/ Collision with a car

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Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
Hello UKC collective. Have been stuck in hospital for 36 hours after a prang. I'd like some people's advice on bike accidents, not that I hope many of you have had them but these things happen.

Was riding too work yesterday, after a long down hill stretch i had a fair speed gong - 27 mph ish. A car pulls up on the other side of the road (so facing up hill) indicating to it's right, ironically into a hospital. The female driver makes no move to move in, after about 3 seconds the distance between us has narrowed a lot. At this point the driver decides to make the manoeuvre (her) right across my lane - as slow as humanly possible.

So unfortunately, I was faced with two very horrible choices. Either go into her, as she's fully blocking my side or head toward the wrong side of the road into on coming traffic - that I could see was coming!

I did break aggressively but It was way too late to break completely, we were just so close by the time she turned.

Natural instinct kicked in and two things occurred. For all the good it did me, I started screaming at the car - I've an awful temper when not reigned in. Second, swerved to my right probably thinking I could other just make it between cars or at least come away with a glancing hit of the back of the car. Rather than dead on. Well it worked! I impacted the cars rear left side, between the door/lights. Im sure I then bounced off and rightward, hitting the deck and sliding too a halt in the center of the road. My hands were over the hoods, so basically punched the car with my left hand at speed.

I'm mostly pretty proud of how level headed I stayed at this point, mostly. I immediately stood up and got off the road. A car stops behind me and my good Samaritan enters. She grabs my bike out of the road, begins to drop her back seats and load my bike in. The driver of my moving hurdle eventually gets out of her car then, which completed its manoeuvre into the car park entrance. After staring at me for about a minute without a word I shove my left hand in her face so that she can get a good luck in particular at my index finger, the very deep laceration across the top of it and the bone protruding out! "look at what your stupidity has done!" blood pissing out all over the pavement. Her only response was " I thought I could make it" which I guess is logical... I demanded to see her NHS ID that was poking out of her pocket and commited her name to memory.

From what my samaritan is saying at this point she clearly wants to drive me the 20 miles to the nearest A/E through traffic. But it obvious too me I only have about ten minutes until my endorphins run out and shock kicks in so walk into the minor injuries unit of this small hospital only too find they're closed.

We call an ambulance and wait in the fresh air. My NHS worker has at his point parked up and gone to hide in the hospital somewhere. Luckily i had a great EMT and my Samaritan takes my bike so as to drop it off when I'm fixed up.

The police attended on scene to take details and disappeared too find the NHS worker. I've no heard from them yet.


List of medals -
1) lacerated left hand in general over the tops of all fingers
2) badly lacerated index finger with a broken /snapped section right at the junction of where the two top bones meet - this required GA for removal debridlement, bone removaland to wire the finger.
3) road rash on legs and right handrash/puncture holes on right hip, visible fatty layers beneath. Needed flushing extensively, 12 sutures and ~8 butterfly stitches.
5) pretty bad bruising of right shoulder/elbow/hip from impact

Thank god I'm alive eh! That's one thing. And my legs minus the soar hip are great, at least I'll be able too go for walks!


Now that my grim and long story is out of the way, hope you enjoyed it ;-) - on that description What should I do? I'm thinking that if she seems truly sorry and sorts me out with bike repairs, new helmet (took a wipper) and replaces all the peripherals covered in blood , then any sort of law action is only going to cause unneeded anguish? Do I sue for that sort of stupidity?

Anyone had similar cases?
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Very sorry to hear about your crash and I wish you a speedy recovery.

When you write "I shove my left hand in her face..." I hope you don't mean that you actually made contact with her face?
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: it's a road accident with injuries. How else can the world's attitude to cyclists change. Let the lawyers sort it out, remember she'll have insurance. Get her charged, you could be dead. I'm assuming you weren't doing anything naughty.
gear boy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: minimum driving without due care, you need to claim loss of earnings, etc. in this circumstance I think it would be fair to get what you deserve and for her to have a wake up call
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: just noticed your speed, you're in the wrong, 27mph if wihin speed limit outside hospital, is probably riding outwith safe breaking distance for a bike, and certainly more than most motorists would expect a cyclist to be moving at. You could be prosecuted for reckless riding and she could sue you. The police will want to know if you were running late, ie taking chances, and you'd better hope that no cctv cameras have caught you on route jumping lights. There you go 2 sides to the claim. Ps I'm a cyclis and driver myself. You should ride your bike to accommodate other users who may not be used to cyclists
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: Not literally. Just exaggerating sorry.
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Well, it's more a treatment center with lImited mInor injuries unit (open 10 till 4) . So no ambulance lanes etc
webbo - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
Contact a solicitor. A no win no fee who deals with cycling accidents ( There are several who advertise in Cycling weekly)
I got knocked off by a young lady who turned through me. Other than grazes and the odd bruise I thought there was little wrong as my bike seemed ok. I did however get the drivers name and address as a week or so later I noticed that my bottom bracket had play in it which turned out to be the bonding hold the shell in place had broken.Which ment carbon frame was a right off.
So contact a solicitor who sorted it all and the compensation got me a new bike.
sleavesley on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Can you back up what you've said with the relevant laws and facts.
I didn't realise there are separate speed limits for cyclists using a road which they are fully entitled to use?
Is this any different to being t boned on a motorcycle?
The op states the woman says I think I could make it, I don't think that would stand up in a court of law.

To the op, i take it the woman who took care of your bike would act as a witness?

