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Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    24

    My first Encounter with a Car

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    It seems like in the very short time I've been reading and posting here that I've become more aware of how frequently people attempt to beat up on cars and vice versa. Every time I get on the bike to commute, somewhere in my mind I think- gee, I hope this isn't the day, I hope I will know what to do if it is. And then I just get on with the ride; there's no sense in being afraid.
    When I began my commute on Wednesday morning, it was one of those days when I thought, god I love my bike! I don't care how long it takes me to get to work today, I don't care about anything but the ride--right now. It was fantastic. All day I was elated.
    Coming home that afternoon, an older woman pulled into her private road without looking, without a signal, without seeing me. I tried to brake, but at 18.2 mph, there wasn't much I could do to avoid crashing. Instinctively, I swerved left, lost the back wheel in a skid, had time to realize that I was going to hit and relaxed and rolled off the back of her trunk, while she kept driving.
    She stopped and got out and found me on the road. She wasn't really upset. She said, what happened? You were there, on the sidewalk. No- I said- I was in the bike lane. No, no, you were stopped! Something was wrong with your bike! I saw! (What she saw was probably the witness who was jogging on the sidewalk.)
    She changed her mind about my position on the road 4 or 5 times in the next sentence while I tried to understand if I was alright.
    I am alright- aside from achy muscles and contusions on my chin, forearm and hip. My bike is fixable, a little over 100 dollars to replace the rear derailleur and derailluer hanger which is bent into the spokes.
    What I can't understand is how the woman firmly believes that I was "riding too fast" and that I'm at fault since I hit her and since there's nothing wrong with her car.
    We filed a police report and the witness confirmed that the woman cut me off and I couldn't stop in time. I'm not worried about taking this to court since monetarily it's almost nothing and I'm not seriously injured (three doctors have checked me out.)
    I'm worried because, most likely, this woman should not have been on the road, that even though she's a nice person she couldn't admit that had she been paying attention this could have been avoided. I'm worried because she didn't understand where I was supposed to be, in relation to her, on the road.
    I'm on a crusade to tell everyone I know how lucky I am and how thankful I am to be alive and barley scratched; that in order to drive or ride on the road you need to be aware of your rights and the rights of those drivers, cyclists and pedestrians around you.
    As a favor to a fellow cyclist, please let someone know about the vehicle codes in your state that pertain to cyclists and vehicle interactions. Post them at work, mention it anywhere.
    I know you all understand where I'm coming from. We deserve the same- or more- respect from drivers that other drivers receive.
    Thanks for listening.

    Casey Larimore
    aka admiral finch.
    So many ways to suffer on a bike, so little time...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,367
    E. Bay? Let me guess, a "Rossmoron" as my hubby used to say....


    irulan
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
    Pro Mongoose Titanium Singlespeed
    2012 Trek Madone 4.6 Compact SRAM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Sunny California
    Posts
    1,107
    Casey:

    Very scary! I'm glad you're ok. I’m not surprised that she wouldn’t admit that she was wrong. You’re lucky to have a witness on your side. The driver (or her insurance) should pay for damages to your bike, your medical bills and any time off of work. It doesn’t sound like there was anything you could have done to avoid this accident. When I ride, I always assume that drivers don’t see me (because often they don’t). But in this case, she just turned into your path without warning, so you really couldn’t have anticipated this move.

    I got hit last week by a young girl who made a right turn from the left lane (with her left blinker on!!) She turned right and blamo there I was. She was on her cell phone! !! She never even got off the phone when she got out of the car. I heard her say, “right now I just hit someone”. I wasn’t hurt. I got up, yelled a few choice words and rode away. She shrugged her shoulders and got back in her car.

    It can be dangerous out there! Everyone be careful! When it’s car versus bike, the bike rarely wins!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,050
    AG, amazing, you got hit and you're not hurt? bike's ok? You're ok?

    what a maroon that driver was, how inconsiderate to keep chatting. If that'd happened to me and I was still ok I'd have put the phone where there's no network ;-)
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Sunny California
    Posts
    1,107
    Originally posted by Trek420
    AG, amazing, you got hit and you're not hurt? bike's ok? You're ok?

    what a maroon that driver was, how inconsiderate to keep chatting. If that'd happened to me and I was still ok I'd have put the phone where there's no network ;-)
    Very, very low speed. Basically she just tapped me and I tipped over. I kicked her car as I went down. I think that's the only reason she knew she hit me! Luckily I wasn't on my road bike. It was my "commuter" bike on my way home from the gym. Cell phone drivers

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    24
    So... I picked up the police report today.
    Not only are the words I spoke to the officer changed, so are the witness'. Instead of using the phrase- I was riding along and was cut off, tried to brake and couldn't stop in time- I am now reported as saying I suddenly rode in to the rear of the car.

