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RockyRaquel
07-26-2008, 01:17 PM
Hi everyone!
I got hit by a car on my bike in a cross walk yesterday! Thankfully I am doing ok...got a couple big bruises and a big raspberry on my arm. The driver didn't even get a ticket. The crazy part is that I almost got hit right before that while entering the crosswalk, then proceeded to make it through when this lady flew right though the intersection and I collided with her car! I turned my wheel to not hit her head on and hit her with my right side and landed on my left. It was so scary!! :eek: I just started road cycling in May and had finished one of my longest rides with my boyfriend. We were right out side his apartment complex. It was during rush hour microsoft traffic!! People are in such a hurry these days and don't even pay attention. I am definitely going to get back on the bike after I feel better but I am still a little hesitant. My boyfriend says that the majority of bike/car accidents happen in the crosswalk. Should we be just riding in the road? It was only for a very, very small portion of our ride. We were on the bike trail all day. I am very thankful that I am not seriously injured.:o

Mr. Bloom
07-26-2008, 01:22 PM
Should we be just riding in the road?

Yes, yes, yes...drivers are careless with the trails.

I'm glad you're OK!

I encourage you to take a Road I safety course (http://www.bikeleague.org); I'm sure one is offered in your area. It will help build your awareness and confidence.

BleeckerSt_Girl
07-26-2008, 01:28 PM
Hard to tell what might have led to this aside from the driver's inattention, but....do you think she would have hit you if were a pedestrian?- and if not, why not? Food for thought.
My suggestion would be for you to not cross the crosswalk if there is a car coming. Assume they are not going to stop. Assume they don't see you and are not paying attention. Wait until either the car has completely stopped for you or until there is no car approaching within hitting distance of you at all.
It is frustrating when bikers have the right of way but are hit anyway, but if we ride as though they are not seeing us and as though they are going to do the wrong thing, then we greatly increase our chance of survival. The fact is that it's very common for drivers to not see a bike in plain sight- simply because they are not LOOKING for a bike.
I'm so glad you didn't get badly hurt. :o
Watch those crosswalks- they are highly dangerous places for bikes.

Eden
07-26-2008, 01:46 PM
Hi everyone!
I got hit by a car on my bike in a cross walk yesterday! Thankfully I am doing ok...got a couple big bruises and a big raspberry on my arm. The driver didn't even get a ticket.

I am assuming you were crossing on a walk.... The driver definitely should have gotten a ticket (were the police called?). In Washington state a cyclist in a crosswalk is a pedestrian. She should get the same punishment as a driver who hits someone walking in a cross walk. If the police were involved, I would complain to the Redmond (I'm assuming - or Issaquah or Bellevue - which ever) police about the officer if he/she was disinclined to ticket the driver...

What were all the circumstances? Was the driver also making an illegal right on red.... (turned on a red without stopping behind the crosswalk first) or did she turn into you from the other street on her green?

It's good that you are OK, but the driver shouldn't be allowed to get away with what she did. She could have hurt you severely or worse.

mary9761
07-26-2008, 03:13 PM
I'm glad you weren't hurt more seriously either. My front wheel was clipped by a motorcycle in a crosswalk when I had the walk signal shortly after I first got my bike. I'd checked for traffic coming from beside me and ahead of me before I started to roll into the intersection. They pulled a right turn just as I left the curb. They didn't stop and the second motorcycle that was following with them had to swerve to miss both of us. Luckily I stayed upright and my bike wasn't damaged, but it scared the bejeebies out of me and I was 30 miles from home, 10 miles from my LBS which I did have them check the wheel before I rode all the way home. People don't look and don't care.:(

Grog
07-26-2008, 03:16 PM
Scary moment, I'm glad to read you're mostly okay.


My boyfriend says that the majority of bike/car accidents happen in the crosswalk. Should we be just riding in the road?

In a word: yes.