As above you are entitled to any losses occurred due to the third parties lack of due care and attention.
andy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Don't be daft. Firstly speed limits don't apply to bikes. Secondly how would anyone know what speed the OP was doing (all the driver can say is "faster than I thought") and thirdly the police would simply be interested in the fact the driver turned across the path of an oncoming vehicle that she's admitted she saw, not whether the rider was late for work.

Oh - and I'm not sure if you can sue someone for "reckless cycling" - you sue people for damages to person, property or reputation.
stonemaster - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andy:
> (In reply to The Big Man)... Firstly speed limits don't apply to bikes.

Err..you might want to check on that.

AlisonSmiles - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Are you a member of any cycling organisation which offers legal advice or insurance? That would be the most straight forward way forwards. Otherwise, your house insurance may have a legal service for loss of earnings and could be consulted?
andy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to stonemaster: er...I have. A bike's not a "vehicle" and so the road traffic act 1984 doesn't apply. And given that a cyclist doesn't, by law, have to have a way of knowing their speed it'd be a bit daft to suggest they could be prosecuted under a speed limit.
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to sleavesley:

Whilst the speed limit might be 30 mph the law is that you must be travelling at a safe speed consistent with the conditions and be able to stop within the distance you can see ahead. I know that a car unexpectedly turning across you is an event outside of your control, but we all know this can happen and at "rush hour" (he says he was travelling to work), so it's reasonable to assume others will be as well, including probably the woman who turned across him and other staff at the hospital, and we all know that drivers don't always have their mind on the job and can do stupid things. For example maybe she was late for work? No excuse for bad driving I know, but it's something other road users should be alert to.

I know that whether I was in a car or on my bike if I see someone coming towards me indicating that they are turning right I am always wary and I tend to slow down just in case. As Bigman says 27 mph is fast for a bike and other drivers don't always appreciate just how fast a bike is going.

Without knowing all the other circumstances I can't make any reasonable judgement other than to say that going at that speed, particularly downhill, at rush hour, outside a hospital and in the face of someone indicating that they are waiting to turn right has all the ingedients for a proportion of contibutary negigence.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: Let's face it, some people just don't like cyclists. That's why there are people trying to tell you that you were at fault. Forget about them and pursue this as vigorously as possible
sleavesley on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: I don't see it that way and am in agreement with Andy, whilst I agree with being wary of traffic oncoming indicating turning across your path.

Having had the same happen to me but in a car (plenty of witnesses) the other driver was prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. I can see no reason why this would be different just because the mode of transport is different.

I can also see no reason that the cyclist would be prosecuted for proceeding in their own lane and having someone turn across their path that they would be prosecuted for negligence.

Perhaps off duty or someone with more knowledge of the relevant laws could pass comment?
andy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: Assuming it's a 30mph zone and a car was doing 27mph and the same thing happened do you really think the driver would be deemed to have contributed to the accident?

Braking distance on a bike is shorter than a car (google the calculator - won't let me post the link) so if a car driver wouldn't have been deemed negligent how could a cyclist?
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to AlisonSmiles: Undietunately not, looks like I'll need to sign up in future. I'll check my home insurance docs.
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to sleavesley:

I don't say that. The car driver should, and probably will be, prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, that's a matter for the police, but when it comes to assessing damages in a Civil Court I think the OP should be aware that there may be a proportion of contributory negligence to be taken into account for the reasons I gave.
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to stonemaster:

It's correct - they apply only to "mechanically propelled vehicles", which (although it sounds like it might) a bicycle is not.

The only speed limits that apply to bicycles are in the Royal Parks.

However you can be done for a wonderfully named offence of "cycling furiously" (or somesuch) if you are going dangerously fast on a bicycle regardless of the speed limit applying to motor vehicles. If, say, by some miracle you were doing 65mph on a bicycle on a 70mph road, this would pretty certainly apply.

Neil
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: I can fully appreciate what you're saying here. Too expand a little though - the road is very long / wide, in a small town so not spectacularly busy and it was ahout 7.40am. Not what I'd call rush hour yet.

I'm a very defensive rider, my last km is VERY busy. The sort of traffic where you have to dodge a couple of left hooks at least each journey.
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Thanks for expanding - that's the problem with commenting without knowing all the facts :)
stonemaster - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andy: oops, one stands corrected...:)
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andy:

I've already responded to the OPs further expansion but in general terms in answer to your question, I suggest that when it comes to assessing injuries there may be a difference between a car driver and a cyclist when it comes to contributory negligence? I don't think anyone will deny that it's well known that a cyclist is much more vunerable in a collision and for that reason alone there is a greater burden placed on the cyclist to avoid riding in such a way as to get into a situation where a collision could occur. Ie ride defensively. Excessive speed for the situation would be an exampole.
stonemaster - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Neil Williams: Ta for that. It would indeed be a miracle of some order of magnitude for one to get any where near that speed ...:)
permanenttrauma - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
>Her only response was " I thought I could make it" which I guess is logical...

She's admitted she saw you! Bonus if the witness heard her say it. Case closed.
sleavesley on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: I agree with the fact a cyclist CAN have their compensation reduced due to contributory negligence and know this to be done in several cases (running a red light for instance). And acknowledge that you state maybe, but I can see no clear reason why this would be applied in this case with your example of excessive speed which was within the speed limit. ( like you I don't know all the facts, I don't know the precautions taken by the op to be seen for example which could contribute to negligence).

