Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hit by a Car!

I was once told that there are two types of Cyclists. The one's that have been hit by a car and the ones that will.
Face it, out of all the many road hazards, Cars are "Number One." Its gotten to the point with the increased number of drivers and there use of Cell Phones and Texting, Cyclists really take a chance while riding on the street.
Having to use a bicycle all the time, I have found that the more the visual spectacle you create, the better off you will be. I ride as if the driver doesn't see me at all and predictable at the same time. Bright colors and bright lights for night riding is a good start. It has never been easier to light you and your bicycle then it is now.The advancement of bicycle lighting and bicycle reflectors has been huge over the past 20 years and seems as if there is another new idea every week.
When you are hit, it really helps to have been in the right. Following the rules of the road and the laws set for cyclists, you will get far more respect from the Officer reporting to the accident. I only know this from being in the right each time.
Being a "Helmeted Cyclist" helps your head as well as the case. A Cyclist wearing a helmet shows that you are a responsible rider and when the report goes in to the station, it is reported first if you are wearing a helmet and second if you have a light.
If your in the right, you will also have witnesses. People for the most part are good, and when they see wrong done to someone in the right, they stick around to speak their mind to the reporting officer and the EMT's on site.
The last time I was hit, I was hit by an off duty Police Officer on his Cell Phone. How about that?
I had been waiting to cross Route 20 in Marlbro to head over to the Wayside Inn. I was at the stop line wearing bright Yellow and Orange on a bright Orange Recumbent Bicycle. In plain sight and out in the open. When the light changed, I clipped in and into my second pedal stroke, had the driver who had been sitting across the street at the stop line full speed turn in front of me and hit me broad side.
I was thrown through the air, turned upside down and landed on my back with the bicycle on top of me.
I was so much in view of everybody except the guy on the phone behind the wheel that hit me, that everybody got out of their cars to report. There were 8 witness's walking around waiting to make sure I was OK, I got 3 business cards given to me from folks wanted to be contacted if I needed help.
I went through the many number of tests with the EMT's to be sure in there mind that I would be OK to continue riding home.
I passed with flying colors and after a little straighting out of the bike continued to ride to work.
The insurance claim against the driver is a totally different story. When ever you talk to people that have not been hit and gone through the aftermath, They think that you will be making a lot of money. Bicycle cases don't go to Cort. I was told by a lawyer once "There's good news and there's bad news. The Good news is you haven't been injured for life and the bad news unless you are injured for life, you wont be awarded much." The amount of your settlement is what you lost for personal belongs, Bike, Clothing and the amount of time you lost at work. The amount of medical charges will depend on what you will receive for a "Pain and Suffering" settlement.
Pain and suffering is adjusted to the amount of actual hospital time, hours in physical therapy and the amount of drugs you had to purchase. For someone that doesn't like spending time in the Hospital and taking drugs, the "Pain and Suffering" will not look like much and as a result the settlement will be small.
If you were walking when you were hit things would be different but as a cyclist you will have to wait for about a year and a half before you see any coverage for the bills accrued. The Property Damage Settlement gets taken care of sooner if you let your insurance adjuster know that you will be renting a bicycle to replace your bicycle or the repairs to fix your old one.
Every situation is different. Sometimes you get out without a scratch and other times you will need to be taken off to the hospital.
I have a friend who was riding home late one night in San Francisco. Going through a green light he looked up at the last second to see a speeding automobile running the cross street's red light and going to hit him. He jumped up and cleared the car. The bicycle was totally ruined but he did not get a scratch. The car was going 35 miles per hour when the Police figured the speed for the accident report.
Expect the worst and hope for the best. Probably the best rule to follow in all cases.
Be seen and not sorry. It blows my mind when people are cheep to themselves when it comes to buying safety gear. Create a light show and you wont be sorry. There are of course safer times to ride on the street that others, but with a little precaution, we just might survive. Maybe.


  1. How about a hit and run? I was hit by a guy, in broad daylight. He was pulling out of a strip mall in Arlington onto Mass. Ave. and at least not going fast. I landed on his windshield, which split my chin open and messed up the bike a bit. The guy got out of his car and handed me a wad of napkins from Dunkin' Donuts to sop up the blood. He said to me, "You need a band aid" and quickly took off. I was dazed but happy to be conscious and in one piece. So I never got his license plate, and he didn't even stick around to see if I was OK. I needed a bunch of stitches. Then I found out about the accident being covered by auto insurance, not my medical insurance. The whole thing was a nuisance. It was very upsetting to go splat on a windshield and the guy just takes off. No witnesses either.

  2. I have found the longer you lay on the pavement, the more witness's you will have. People want to stick around to see the bad news and want to talk about it later.

    Im sure I know the spot. I was almost hit on Mass Ave one night with a huge light and when I looked into the drivers face, He told me to get a light.

    Thanks for commenting and reading the blog.
    Im very sorry to hear about your misfortune


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