What happened was wrong and the driver should have yielded to you. Nonetheless, those places made for pedestrians (sidewalks and crosswalks) do not work well for cyclists. I strongly encourage you to check out one of those skills classes pointed out by an earlier poster, they will cover this much better than I can!

Good luck! And heal fast.

crazycanuck
07-26-2008, 07:09 PM
Eee! :eek: :(

I hope you're feeling better soon & back biking!

Zen
07-26-2008, 07:22 PM
People don't look and don't care.:(

AmIThereYet and I were riding in the Gettysburg Battlefield Park today. The roads are designed for slow traffic with parking on the right side. A pedestrian walked right in front of us, if I hadn't shouted "HEY, WE'RE VEHICLES TOO!" we would have run in to him.
Then there were the Segue riders...:rolleyes:
Oof.

deeaimond
07-26-2008, 08:19 PM
In my country the law is clear that if a cyclist wants to use a pedestrian crossing (i'm assuming a crosswalk is a pedestrian crossing with a traffic light coz i've never heard the term before), she has to dismount and push. Cars do not have to yield to a cyclist who decides to cycle across a pedestrian crossing. (Coz we're the ones doing the illegal thing) so if anything happens in such a situation they're usually not held very accountable either.

I think when drivers come to pedestrian crossings they expect pedestrians and therefore they think if they can go fast the pedestrians will be fine as well. So when a bicycle comes rolling out... the speed is different and things happen. I'm sure no driver wants to intentionally hit another person. (Those who do need help for sure)

I'm glad you're alright, I got hit by a car earlier this week too. fortunately we were both going slow so I just got a bruise and a slight knock on the head. But I know what you mean about being apprehensive about getting back on.

I decided to just go ride with my friends today and it wasn't so bad, except I kept looking for vehicles that wanted to cut me. heh.

I'd say if you had some of those skills courses in your area do attend one so you learn faster how to negotiate traffic. on a bicycle you can't rely on trial and error thats for sure...

Eden
07-26-2008, 10:31 PM
In my country the law is clear that if a cyclist wants to use a pedestrian crossing (i'm assuming a crosswalk is a pedestrian crossing with a traffic light coz i've never heard the term before), she has to dismount and push. Cars do not have to yield to a cyclist who decides to cycle across a pedestrian crossing.

The law is different here. Here mounted or dismounted a bicycle in a crosswalk is a pedestrian and a pedestrian in a crosswalk nearly always has the right of way. You just cannot cross against a signal or in an intersection that does not have a signal you have to be sure you don't step out in front of traffic that cannot reasonably stop for you. So you can't jump out in front of a car that is 2 feet from you, basically, but once you step off the sidewalk, legally all traffic that reasonably can, without endangering anyone, should stop to allow you to cross.

Now I won't claim that this is what actually happens.... (and I really hate right on red, because people are so busy looking to their left for traffic that they forget about looking right for pedestrians!)but as long as the OP was crossing with the light she was the one legally correct. Now, there's also a difference between legal and safe too though. Riding on the sidewalk is one of the most dangerous things that you can do for just this very reason. Most drivers a) are not really attentive enough and b) are not expecting something that can move as quickly as a bicycle to come off of the sidewalk into the crosswalk.

jaydee
07-27-2008, 01:50 AM
It's a bit tricky in the city I live in.

If the pedestrian crossing has lights that show pictures of both cyclists and walkers, the cyclist has the right to ride across the crossing. If however, there is only a picture of a walker or a green walk sign, the cyclist has to walk across the crossing.

All this is well and good, except of course drivers can't see who should be walking / riding and treat all crossings as not applying to cyclists. So you really do have to stop and look really carefully, to make sure the cars don't begin moving through the crossing before you are across.

ilima
07-27-2008, 12:42 PM
Scary. I'm glad you are okay. I would still file a police report and get the driver's insurance information to pay for any damages or medical attention you needed.

deeaimond
07-27-2008, 07:53 PM
Eden, I see what you mean.

I think the consensus is that riding across a pedestrian crossing is a very dangerous to do because Drivers do not expect the speed of anything more than a WALKING pedestrian.