As an addition there is a case by a judge who brought up the fact a cyclist wasn't wearing an helmet which could of reduced the injuries sustained so could be seen as contributing negligence, not sure of the final decision. But think it was just part of the judges passing comments.
oldbloke - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Had a similar event 7 years ago although with different injuries. House insurance covered the claim & driver prosecuted - so might be worth checking if you have such cover. Wait to see how your recovery goes before finalising any claim. I missed the extent of the head injury I suffered because it was asked by the painkilling regime.
sleavesley on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to sleavesley: http://ukcyclerules.com/2012/04/12/car-accidents-contributory-negligence/

This is worth a read.
Trangia's comments made me go and look at contributory negligence in more detail with regard to cyclists. (Acknowledges Trangia :-))
Wonko The Sane - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Were you not thinking 'that car might pull out'?

I would have been.... whether on a bike or another car.

Not saying this makes her right but I think you share some blame travelling at that speed on two thin wheels. Not saying it was your fault..... just that I think you had very low hazard awareness in my opinion.

As for the post saying 'how are car drivers ever going to learn, sue her arse off' type thing, well, you can turn that around to some of the mad cyclists I see on the roads undercutting busses etc.

There are good and bad drivers, there are good and bad cyclists.
We all make silly mistakes sometimes.
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Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane: I fully accept that in future I need too think about my speed a bit more. And maybe modify my approach. You do have a point .But in my defense, it wasnt really pulling out. She came across my carriage to access a car park. I feel if I'd been a car or m'bike she'd have waited the extra two seconds to complete her journey.
Wonko The Sane - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: This is very true. She almost certainly did it because in her mind...... you're not a car and not going fast and as she said, she thought she could make it.

Bloody stupid, but for me personally, so long as my costs were covered I'd not be looking to make a massive issue of it.
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Wonko The Sane I also drive so maybe I took too much of a driving attitude toward the situation. Who knows.
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to sleavesley: Interesting reading thanks.
Enty - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

I'd sue her. There's no excuse for pulling out on a bike and the judging the speed thing is pathetic. What makes someone be in such a rush that they can't wait 8 seconds for a cyclist to pass?

On the other hand - I have a golden rule. When I see a car ready to pull out of any junction which would make the car go across my line of travel. UNTIL I MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE DRIVER I REDUCE MY SPEED TO A LEVEL WHICH WON'T CAUSE DAMAGE IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG.
I learnt this pretty quickly in France as many of our rural villages still have the stupid priorité a droite law.

It can be a pita sometimes but seems to work.

E
doz generale - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
> (In reply to Wonko The Sane) I fully accept that in future I need too think about my speed a bit more. And maybe modify my approach. You do have a point .But in my defense, it wasnt really pulling out. She came across my carriage to access a car park. I feel if I'd been a car or m'bike she'd have waited the extra two seconds to complete her journey.

Was she indicating? if she was, and you were truly riding defensively, you would have just assumed that she will pull out and would have adjusted your speed so that you can stop. In my opinion riding defensively assumes that no car can see you. Not saying you are wrong and i hope you recover well and get compensated but you could have avoided this!

Sir Chasm - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to doz generale: You travel at a speed that means you can instantly stop if someone performs their indicated manoeuvre as if they hadn't seen you? Do journeys take a long time?
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Enty:
> UNTIL I MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE DRIVER I REDUCE MY SPEED TO A LEVEL WHICH WON'T CAUSE DAMAGE IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG.


I think this is my new golden rule.

doz generale - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to doz generale) You travel at a speed that means you can instantly stop if someone performs their indicated manoeuvre as if they hadn't seen you? Do journeys take a long time?

Probably, but i've never had an accident! this includes 8 years of cycling through central london rush hour twice a day. I allways assume no-one can see me.
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to doz generale: Thanks for the well wish. I guess when you put it like that I don't ride as 100 % defensively as I could. And like I said above, maybe I transfer a few of my expectations of driving behaviour to cycling situations.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Bicycles can stop in the same distance if not less than a car. Assuming you're covering the brakes reaction times will be less too.

Maybe we should just stick to the pavements and do less than 5 mph, eh?
Sir Chasm - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to doz generale: So if a car coming towards you is indicating to turn right across your path you slow down to less than walking pace?
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee: i Took out last post as it involved another. I used to race bikes. The key point is 27mph going down hill. That means the breaking surface is dropping away from the tyres. I'm only trying lo show both sides of story. OP stated speed as around 27mph. Bit quick approaching a junction. Pretty daft Given most drivers expectations of bikes.
shaggypops - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: If she failed to call the Police and it was you who did this then has she not failed to report an RTC where someone involved was injured. Also, you have priority over any vehicle turning across you. Bikeability advises you to take centre of lane to make yourself more visible to other road users if you see the potential of vehicles turning across you.
Good luck and.......sue her!
doz generale - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to doz generale) So if a car coming towards you is indicating to turn right across your path you slow down to less than walking pace?

No, i slow down to a speed where i could stop if the car pulled out or a speed that would make a collision far less serious. probably about 8 to 10 mph which is about twice walking speed. I try to get eye contact with the driver too.
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm:
> (In reply to doz generale) So if a car coming towards you is indicating to turn right across your path you slow down to less than walking pace?

Shades of grey, perhaps just being at correct speed for road conditions. Either the OP is an experienced cyclist and should no better, or not that experienced and thus should perhaps cycle slower to accommodate,
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Prob not being clear enough, wasn't a junction but a straight road.
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: That was what I judged appropriate conditions. Wasn't hugely busy and a very wide road, could accommodate 3.5modern lanes I'd say. I also ride that road min 3 times, often 4 times a week so familiar with conditions.