    The witness, who said the driver cut me off and that I couldn't stop in time instead is quoted as saying that i rode into the rear of the vehicle.

    According to the San Leandro Police Department I'm at fault because I was travelling at an unsafe speed.
    --You know, all I have to say is, Boy howdy I must be fast.
    I am in violation of CVC 22350- Speed Unsafe for Conditions.
    The conditions were: clear. dry. daylight. no unusual conditions. free of traffic controls.

    Can anyone tell me how me riding in the bike lane at a speed less than the flow of traffic without a stop sign, stop light or yield sign present can be considered unsafe?
    So many ways to suffer on a bike, so little time...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    1,565
    Admiral... please contact the Leage of American Bicyclists, web:
    http://www.bikeleague.org/index.cfm . They have lawyers.

    Tell them your story, send the the police report... fight grrl!

    Until some of this stuff hits the main stream, nothing will change. Local police need to uphold the law... for everyone. Send your story to the local paper; include the local law in the story (check out your state DMV/RMV.

    I am fortunate, in an odd way, to have a "brother-in-law" that lives with my partner and I... he is a policeman. He is a policeman that served on the bike patrol for a while. He learned, firsthand, the lack of respect cyclists receive. I know I can tell him if something happens out on the road and he will support and help resolve the problem.

    Good luck!
    no regrets!

    My ride: 2003 Specialized Allez Comp - zebra (men's 52cm), Speedplay X5 pedals, Koobi Au Enduro saddle

    Spazzdog Ink Gallery
    http://www.printroom.com/pro/gratcliff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,050

    Angry whoa doggies you're fast!!

    Admiral

    also contact http://ebbc.org/

    East Bay Bike Coaliton

    fight!!
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    24
    I thougth I'd revive this old thread from the summer and give you an update:
    I'm a writer, so I figured, I'd write letters to everyone possible to try to get something done about the treatment I'd received from the police...
    So I wrote EBBC and met with Robert Raeburn, their head honcho.
    I got some wonderful tips about how to approach this and decided that getting the 80 year old woman to pay $50.00 for my derailleur (wholesale) was not worth my time but that getting the mayor of San Leandro to notice the fact that her police didn't know how to cite the correct CVC codes for bike v car was.
    So I wrote to her. And the counselmembers, the city planner, the chief of police and the traffic sgt.
    I got a response. I was able to tell the police deptartment exactly how I felt about the whole thing--that the officer helping me was not actually doing anything to make the road safer for bikes. He told me that all of his officers had had extensive training in how to handle "these types of things." I told him that since bikes make up 10% of the traffic on the road in the East Bay (stat from EBBC, though it still seems large), that at least 10% of ALL traffic officers' training needed to focus on bikes.
    He agreed. (he agreed!) And I got that agreement in writing. The San Leandro police department is going to check into getting their officers trained in bicycle traffic through East Bay Bike Coalition.
    Now, this is something that I have to follow up on with another letter to the dept. and the mayor, but for the time being, I am STOKED!
    I just thought I'd share.

    admiral finch. Making the Roads a Safer Place for Bikes, One Letter at a Time.

    grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    9,050
    Admiral, I hearby promote you to...there's nothing above Admiral, maybe comander-in-chief?

    This should go to the "patting ourselves on the back" section, thank you thank you from another East Bay Rider
    Fancy Schmancy Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on side of the road bike ~ Motobecane Mixte
    Gravel bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Favorite bike ~ Soma Buena Vista mixte
    N+1 bike ~ Brompton
    https://www.instagram.com/pugsley_adventuredog/

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
    Posts
    4,870

    Empress Finch

    Good job!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    120
    I am shocked and pleased that you were able to actually change the way policy is implemented. Awesome!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    East Bay, CA
    Posts
    24
    Empress Finch! YESSSSSSSSSS.

    Yah, I think I may have made more of an impact on the Sgt. I spoke with because I wasn't after money. All I wanted was an apology and a written promise to fix something. I came to them with a suggestion for a solution and I just hope they do it!

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

    Admiral Empress
    Finch.

 

 

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