scan. Next day or two, present a thicker stack of bills and talk about your neck pain, back pain and ask how much, per diem, they are re-imbursing you for the loss of your racing bike.

I guarantee you they will be singing a different tune this visit.

Settle for NO LESS that 100% of the cost of your bicycle loss AND medical expenses. And NEVER sign a medical release form. EVER! You have no idea how long it may take for injuries sustained in this crash to manifest themselves. Trust me on this.

In the unlikely event the other guy's insurance balks, engage a lawyer immediately. Go to court (more likely arbitration) and you'll probably be awarded treble damages given a police report that cited the vehicle driver and a competent attorney.

Good luck and safe cycling to you!
Campybob's advice is perfect. Expect the insurance company to lowball you in the hopes that you'll want to be done with the whole mess and move on. Give it right back to them and it should eventually pay off for you. If you're not compensated to your satisfaction then hire an attorney.
Thanks for the advice. I'll be talking to the car driver's insurance company this week....hopefully it will go well.

And yes, the driver was at fault and he was given a citation by the police. Still, I hope I don't have to get lawyers involved and create a big ugly mess. However, if I feel like the insurance company is trying to screw me, then I guess that's what I will have to do.

Thanks again,