Whether or not my decision was correct of course is another matter I guess.
Ramblin dave - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:
I've got kind of mixed feelings about this sort of stuff - in practice, I often will cycle "as if I'm invisible", assume that drivers are going to ignore me unless I've made eye contact etc, but I'd be very nervous about saying that you're at fault for not doing so, because it begins to suggest that drivers should expect cyclists to get out of their way whenever they want them to...
Porridge the climber - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Forget contributory negligence. From what you describe your actions don't even come close.
You were riding within the law and rules of the road and are completely entitled to expect others to do the same. Failure to anticipate that she would break the law is NOT negligence!

She has admitted seeing you so there is no issue with conditions or visability. As she was crossing your path where you have right of way it is entirely her responsibility to make sure it is safe to do so. She misjudged and it resulted in an accident. It is 100% her fault and you are entitled to 100% of the compensation due to you.
I would certainly get a solicitor and sue. It is pretty clear cut so be prepared to shop around and negotiate on fees. It will not go near court - her insuruer will certainly want to settle.

Good luck and hope you're back riding soon.
doz generale - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to The Big Man)
> I've got kind of mixed feelings about this sort of stuff - in practice, I often will cycle "as if I'm invisible", assume that drivers are going to ignore me unless I've made eye contact etc, but I'd be very nervous about saying that you're at fault for not doing so, because it begins to suggest that drivers should expect cyclists to get out of their way whenever they want them to...

I agree, The OP wasn't in the wrong but when you approach this sort of hazard you choose between putting your safety in the hands of the car driver and hope that they obey the law or have good judgment or you can take control of the situation and elimintate the risk by assuming they will make a mistake. In this particular scenario there is no right or wrong just different styles of cycling.
simonp - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Porridge the climber:
Agree with that. Assume the police breathalysed her too? 7.40am - she may have been hungover from the night before.
Mike Stretford - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
> Either the OP is an experienced cyclist and should no better, or not that experienced and thus should perhaps cycle slower to accommodate,

Many experienced cyclist ride in a riskier but perfectley legally fashion because they want to ride fast, and accept that risk. Cyclist will always be at risk from driver stupidity, like the rest of our lives we take our choices. I don't see Voltemand complaining about that, though he'll probably have his own thoughts on the future (get well soon!)

As decribed, the driver is fully at fault and if I were Voltemand I would claim for injuries, damges and any resultant loss of income.
Liam M - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:
> (In reply to Sir Chasm)
> [...]
>
> Shades of grey, perhaps just being at correct speed for road conditions. Either the OP is an experienced cyclist and should no better, or not that experienced and thus should perhaps cycle slower to accommodate,

I find I suffer much less in the way of reckless maneuveres if my legs are lively enough to be relatively close to the speed of the surrounding traffic. I'll still assume most drivers haven't seen me, and watch for little movements ( you can quickly spot those who'll do something strange with time), but I find if I'm feeling more tired and can't hold or kick to slightly higher speeds for a short while I experience a lot more careless overtakes and turns across.

I can only assume it's down to in some way slightly differing from the usual image of a cyclist pootling along at a very pedestrian pace.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
If you do brake for every junction when going downhill then as far as the drivers who are following you are concerned you will be slowing down for no apparent reason. What happens if they aren't paying attention and go into the back of you? Riding defensively doesn't just mean being aware of what's ahead of you.

Seriously people, going by the OP's description, how can anyone be saying that this was anything other than 100% the drivers fault?

When I'm approaching a junction I stop pedalling, cover the brakes, make eye contact with the driver, and then watch their front wheel until I'm past (easiest way to see if a car is moving is to watch for wheel movement, that's why I think those spinners need to be banned).

Guess what, even doing all that some prick is still going to pull in front of you.
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: i agree that based on the OP's comment being accurate. The driver was in the wrong. I'm just trying ve show both sides. 27mph in a built up area with a junction. There must have been a junction to allow the car ve turn. The OP saying no junction But straight road makes me worry. The car that turned across His path was at a junction.
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:

If I was driving my car, I would probably let them go if I could, as to do otherwise would be risking an accident.

Same thing applies to letting people on at motorway junctions, say. It's safer to get out of the way. Not the same situation, but at a particular badly marked (now corrected) roundabout in MK I avoided an accident a number of times by doing that.

That is I think why insurance companies increase premiums for too many not-fault accidents - this suggests non-defensive driving.

Neil
Dan_S - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee:

> Guess what, even doing all that some prick is still going to pull in front of you.

And that I think is the point, whilst the OP wasn't "in the wrong", but riding without factoring in the muppetry of other road users is a recipe for disaster.

You could go down the route of hitting them in the pocket, "sue their ass" etc. but ultimately that affects everyone who has some sort of vehicle insurance when premiums go up.

The better route would be to avoid getting in the situation whereby you could be seriously hurt as a result of someone being a prat. Motorists wouldn't expect a bike, in a built up area to be going anywhere near 30mph, so the OP should ride accordingly. It's not fair, and all that, but life seldom is.
Enty - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]
>
>
> I think this is my new golden rule.

Yeah. It's not always so simple as there can be many variables but getting eye contact with any driver makes me feel much better.
Even if it's a glance over your shoulder so the car behind you knows that you know that you have seen them.

E
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

"If I was driving my car, I would probably let them go if I could, as to do otherwise would be risking an accident."

Or *might* let them go in the described situation, though that isn't always safe. I read it as being that they turned right onto you while overtaking (something that someone has done to me while cycling), not turned right across your bows.