And at the end of the day, whether or not it is legal, As cyclists we'll always be on the losing end. No point in someone getting a ticket if we're already injured... :(

Oh yeah and I agree with Ilima. Still file a police report. Some injuries only surface later, so at least if u have something surface later you still can make a claim.

RockyRaquel
07-27-2008, 09:21 PM
Thank you for all of your replies! We had dodged the first car that was taking a right into the cross walk - that slowed us down and we also had to go around an SUV that was hanging out into the crosswalk then BAM! I got hit on the far right lane...I remember the traffic light turning yellow right before I got hit which should have given plenty of time for us to make it through to finish. All of the other cars were stopped and waiting for us. The police and ambulance came to the scene but the police sided with the driver and neither of us got a ticket. I am so angry about this because she clearly ran a red light and was apologizing right after it happened. She said she had a green and that she couldn't see us (that SUV was blocking her view and they were no where to be found after it all happened) I believe that this case may need a personal injury attorney which is going to be a big hassle. I went to the chiropractor (which is what I have done in the past after being rear-ended in my car) Where should I go from here? Besides trying to find a course to learn how to dodge crazy drivers!! ;)

kjay
07-27-2008, 10:19 PM
I'm seeing more and more bicyclists biking in crosswalks. Here in CA, a bike must follow the rules of the road as they pertain to cars, so legally the biker would be "at fault," I believe. I know when I'm driving my car, I don't expect to see bikes in pedestrian crosswalks, and when I do, it really takes me by surprise.

KnottedYet
07-28-2008, 04:50 AM
I'm sorry you got hit! And I'm very surprised the police just blew the whole thing off. If you need help finding advocacy, maybe try getting ahold of Cascade Bicycle Club and see if they can help? www.cascade.org

When an intersection looks too hairy for me to be comfortable riding through on the road like a car, I get off the bike and walk through in the crosswalk.

The nice thing about using the "now I'm a vehicle/now I'm a pedestrian" technique is that in weird visibility conditions like you had with the SUV, I can (and often do) push the bike *ahead* of me as I walk, so cars on the other side of a blocking vehicle see the bike's front end first, then me walking behind it.

That also helps with cars who want to turn right on red. The bike enters the crosswalk first as I push it by the saddle, and the right turners realize they can't turn right yet.

Actually, I feel safer walking in a crosswalk pushing the bike than I do walking alone. The bike is like a big signal flag and takes up space!

arielmoon
07-28-2008, 05:06 AM
(((((RR))))) I am so glad you are ok!

Geonz
07-28-2008, 05:34 AM
Very glad UROK !!!

Twice in two weeks I"ve had drivers ask me about right turns and cyclists they've hit or almost hit (in the former, only damage to the bicycle) - in both cases, the bicycle was coming from across the street on the crosswalk, riding. In the latter, it's a lady from the UK who totally did not understand why a cyclist would be on pedestrian turf riding at bicycle speed and giving the glower when she "dared" make her turn. I told her the whole right-of-way thing in that situation was ambiguous (in the first case, it was a right turn on red so we surmised that a judge might have decided that no matter what, the car was supposed to yield, period; I didn't think to ask in the latter whether it was a stop sign or traffic light).
At any rate, I have also hopped off and walked (in one of our intersections because it's faster as well as safer... it's a *long* cycle with a 35 second "pedestrians only" period in the middle of campus).

