Getting hit by a car, is it a matter of time?

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Guest, Apr 9, 2002.

  1. Can

    Can New Member

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    I have been sideswiped once and I have hit the inside of one car door. I am a racer and a commuter in Chicago usa. I ride in heavy traffic mostly and skidding around on locked up tires is fairly common. The important things to remember are: anticipate them making mistakes, be freindly/courteous, ride fast with panache to keep their respect for your room and hopefully your life. I carry a full medical kit and a cell phone. And for the malicious drivers, I am big an healthy, I have something for them too.
    Enjoy your body and keep it well.
     


  2. TheDude

    TheDude New Member

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    Here's some things I do around cars:

    1) Be very aware of what's going on everywhere around you.

    2) When approaching a car (like if they're attempting to turn into your lane), look them in the eye. You can generally anticipate what they'll do before they do.

    3) I never ride on shoulders if possible - too much debris. If there is no shoulder and you're in the lane, ride a couple feet away from the stripe. This gives you somewhere to go if necessary and it gives you better control of the lane; drivers will have to pass you like a car instead of trying to squeeze by you.

    4) As another rider said, ride with panache and confidence. I believe if a driver thinks you know what you're doing and that you're paying attention, they're likely to give you more respect.

    5) I run lights and stop signs only if I'm not affecting traffic. This still annoys some drivers (hey, he's breaking the law). But they get really mad if you break the law and cause them to slow down, swerve or stop, not to mention that it's dangerous.

    That's all I can think of right now. I've been riding for about 20 years and have had an assortment of crashes with cars. About 4 times I've been sideswiped by a car turning right when I'm in the blind spot. Fortunately, this happens when the car is going slow and generally scares the hell out of the driver and doesn't cause much damage to the rider. My worst accident was on a country road with light traffic. I was passed by a pickup truck towing a trailer. His extended mirror knocked me off. Some damage to the bike and a broken leg for me along with some rash. Insurance took care of me quite nicely.

    And, wear a helmet - the last time I went without one was my accident 12 years ago. I figure that was either a warning or a stroke of luck...
     
  3. Spoke

    Spoke New Member

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    Sadly I feel it is only a matter of time. It's not how you're riding it's the other fools on the road unaware of any 2 wheeled transport.

    Last October I was out riding aware of an petrol tanker some 100m behind me, I assumed that the driver was aware of me. Approaching parked cars I looked behind to see if the tanker was clear of me and I moved out around the parked cars. 5 seconds later I was hit from behind thrown left onto the roof of a parked car (I'm from the UK), still clipped in, I bounced off the roof of the car into the road, between the moving tanker and the parked cars. The second set of wheels brushed my shoulder blade pushing me away from the tanker. My bike was ripped from my feet and pulled underneath the moving tanker. I lay there waiting for the moment when I would join my bike, but miraculously somehow I didn't. The tanker came to a stand still I got up only suffering some bad cuts and bruises.

    Obviously at this point I was charged up I up on adrenalin, I confronted the driver "What the [email protected] do you think you're doing?" To which he replied, "I didn't see you" 3 witnesses saw the event, one even claimed the driver hit me intentionally.

    Police decided not to charge the driver on the grounds it was difficult to prove who was to blame! Good old Police!


    I've ridden on mainland Europe and in the UK. European drivers have much more respect for cyclists. My advice don't ride on busy UK roads.

    Today I'm glad to be alive and I'd rather put my energy into cycling instead of trying to screw the driver who nearly killed.
     
  4. Can

    Can New Member

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    I still haven't been hit really, through a couple days ago I was doored, and came through with a hole through my arm, and some serious pains. A couple thousand in ER costs and a bent bike, has taught me the important lesson of going especially slowely in heavy traffic, and when your freinds and family say, you should have health insurance, it really is important.... =) Through I am healing fast due to my powerful cyclist body, and good eating habits. I got lawyers doctors, and family. I am going to have everything taken care of by the driver, hopefully!. who was a 17 year old kid with no license, and little sense.... the door was just too fast, I couldn't get out of the way.
    Words of caution from experience, sometimes, you can't react fast enough... and it hurts!!!!!!! (especially the intramuscular antibiotic shot in the ass!!!!)
     
  5. Andrew Court

    Andrew Court New Member

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    Having never been hit, I can't offer an opinion on that, but I've always dreaded seeing an ambulance and a crowd on a steet corner and seeing a cyclist on the ground on the way by.

    Makes you feel glad it didn't happen to you. Makes you realise how easily it happened to someone else.

    Be careful out there, podners!
     
  6. T55

    T55 New Member

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    Got hit 2 months ago (on Apr18 in Lanseria area). Currently still in recovery. Trying to rebuild my quads and ligaments so my knee doesn't feel like its going to pop everytime I put some pressure on it.

    Went for my first ride yesterday on the new bike.

    The driver's reply:
    "I don't feel like talking to you" and then puts the phone down. I am now going over to legal action and have contacted his manager at his work. It is a shame that someone that came so close to turning my wife into a widow would be so unwilling to co-op. People think of the cyclists, but think about the families that get left behind. Spouses, kids, loss of income.....