In Milton Keynes accidents like that are causing mass closures of right turns, but that's of course easier where you can just go round the next roundabout and try again.

Neil
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BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:

Not arguing that there wasn't a junction but even approaching a junction I wouldn't want to slow down too much. How much should he have slowed down, 5mph, 10mph, 15mph? You start slowing down too much without obvious reason you're risk becomes getting hit from behind.

He said that the driver had been stationary for 3 seconds. After 3 seconds they've either seen you or stalled. She had seen him and decided to risk his life anyway.
Mike Stretford - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> [...]
>

> You could go down the route of hitting them in the pocket, "sue their ass" etc. but ultimately that affects everyone who has some sort of vehicle insurance when premiums go up.
>
>

It's the perfectely standard thing to do after someone has caused an accident. That's why we have insurance. We have to assume people are going to drive with some sense or the whole country would grind to a halt.

BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> The better route would be to avoid getting in the situation whereby you could be seriously hurt as a result of someone being a prat. Motorists wouldn't expect a bike, in a built up area to be going anywhere near 30mph, so the OP should ride accordingly. It's not fair, and all that, but life seldom is.

The fact is that many motorists don't expect a bike to be there at all. That's why there are so many 'look but not see' accidents. In order to act as drivers expect the only solution then is to not cycle at all until bicycles are so common that drivers are conditioned to take them into account. Catch 22.
Trangia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to Voltemands)
>
> > On the other hand - I have a golden rule. When I see a car ready to pull out of any junction which would make the car go across my line of travel. UNTIL I MAKE EYE CONTACT WITH THE DRIVER I REDUCE MY SPEED TO A LEVEL WHICH WON'T CAUSE DAMAGE IF ANYTHING GOES WRONG.
>

This eye contact rule is an interesting one.

I've just returned from a trip to the supermarket this morning. I was driving along a minor urban road at about 25 mph with nothing behind me when this guy in another car comes up to a road junction on my left. It's clearly my right of way. He sees me and slows down, then we make eye contact. Having done that he immediately accelerates and pulls out in front of me. I slam on my anchors (some instinct had warned me that he was going to do this), he also then brakes and we both come to a stop just inches from each other. Fortunately no crash and no injuries.

This is not the first time this has happened after I have made eye contact with another road uses and it got me thinking about the whole driver phsycology surrounding road crashes. It's almost as though he had accepted that I was coming and had right of way yet the making of eye contact in a perverse sort of way had triggered a response in his brain absolving him of the neccessity to stop.

I wish that without being agressive, but out of sheer curiousity, I had got out and gone and asked him why he had done that, because he was clearly embarrased by his behaviour, and it would be interesting to explore the reasons why people do such obviously silly things?

I know I've been guilty of out of character and illogical agressive driving in the past. For example at the weekend I was following a woman in a car who was clearly lost as she initially did a stupid u turn in front of me causing me to brake quite hard to let her in, then she indicated left and started to turn left changing her mind at the last moment and cutting back in again. She then came to a junction and indicated right where I was also turning right. I followed her round but instead of continuing straight ahead on the new road, she started another u turn making me brake again. I hooted at her and wound the window down to swear at her.

Immediately afterwards I felt ashamed to to have have behaved like that. She was clearly lost, and therefore not concentrating - probably totally unaware that I was behind her. I had already sussed that she was lost and rather than getting impatient should have allowed for that. On reflection I now wish that instead of shouting at her, I should have smiled and said something like "You're obviously lost. Where are you looking for?"

If only we could all adopt that sort of attitude, there would be less stress and hassle on our roads. But going back to the subject, I remember my driving instructor in the 1960s telling me we should all drive/ride assuming that the other driver isn't going to do what you expect them to do. He said that there's consolation in the fact that you were in the right if you finish up on a mortuarry slab.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: I remember I was watching a car towing another car waiting at a busy junction. There was a gap in the traffic big enough for one car but not two. Instinct obviously took over and the driver tried to gun it through the gap. He made it through but he dragged his mates car straight into the path of the oncoming car.

I could understand the first guys mistake, he probably momentarily forgot he was towing and tried to do what he would normally do. It's the woman who drove into the second car I couldn't understand. There was room to brake when it became obvious the second car was coming as well but she didn't even touch the brakes, just drove straight on. I wonder if it was a "This shouldn't be happening therefore it can't possibly be hapening" reaction.

Driving psychology is fascinating.
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee: you've answered yourself. The driver could have stalled. Cyclists should expect the worse. It's why you look both ways when crossing a one way street
M0nkey - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Dan_S:
> (In reply to BruceWee)
>
> [...]
>

>
> You could go down the route of hitting them in the pocket, "sue their ass" etc. but ultimately that affects everyone who has some sort of vehicle insurance when premiums go up.
>
> The better route would be to avoid getting in the situation whereby you could be seriously hurt as a result of someone being a prat. Motorists wouldn't expect a bike, in a built up area to be going anywhere near 30mph, so the OP should ride accordingly. It's not fair, and all that, but life seldom is.


Without a time machine, I suspect your advice is going to be difficult for the OP to follow. The accident clearly has already happened so there is nothing he can do now to change that. He can try and avoid accidents in the future and no doubt he will want to take on board all the sanctimonious and patronising advice on this thread (along with the helpful bits).