BleeckerSt_Girl
07-28-2008, 05:56 AM
Thank you for all of your replies! We had dodged the first car that was taking a right into the cross walk - that slowed us down and we also had to go around an SUV that was hanging out into the crosswalk then BAM! I got hit on the far right lane...I remember the traffic light turning yellow right before I got hit which should have given plenty of time for us to make it through to finish. All of the other cars were stopped and waiting for us. The police and ambulance came to the scene but the police sided with the driver and neither of us got a ticket. I am so angry about this because she clearly ran a red light and was apologizing right after it happened. She said she had a green and that she couldn't see us (that SUV was blocking her view and they were no where to be found after it all happened) ;)


This definitely sounds like an intersection that you should WALK your bike across. Think of it as good practice in hopping on and off your bike. ;)
When in doubt, transform yourself into a pedestrian. Don't depend on 'right-of-way', it's never worth it, since drivers so often don't see cyclists. On a dangerous intersection, you might also consider waiting through til the next light until your light just turns green and all cars have stopped, thus completely avoiding the always-dangerous 'yellow light situation' that you found yourself in.
There are little ways to avoid 95% of dangerous biking situations.
Ride safe.

aicabsolut
07-28-2008, 08:14 AM
It is fairly common to have a cyclist on the right shoulder, bike lane, or in a crosswalk be hit by motorists making right turns. Now, if someone is in the crosswalk, drivers are supposed to yield. Some states apparently make the cyclist walk the bike, and I guess that could be true whenever there's a ban on riding on sidewalks, but that was not the case for the OP. So, she didn't do anything wrong by cycling in the crosswalk, with a walk signal. The driver was completely at fault for not yielding, though I am not at all surprised by the officer's approach to the situation.

Still, it is the safest thing when you're in slow-moving traffic to be in the road, and in the middle to left side of the lane where you're approaching an intersection where lots of people turn right. This allows you to more easily get around people who take you by surprise and turn right in front of you without signaling, and it makes the person behind you wait for you before turning, instead of trying to cut you off or flat out running you over. If cars are going slowly and turning, there is nothing wrong with "impeding" traffic flow by staying away from the far right side of the lane. Of course, if you're going to take the lane, it helps to keep behaving like a car for the rest of the congested stretch of road--not squeezing between traffic and parked cars or at the curb if you can help it and then darting back into the lane.

Anyway, I'm not sure how much you can do in terms of getting your injuries covered and whatnot since the vehicle wasn't cited. If you have the driver's insurance information, that could help, but without a favorable police report, I'm not sure you can make them do anything for you, unfortunately.

mimitabby
07-28-2008, 08:22 AM
It's not clear to me from what she said as to whether or not a police officer was ever at the scene.
The last accident I was in we had to threaten the lady who caused the accident because she wanted to leave. It took the police a full hour to arrive at the scene. (this was a 3 vehicle no bikes accident)

RockyRaquel
07-28-2008, 08:29 AM
It's not clear to me from what she said as to whether or not a police officer was ever at the scene.
The last accident I was in we had to threaten the lady who caused the accident because she wanted to leave. It took the police a full hour to arrive at the scene. (this was a 3 vehicle no bikes accident)

Yes, a police officer was the last to come to the scene. It was on the border of two cities (Redmond and Bellevue, WA). Redmond came first then left and Bellevue police were called. She was very rude and kept saying she had other things she had to do than argue with us over what happened. It seems like police are not siding with victims anymore...Also, it is ok for a cyclist to ride their bike across the crosswalk - in our case there was no bike lane and just a side walk or the street where people go 35 miles per hour. Next time I will get off my bike and walk it across the street!!

BleeckerSt_Girl
07-28-2008, 08:35 AM
When you get more experience cycling you might find that riding on the road proper with the cars is less dangerous and unpredictable than riding on sidewalks and crosswalks. In the meantime, yes do get off your bike and walk it across the crosswalk along with the pedestrians. The most important thing is to be safe. :)
Again, I'm glad you were not seriously hurt.

jobob
07-28-2008, 08:40 AM
Here are a couple of websites with excellent instructions on how to ride roads safely.

http://bicyclesafe.com/

http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/index.htm

mayanorange
07-28-2008, 08:59 AM
Really scary- is it me or have people forgotten how to drive with a bicyclist around? Maybe it's just that I grew up in a small bike friendly town. I honestly thought it is illegal to bike on sidewalks (not that I and other people don't do it). I try to stay in the roads and be brave, but there's one patch near our house on a 4 lane road that has sooo many patches and dips to sewer drains in the nonexistent shoulder that has a beautiful paved path next to it that most people ride there instead.

