What the…

I got an email from a loyal reader sharing his story about how he was whacked by a big SUV…check it out…

Fellas –
Quick story: I was riding home from a trail ride on my MTB.
Headlight, taillight, helmet — so I was being safe. The town I live
in, and in particular, the roads I was on, are unfriendly to cyclists,
typically. The drivers make me insanely nervous. I had taken a side
street, and went through a parking lot, and was now rolling on a
sidewalk approaching a crosswalk and traffic light at which I would
need to cross 4 lanes of traffic. The light was red, and as the road
was a T, and there were not pedestrian signs (there are now, though),
I couldn’t see how long it had been red. I started across — it
quickly turned green. A Suburban anticipated the light change and was
accelerating through the intersection. Of course, they hit me, and
threw me into the middle of the intersection. If not for the helmet,
I would not have gotten up. I did get up, and suffered some gashes,
bruises, and a broken humerus. (I got off easy!)

Waiting on the douche bag part (aside from anticipating a light and
accelerating through it, and not seeing my lights)? They, along with
their insurance company, have been pestering me to pay the $1400+ in
damage _I_ did to their SUV.

You HAVE to be a douche bag if you hit a cyclist and then ask them for money.


  1. Jim December 27, 2007 11:41 pm 

    Wow. Sorry to hear about the accident but riding through the parking lot onto the sidewalk with the light against them?

    Trying to get across the intersection as fast as possible?

    I hate Suburbans too but c’mon, I’m not sure how he could have made it more difficult for the other driver to see him.

    How many of the 10 ways not to get hit by cars was he trying to break, anyway?

    “. Don’t ride on the sidewalk in the first place. Crossing between sidewalks can be a fairly dangerous maneuver. If you do it on the left-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed as per the diagram. If you do it on the right-hand side of the street, you risk getting slammed by a car behind you that’s turning right. You also risk getting hit by cars pulling out of parking lots or driveways. These kinds of accidents are hard to avoid, which is a compelling reason to not ride on the sidewalk in the first place.

    And another reason not to ride on the sidewalk is that you’re threatening to pedestrians. Your bike is as threatening to a pedestrian as a car is threatening to you. Finally, riding on the sidewalk is illegal in some places. (In Austin, those places are the Drag, and downtown on 6th St. and on Congress). If you do plan on riding on sidewalks, do it slowly and EXTRA carefully, ESPECIALLY when crossing the street between two sidewalks.”

    Just because you’re a car-hating cyclist doesn’t mean you’re in the right. And from the sounds of things, you’re not. If I were driving in my minivan and you screwed up and got hit and hurt, well, I’d be tempted to let it go … except that I wouldn’t want to deal with a lawsuit from you a year later because you’d never accepted responsibility.

    For what it’s worth, I commute every day and tow my son in a trailer 3 days a week. I’m made a mistake a couple of times (including going through an intersection on yellow … in the middle but still wrong) and so far have been lucky to have had drivers paying attention.

  2. Ghost Rider December 28, 2007 4:10 am 

    How exactly is a motorist supposed to see front and rear lights when they are oncoming directly to the side of a cyclist, where said lights aren’t visible?

    As much as I hate hearing stories of cyclists getting hit by cars, and the douchebaggery that follows, I’m going to have to side with Jim — things went badly wrong on both sides of the encounter!

  3. Smudgemo December 28, 2007 10:50 am 

    I hate cars as much as the next guy, but just being on a bicycle doesn’t automatically exempt anyone from being at fault.

    If I hit a cyclist that was doing something illegal, you can bet I’d try to recover every penny to fix the resulting damage.

  4. Marrock December 28, 2007 11:23 am 

    The thing is… he was using the pedestrian crosswalk to get across a four-lane road, I don’t see the issue with that.

    The suburban decided to jump the light, because, as you all know, nothing’s worse than someone getting there three seconds ahead of you, and clobbered him… Now what if it had been a normal pedestrian or a mother with a baby stroller?

    Zippy in the armoured personnel carrier would have still jumped the light with the same result.

    Near as I can tell, no matter where you are you’re supposed to yield to folks in a crosswalk.

    Now I’m not saying the cyclist n this situation is entirely exempt from blame but neither is the motorist, in my opinion.

  5. Logan December 30, 2007 12:44 pm 

    Yeah, I think it was mostly the cyclist’s fault. The driver was obeying the law, the cyclist was riding on sidewalks and crosswalks. Sucks.

  6. Dominic Dougherty December 30, 2007 6:20 pm 

    Sidewalks and crosswalks are made for… WALKING. No matter what the light situation, motorists are to ultimately yield to pedestrians (ie people walking). If you’re riding your bike in a crosswalk, you essentially give up your rights as a pedestrian (at least in CA). Did you have reflectors in both wheels? It’s required in my state. Sorry to hear about your crash, but it sounds like it was your own fault.

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