To the OP. It is important for you to keep contact with the good samaritan who helped you. It sounds like they are a witness which will be useful if the driver contests liability. Having said that, the point of impact, and the objective damage to the drivers car will presumably support your version of events, namely that she drove across your lane. You really must go and see a solicitor about this accident. You have been quite seriously injured and it sounds like there is the possibility of your injuries impinging on your future climbing. The whole purpose of compensation for injuries in to try and put the injured party back in the position they would be in if the accident had not occurred. The only way the courts can try and approximate that position is by awarding money for injuries.

I don't buy into the whole moral argument about people claiming compensation. I don't agree with spongers claiming for whiplash when in fact they haven't been injured at all, but that isn't the same as disagreeing with the principle of compensation in tort law.

Finally, someone above said the OP should shop around solicitors to see who will do the best deal on fees. This isn't necessary. The fees are paid by the other side. Just pick a solicitor you like.
Howard J - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: If you'd been in a car there would be no question about making a claim, you'd claim off her insurers and your own insurers would take care of everything. Why should it be any different because you were on a bike, except that you might have to make the claim yourself, or get a solicitor to do so.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man: Fair enough but you still haven't answered my other question. Doesn't slowing down when there is no obvious need put you at risk from the cars behind you?
Voltemands - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to The Big Man:
> (In reply to Voltemands) i agree that based on the OP's comment being accurate. The driver was in the wrong. I'm just trying ve show both sides. 27mph in a built up area with a junction. There must have been a junction to allow the car ve turn. The OP saying no junction But straight road makes me worry. The car that turned across His path was at a junction.

Why does straight road make you worry?


I do t know how many times I have to say this, but there was NO junction. It was not a built up area, a small town. The treatment unit was added about 4 years ago, the road (the straight one) has been around for as long as the town.
Ramblin dave - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
Are you two at cross purposes as to whether or not a car park entrance opening onto the road constitutes a junction?
JIMBO on 31 Jul 2012
My sympathies... Just another thought, which may not have any bearing but...
If I'm driving a car and the car in front slows to turn left, if I ram into it's arse it's my fault for not leaving enough stopping distance. Also in a car I'm not allowed to undertake.
Don't know how these may or may not relate to bikes...
... Hope you mend well.
tim000 - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands: sorry , not read though the whole thread so this might have been mentioned . but is it not an offence to leave the scene of an accident until the police arrive?
Sir Chasm - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to tim000: Why not try reading the thread then? Instead of posting to say you haven't read the thread.
tim000 - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Sir Chasm: because it`s full of comment by people like you :-)
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to JIMBO:

> If I'm driving a car and the car in front slows to turn left, if I ram into it's arse it's my fault for not leaving enough stopping distance. Also in a car I'm not allowed to undertake.

Erm, yes. I can't disagree with any of that. Still have no idea how it's relevant though.

JIMBO on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee: I think I'm asking do all road users, mechanised or not, follow the same rules or are bicycle drivers follow rules of their own?
Sounds like she turned left just as she had finished overtaking which is bad...
gethin_allen on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia: "27 mph is fast for a bike" 27 mph isn't really fast for a bike, you can do that on the flat.
"drivers don't always appreciate just how fast a bike is going"
So because a driver hasn't paid adequate attention to observing how fast a cyclist is travelling they shouldn't be held responsible for their actions?

Often it's safer to travel at the speed of the traffic as people aren't trying to pass you in dangerous ways.

I'm not a great fan of suing everyone for minor incidents but in this case the person involved has admitted liability IMO and the OP has sustained significant injuries that will probably leave him significantly out of pocket so is more than justified in getting someone on the case.
gethin_allen on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to JIMBO:

> Sounds like she turned left just as she had finished overtaking which is bad...

Sounds like you got the wrong end of the stick.

From what I can tell from the OP, the car was travelling towards him and pulled across the front of him.
BruceWee - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to JIMBO:

> Sounds like she turned left just as she had finished overtaking which is bad...

All road users follow rules of their own to a greater or lesser extent but we're supposed to all follow the same rules (with a couple of exceptions).

Turning left after overtaking is bad but it has nothing to do with what the OP described.

Indy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to stonemaster:
Its my understanding that cyclist can't be charged with speeding as such but that can be charged with ‘wanton and furious driving’ (driving as in cattle)

A bloke a few years ago got prison time for this after killing somebody he hit while riding his bike. I also believe that he got banned from DRIVING as well
JIMBO on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee: sorry, read it wrong! All her fault...
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee:

I made the same misinterpretation, though I now understand what did happen.

Neil
Alex Slipchuk on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to BruceWee:
> (In reply to The Big Man) Fair enough but you still haven't answered my other question. Doesn't slowing down when there is no obvious need put you at risk from the cars behind you?

I suppose yes if you had to break suddenly because you were going to fast for road conditions. But it's all about common sense and riding defensively. It's common sense when riding downhill fast (the OP was probably freewheelingas he said if built up speed) to be prepared for traffic cutting across his path simply easing off the gas and some breaking would bring him down to 15mph which is still quite fast on a bike in traffic, and allow him time to come to a stop or build up speed. I agree the car was at fault But the cyclist could have avoided it with experience. I raced as a club cyclist and trained on the road. I was smacked by a car turning left who had no idea that a 16 year old could be spinning a large gear at 20mph. It is very easy to lock up bike wheels when breaking fast. I hope the OP gets well soon :)
andy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to all: please: BRAKING - It's BRAKING.

Slow down: brake.

Shatter, destroy: break.

Thank you.
Ramblin dave - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andy:
Thanks for braking that down for us.
andy - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave: *resignedly saws own head off with rusty knife*
Byronius Maximus - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Voltemands:
> (In reply to Enty)
> [...]
>
>
> I think this is my new golden rule.