    It makes me sick when I think of what could have been.

    ps: Thanks to all the cyclists that stopped!
     
  7. bktx1

    bktx1 New Member

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    T55:

    Good luck with your recovery; take it slow!


    Two cyclists were hit by cars during a bike rally just north of Dallas, Texas. One of the drivers failed to stop and render aid; his vehicle was recognized by a local policeman, and he was arrested for : hit and run, driving without insurance, and driving with a suspended license.

    The irony here is that this was on a 100 mile loop added to honor Larry Schwartz, a rider who was killed a couple of months ago by a hit and run motorist.
     
  8. kim belfield

    kim belfield New Member

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    :(
     
  9. kim belfield

    kim belfield New Member

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    Hi, I was hit by a car last year, put me in hospital for a week and left me with a permanent 2 inch screw in my hand. Had six months of rehab and a new bike but i am once again on the bike. I did however go out and get a disk braked multi light mountain bike I use for commuting and leave the light weight road bike for racing and weekends when there is less chance of being hit.
     
  10. Michael Ferebee

    Michael Ferebee New Member

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    I think it depends on where you ride and the time that you do your riding for example in rush hour the chances of you getting hit increase by as much as 75%, but keep in mind that's just my opinion.
     
  11. Michael Ferebee

    Michael Ferebee New Member

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    I was involved in two accidents involving cars since 1987 and believe me I dream about riding in conditions where theres not a car in sight. But what can you do? I would like to know if theres a place where bicyclist can ride worry free from any traffic involving cars.
     
  12. Can

    Can New Member

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    Here in Chicago, when rush hour hits, cycling is a breeze =) You just pass cars right and left with the wind in your helmet. =) and drivers probably love us too, we are "one less car" =) (critical mass slogan).
    The only thing you have to watch for is people trying to merge in and out of stopped traffic, other cyclists, and most importantly !doors! They are the leading cause of accidents, with getting hit from behind only making up 0.05 percent. I am a litte fuzzy on that number but, it is 0.0x where x is something very low. As for finding car free places, that is relatively easy, the Lakefront Bike path is car free when the police arn't patrolling it, which can be pretty scary. When your bowing your head at 1am hammering away almost out of your mind, and you look up to see a squat police cruiser rolling towards you quietly but, because of combined speeds very quickly. I have almost hit them twice =) I almost hit a cop on a segway a month ago, and I almost got manured by a horse cop a week before that. But, if you ride during the daytime, you get these dangerously ignorant pedestrians who walk all over the path and cross without looking and walk in the wrong lane around blind curves (perfect crit training curves) There are also ignorant cyclists, and ignorant roller bladers. The most common idiots are the ignorant cyclists and ignorant walkers. They tend to ride or walk in huge groups covering the entire path without watching for things going on around them. The streets are the safe haven =) the bike path is a dream at night, it is secluded and warm now, on windy nights the waves explode all the way over the path at intervals and you have to time your approach Indiana Jones style otherwise you will get blasted. If the wind is hitting you in the face though, it is hardest workout, snot, pain and growling hard for 13 mph on the worst nights. I met my first angry cyclist today, I blew by him on my winter beater MTB bike, and he just started shouting swear words at me, I am guessing that wasn't uncommon for him, he was a red faced drunk looking fool, and I smoked his silly ass. Anway, I am getting sidetracked, enjoy your Fourth of July everyone! it is officially Independance day.
    Jacob
     
  13. Michael Ferebee

    Michael Ferebee New Member

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    I just read the reply by Jacob, and where I live in Philadelphia we have something quite similar to your bike path and I agree with you that when I encounter assholes on rollerblades and walkers who I put it kindly happens to be unaware of their surroundings or just plain ingnorant towards others in an recreational environment.
     
  14. Harrow

    Harrow New Member

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    In the day, EVERYONE pulls out in front of me even if you are about 10 ft away and doing 35 mph, but at night (with lights flashing of course) drivers seem to be much more wary and willing to wait until you pass.

    Chances are, statistics will eventually catch up with you, which is why I never stay on the road after 7am (when the traffic starts to build.) Of course, in winter this means the indoor trainer gets a workout !

    Harrow.
     
  15. heater

    heater New Member

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    I was hit by a car a few years ago. Off work for a month but the woman's car insurance paid for all my expenses. She was at a stop sign on a side street, turning out onto the street I was on and turned out right when I was in front of her. Said she didn't see me at all (in broad daylight).

    My sister, cousin and friend all have been hit at intersections by cars coming from the opposite direction and turning right in front of them. Drivers claimed they didn't see them.

    I commute to work on my bike and we have bike routes here. Lots of traffic circles and bike-only entrances to the streets so they don't have many cars on them. Plus controlled intersections for crossing the busy streets. They're really great.
     