As for right turns, this seems to be a prevalent problem- I was watching CBS Sunday Morning yesterday and even Portland (land of bikers galore) has put in Green boxes at lights so the bikes can move in front of the cars to wait so the drivers have to see them. Really great idea IMHO.

spokewench
07-28-2008, 09:33 AM
There were some comments here that it is legal to ride a bike in a cross walk. In my state, Arizona, this is illegal. If you want to use the crosswalk to get across an intersection, you must dismount and walk across as if you were a walking pedestrian. The reason is that you are moving faster on a bike than a pedestrian and could zip out into the intersection quicker and not be seen by a car, or move too fast for a car to see you before it could brake.

I'm really sorry that you got hit and its sounds like you were soundly in the crosswalk before you got hit so it was probably the car's fault, but if the law is the same in WA as it is here, you may have a hard time fighting that in court.

This is why I am always a proponent of ride like a car, act like a car, be predictable, cross intersections just like you would if you were driving a car. This avoids confusion and you are predictable. It may seem to you as being less safe, but I have found that this is the safest choice in almost any situation. If you deem the intersection is too unsafe, get off and walk your bike across. That way, there will be no argument if someone does hit you as a pedestrian.

spoke

Eden
07-28-2008, 05:29 PM
'm really sorry that you got hit and its sounds like you were soundly in the crosswalk before you got hit so it was probably the car's fault, but if the law is the same in WA as it is here, you may have a hard time fighting that in court.

The law is different in different places. I do not advocate sidewalk riding - I think its dangerous for myriad reasons *but* in WA state unless specifically prohibited (this is usually only in downtown business districts and on some university campuses) a bike is legally allowed on the sidewalk and is legally a pedestrian if walked or ridden in a crosswalk or on a sidewalk. The driver was clearly in the wrong in this case and it is a shame that the police officer did not take it seriously. The next time she runs a red light (which RR said she did) she may severely injure someone or worse.

RCW 46.61.755
Every person riding a bicycle upon a sidewalk or crosswalk must be granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to a pedestrian by this chapter.


RCW 46.61.235
Crosswalks.
(1) The operator of an approaching vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian or bicycle to cross the roadway within an unmarked or marked crosswalk when the pedestrian or bicycle is upon or within one lane of the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or onto which it is turning. For purposes of this section "half of the roadway" means all traffic lanes carrying traffic in one direction of travel, and includes the entire width of a one-way roadway.

Irulan
07-28-2008, 08:13 PM
There were some comments here that it is legal to ride a bike in a cross walk. In my state, Arizona, this is illegal. If you want to use the crosswalk to get across an intersection, you must dismount and walk across as if you were a walking pedestrian. The reason is that you are moving faster on a bike than a pedestrian and could zip out into the intersection quicker and not be seen by a car, or move too fast for a car to see you before it could brake.

I'm really sorry that you got hit and its sounds like you were soundly in the crosswalk before you got hit so it was probably the car's fault, but if the law is the same in WA as it is here, you may have a hard time fighting that in court.

This is why I am always a proponent of ride like a car, act like a car, be predictable, cross intersections just like you would if you were driving a car. This avoids confusion and you are predictable. It may seem to you as being less safe, but I have found that this is the safest choice in almost any situation. If you deem the intersection is too unsafe, get off and walk your bike across. That way, there will be no argument if someone does hit you as a pedestrian.

spoke

ditto - in the Effective Cyclist classes taught around here by the Bicycle Advisory Council, it's emphasized that you can be a vehicle, or a pedestrian, but not both. It's taught to not use the crosswalks unless dismounted and following the lights, as it's confusing for vehicles; they are looking for pedestrians, not bicycles. The preferred method that they teach is to use the lane like any vehicle.

I am sorry you got hit, that's a bummer for anyone.