It's a good rule to use and definitely helps in most situations.

However, it doesn't sound like it would have helped here if she really did say "I thought I could make it" as you quote. That indicates that she saw you and knew you were there but decided to try the turn anyway; making eye contact wouldn't have affected her judgement on that.

I think it's pretty unreasonable to expect you to slow down on a bicycle every time there is someone waiting to pull out even though they have seen you. Defensive cycling is useful and often appropriate, but one has to also ride confidently on the road which will generally let people know that you are there and have just as much of right to be there as them, and they will (usually) behave accordingly.
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to andy:

"If you don't brake, you will break as your car hits the wall"?

Neil
Neil Williams - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Trangia:

"But going back to the subject, I remember my driving instructor in the 1960s telling me we should all drive/ride assuming that the other driver isn't going to do what you expect them to do. He said that there's consolation in the fact that you were in the right if you finish up on a mortuarry slab."

I heard "Always drive not only as if the other drivers are dangerously incompetent, but as if they were actively out to kill you". But minus the aggression, perhaps.

Neil
captain paranoia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Byronius Maximus:

> It's a good rule to use and definitely helps in most situations.

It is indeed a useful rule. On the other hand, there are plenty of b'stards out there who will look you square in the eye and pull out in front of you anyway, with an evil grin on their face. Because they know they won't get hurt, and you damned well will...

To the OP: Pursue it to the fullest extent, both criminal and civil. Don't assume that, because she admitted guilt at the time that she will continue to do so. It's quite likely that, in the cold light of day, she'll deny everything, and try to blame you. That's my experience of a "I saw you, but thought you'd stop" incident when a woman reversed out in front of me whilst I was going down a steep hill, with no chance of stopping whatsoever. Her husband even had the cheek to say that her car had been damaged.
captain paranoia - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I heard "Always drive not only as if the other drivers are dangerously incompetent, but as if they were actively out to kill you".

That's more like my approach.

> But minus the aggression, perhaps.

As I said above, in many cases, there's deliberate intent and aggression on their part.
bigbobbyking - on 31 Jul 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Trangia)

>
> I heard "Always drive not only as if the other drivers are dangerously incompetent, but as if they were actively out to kill you". But minus the aggression, perhaps.
>
> Neil

These saying always seem a bit glib. Driving 'as if people were trying to actively kill me' would mean I stayed at home. You have to be pragmatic about cycling, fully aware that sometimes drivers don't notice you.. But you can't slow down for every junction when a car is waiting or you'd never get anywhere and never have any fun.

To the OP, good luck for the recovery and getting the compensation you deserve for your damaged goods and lost time.
Alex Slipchuk on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to andy:
> (In reply to Ramblin dave) *resignedly saws own head off with rusty knife*

you chased your own head away with a rusty knife, how could you see where you were going?
MHutch - on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Hope you're mending well. I can see nothing in what you describes that suggests contributory negligence to me. 27 mph is a reasonable speed on a downhill, even with rim brakes. At some point all the defensive riding in the world isn't going to help you if the driver ahead behaves like that.

So, you need to get cracking on your claim against her insurance.

Have a search of singletrackworld forum for similar threads. Depressingly, there are quite a few scattered around. There will be contacts for knowledgeable solictors (don't just pick up the phone to some random no win tw*t and good step by step advice on getting your injuries documented and your bike damage valued correctly. Definitely new helmet, visible repairs, but also a thorough look over apparently unaffected components - you may be missing a buggered frame etc which will be harder to claim for later on. If your frame is carbon...anyway, a decent LBS will check it over for you and advise on replacements and repair.

Have you involved police? Worth reporting it as it was an injury accident.

Lastly, don't get fobbed off. She screwed up, that's what her insurance is for. Chase and keep chasing until you get what you need.

Ghastly Rubberfeet on 01 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Penny Knight at Leigh Day & Co.

Retained legal team for British Cycling.

They will take on other clients too.

Top service and highly recommended. (From personal exp.)

Please don't think you can get away without legal help. It's so much less hastle having someone else deal with it all.

Hope you mend soon.
Ghastly Rubberfeet on 01 Aug 2012
Voltemands - on 03 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Thanks for all the well wishes and useful information. It's all in hand now. Police and all the ugly insurance stuff is in process. Will up date if anything interesting happens.

Thanks also to those who took the time to email me. Once I get some time at a pc rather than just a smart phone I'll reply.
marktaoh - on 06 Aug 2012
First of all I hope you are recovering well. 2. take legal action and don't do anything to exact your own justice however tempting. She is sorry alright sorry she didn't get away with it..... If she cant judge distance and speed she has no right driving a car. Doesn't matter how repentant she may appear to be it is an act so she doesn't get into trouble.

I took a gentle knock from a car that pushed me into a fence- they put their foot down and went like the clappers. The only good thing to come of it was the helpful people who blocked the road and helped. Car was running false plates so obviously up to no good. Never caught. I was not injured but a few days later had neck problems which keep flaring up now for a couple of months.

Help cyclists all over the country and get her fined, points on licence and although I am not one for frivolous litigation a la USA some money for your injuries which are not minor.
This will Guarantee next time she sees a cyclist she will give them time and space.. Thank you
Good luck.
Mark
marktaoh - on 06 Aug 2012
and advice from British Cycling would be prudent.
Mr Eddie - on 06 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands: I haven't read all of the thread, but after being in a potentially fatal, but surprisingly ok RTC (me on bike vs van @70mph). I'd say you were not in the wrong as she had seen you. I think the only law is peddling furiously not cycling furiously. I got off with shattered ulnar and lots of cuts including facial scaring.