  16. Can

    Can New Member

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    Harrow,

    I have found that people respect your space much more in winter, especially when your wearing a ski mask, keep your keys on a large gauge chain wrapped around your chest, and are twitching and perpetually grinning from the adreniline.... =)
    I know the fears, sparing everyone the details of my fears, I might alleviate them next winter (hope it doesn't come this year) by buying a cyclocross bike. Does anyone know how a cyclocross handles in competitive road?

    Jacob

    p.s. This Fourth, the Lake Front bike path was so full of pedestrians, it was a serious challenge to stay on your bike while they waited in line for a mile to clear the path at the other end and find some seating for the entertainment. It was a combination of track stands, criterium handling around people, and short off road sprints. It was such a good workout, I went back for seconds with a clear route available. =) The camraderie of fellow cyclists shaking their heads while going the other way was very satisfying. I am on a whole very happy with the family spirit of cyclists, I am always available to help out, and I am waiting for the day when an irate driver gets out of his car and I happen to be near by =) I always wondered what my scissor lock is like these days =) I realize that after my last accident I am still slightly more afraid of mistakes, and it shows in my aggressive thoughts.... I will have to work on that one..again...

    Stay safe
     
  17. Fatherzen

    Fatherzen New Member

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    I have been bicycling to work for two years and I have a couple of close calls with drivers who pass me and then turn right in front (or beside) me. About a year ago, I had a lady pull out from a stop sign while I was in the intersection and got knocked down. Fortunately, all I got was a skinned knee, while she got the hood of her new car all scratched up.

    The odd thing about the accident was that everyone I know wanted to know if why I hadn't filed a police report to get an insurance settlement. The fact that neither I nor my bike were damaged didn't seem to mean anything. The general concensus was that I should have filed a report, and that the insurance company would offer a small settlement to prevent me from claiming injuries down the road.

    I don't know about the rest of you, but I think law suits should be reserved for legitimate losses, and that those who treat getting into a motor vehicle accident like winning the lottery are making it harder for people with legit claims.
     
  18. interlooper

    interlooper New Member

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    I used to live in Germany until a few years ago, where I used to ride my bike everywhere and roadusers are relatively considerate of cyclists. Now I live in Sydney, Australia, and just started bikeriding again a few weeks ago.

    I am amazed by the ignorance of australian car drivers concerning bikes, but if you know the road rules, drive super-defensively and avoid busy mainstreets it's all pretty bearable. Up to now, at least. But you have to have your eyes absolutely everywhere 24/7, so to speak.

    I almost got doored two weeks ago - i was riding down past slow moving traffic when a soccer-mum talking on a mobile-phone blindely shoved the door 2 feet in front of my face. I was juuuust able to swirve and avoid it, but it was a matter of millimeters. I gave her the finger and let it be at that.

    What i'm interested in is the legal aspect of being doored. e.g. in the above scenario, whose fault would it have been if there was an accident? the door-opener HAS to check if anything's coming, right?
     
  19. Can

    Can New Member

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    In Chicago the law states if you open a door into traffic you have to make sure it does not impede the flow of traffic. So I would say in most places it is the person who opens the door who is at fault. I agree with the poster above, lawsuits should be for legitimate losses. I had a lot of ethical problems with determining pain and suffering money, it is a very tricky problem. I required lots of help with every aspect of my life for weeks, though I kept a good attitude through sleep deprivation from pain, internal bleeding, loss of endurance, loss of a (dear) friend (my bike), inability to compete for victory much less compete at all this season, and being absolutely filthy from lack of washing (stitches, and injured limbs). I had a lot of trouble assigning a cost to the driver for these pains and inconveniances, so I went with the lowest common amount awarded in courts, which I am warming to, the norm is 1.5-6 times the cost of medical fees. Which is a strange approximation.. if I have an MRI to see if there is any potentially long term damage in my hip, it would cost 2,000 (US) dollars, getting an MRI isn't necessarily painful, or would cause excessive suffering (besides boredom) so I am still a bit fuzzy on the accuracy of this system (admittedly, the MRI choice would either show the length at which I am anxious about my hip, which would be suffering, or my interest to bump up the bills) All I want is a new bike, my bills paid, my loss of work compensated, and a little extra for the pain and suffering. I would settle for a thousand dollars less if driver was forced to give a speech to his school on the importance of vigilance and road sharing, and the money for the new bike within the month. I just thought of another good way to estimate pain and suffering. Say to yourself, "How much would someone have to pay me to cut a hole in my arm with a peice of blunt greasy metal, beat myself thoroughly with a hammer, and then grind the skin off my bony joints with the pavement. =) I like that method better. I would be rich!!!

    -Jacob
     
  20. Harrow

    Harrow New Member

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    Interlooper,

    A friend of mine got "doored" a while ago in Sydney. Besides a lot of gravel rash he was okay. He wasn't going to pursue it, but the woman who was responsible started abusing him because the vinyl lining of her door was torn and she wanted him to pay to have it repaired! So the police got involved and he ended up receiving a $5,000 settlement. Now he aims for people about to open their door!!

    Regards,
    Harrow.
     
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