Bolloks to her, I'd sue her. She fu**ed up, she needs to be charged by the plod and her insurance to increase. That way she will be reminded of her muppetry every time she renews her insurance. She will also moan to all her friends and they will realise too.
Ludos123 - on 06 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Sorry to hear about your accident mate. It must have been pretty scary.

If you're going to ride at those speeds then it is important to read the situation early and act early.

A good tip for the future is to go out and practice emergency stops, like a park or somewhere quiet.

An emergency stop s basically pulling both brakes in hard and at the same time throwing your body backwards. You can tweak the brakes to make the stop more effective. You can also do the em. stop by pulling the back brake slightly earlier than the front - the 'jump' backwards on your bike helps to stop you from propelling over the handle bar.

As long as she is prepared to cover the costs of new equipment I would just get over it if I was you. Thank god you are alive! She should be forced to retake her test - her driving was careless and reckless, but most drivers are.
gildor - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands: Why is there all this bike stuff on a climbing forum?
Trangia - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to gildor:

Because there's a section for mountain bikes and bikes in general.
Neil Williams - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Ludos123:

I'd go with you on this one, I wouldn't be looking for anything more than covering of all directly incurred financial losses (as would happen were it your car she crashed into).

People make mistakes. Unless the OP never makes any errors of judgement in road traffic and gets away with them himself (unlikely), I don't see a need to go any further, unless the Police and/or CPS do in which case that is their choice but you should go along with it if they wish.

Sueing someone into the ground for an error of judgement rather than just needing them to make good the actual damage seems to me to be perpetuating the sue-me culture which does none of us any favours. Though a personal apology from her, once insurance blame had been resolved, would to me be nice.

Neil
BruceWee - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Neil Williams: I would do everything I could to make sure she loses her license.

She saw him and made a conscious decision to risk his life to save a couple of seconds (going by the OPs description).

She should be in jail but she won't be. All we can hope for is that she doesn't get the chance to do it again.

Couldn't care less about sueing her.
Neil Williams - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to BruceWee:

"She saw him and made a conscious decision to risk his life to save a couple of seconds (going by the OPs description)."

Did she really? Or did she simply make a split second error of judgement on his speed? Only she knows that.

I've done that before in a car involving another car, and because of both of us reacting to the apparent error and emergency braking/taking evasive action there was nothing other than bruised pride. You surely can't say you have absolutely never made an error of judgement on the road that might have caused an accident but didn't because of the evasive actions taken by yourself and the other driver?

If I got an apology and full financial recompense via her insurance company to cover the financial costs incurred from the accident (replacement bike etc), thus putting you back where you were, I would be happy to leave it at that, personally.

If, OTOH, I got "I did nothing wrong", I would push it, but few people are *that* stubborn. And I wouldn't count things said on the spur of the moment after a high adrenaline occurrence like that. People often say things they don't mean in that sort of situation.

Neil
Mike Highbury - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to gildor:
> (In reply to Voltemands) Why is there all this bike stuff on a climbing forum?

Because they are shit at climbing so talk about bikes instead.

Or, because they like playing around outside and cycling is part of the whole crappy thing.
Neil Williams - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Mike Highbury:

"Because they are shit at climbing so talk about bikes instead."

:)

Or because people who engage in one outdoor activity very often are the sort of people who are likely to engage in more than one.

Neil
BruceWee - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> The female driver makes no move to move in, after about 3 seconds the distance between us has narrowed a lot. At this point the driver decides to make the manoeuvre (her) right across my lane - as slow as humanly possible.
>
> Her only response was " I thought I could make it" which I guess is logical...
>

That's what I took from those two statements. She'd clearly seen him and decided to try it anyway. There are far too many of these kinds of people on the road and the more that are taken off them the better.

At the risk of turning to Daily Mail cliches, won't someone think of the slightly overweight crap climbers on their way to the office!!!

Neil Williams - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to BruceWee:

:)

Neil
EeeByGum - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to BruceWee:
> (In reply to Neil Williams) I would do everything I could to make sure she loses her license.

Blimey - I am sure you have never made such errors of judgement? I think we would all be in jail if we were to apply your stringent rules.
Marc Dubbeldam - on 07 Aug 2012
In reply to Voltemands:

Lucky you survived...

I had a similar experience about 20 years ago when I was a competitive road cyclist and capable of doing 25 - 30 mph on the flat. I was riding home from work when a car pulled out of a side street without even looking. I went flying over the bonnet and ended up with a bruised hip and a significant dose of road rash. My bike and clothing were also mashed. The driver in question was very apologetic and took me to the hospital to have a doctor look at me as I wanted to rule out internal damage (e.g. concussion).

Rather than taking legal action, I contacted the driver's insurance company, who - in addition to covering the costs for the repairs to my bike and new clothing - offered a more or less significant sum of money as compensation for my injuries. In my case I thought the £500 offered was reasonable given that my injuries were not all that bad - it paid for a much needed week's holiday anyway!

So my advice would be that you should contact the driver's insurance company and ask what they are prepared to offer as compensation for your injuries. Given that the driver already admitted guilt and that you were hospitalised, this should be fairly significant. It is up to you to decide whether their offer is acceptable - if the insurance company fob you off then you can always consider legal action.

All the best.

Marc

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