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Knocked down a roller blader.(35 posts)

Knocked down a roller blader.bill
Jul 16, 2001 6:53 AM
She was coming toward me on a multi-use trail. As I turned the corner, I saw her in time to do something about it, but she was right in the middle of the path (skating two abreast with her friend) and she was heading farther into my lane. So, I slowed and tried to split the difference between the two of them (I saw daylight there; in thinking about her movements and revisiting the spot on the path, I think that if there was enough space between her and her friend for me to see a space, she had to be well over the middle). Might have been the wrong thing to do, but in the instant I had to make the decision I couldn't see going the same way she was going.
Well, I hit her. I had slowed to between 5-10 mph, I figure, and, at the last second I veered right, so that I sort of ended up toppling over her, embracing her almost. She broke her sunglasses and was mightily ticked.
She was okay (I think; today she'll probably wake up with a neck brace and an appointment with a lawyer), with a little scratch on the side of her face. I'm fine; my stem was a little twisted around, but that's about it.
She accused me, blah blah blah. She wanted me to pay for her sunglasses (which I did not agree to do), but never actually asked me my name. I finally offered my name and number to her. We'll see.
Then, farther along in my ride, I ran over some glass and flatted. Maybe her magic is strong enough so that, if she calls, I'll pay for the damn glasses.
I probably wasn't being defensive enough for my own protection, but it was 7:15 on a Sunday a.m. The casual users don't usually come out until later.
Need a lawyer?Dog
Jul 16, 2001 7:00 AM
Just kidding.

Roller bladers seem to be the worst on the "multi-use" trails. The way they cover the intire path is inherent in the activity, with legs flailing from side to side; bad enough with one of them, but 2 abreast means there is no where to go. It's even worse when you approach them from behind and they're wearing headphones blasting away, and you're yelling at the top of your lungs for them to allow you to get by.

Doesn't seem that you did anything wrong.

Another "us vs. them" category, I suppose. However, I think the biggest "us vs. them" in the entire planet is "considerate, follow the rules" people vs. "inconsiderate, I'll do whatever I want" people. The two don't mix well.

gawd I hope not.bill
Jul 16, 2001 7:50 AM
And I very carefully did not reveal my vocation. Gave her my work number though; if she calls, she'll figure it out soon enough.
My favorite things people said:
"It's your responsibility! I'm from Pennsylvania, and it's always the driver's responsibility" said by the friend. Ignoring the absurdity of the Pennsylvania driving reference on a VA bike path and that her friend, in fact, had many more wheels than I did, I said, "So, if someone walks in front of my car while I'm (legally) doing 60 mph, it's my fault?" Silence, then, "Yeah!"
"I suppose you want me to eat the glasses?" said by the combatant. To which I resisted saying, "Yeah, that would be great. I'll hang around for that."
"I'll bet you're one of those bikers that rides down the middle of the road, too!" said by the combatant.
"You're just a mean person!" said by the combatant. I wasn't mean at all; I apologized for the incident (but not for my fault, thank you very much).
And, finally,
"It's all about speed with you! You're just one of them! You're just like the rest of them!" Sputtered by my loving wife after I told her.
get ready...buzzz
Jul 16, 2001 8:03 AM
to pay. Or maybe your insurance will cover it? kinda reminds me of the door thread, except the biker is now on the other side of the fence
and you can just bet one of the charges will be...ET
Jul 16, 2001 8:10 AM
attempted rape :-)
shame on you ET...chickie
Jul 16, 2001 9:20 AM
To make fun of such an issue is grossly insensitive.
maybe, but I'm half-seriousET
Jul 16, 2001 9:28 AM
Sorry for the other half.
"Us vs. them"Teach
Jul 16, 2001 8:42 AM
You summed it up well. It's not the folks choosing one activity or another, but the ones who just don't think of other folks. I've been roller-blading lately both at home and Houston and visiting in California on multi-use trails. I'm always aware of other users whether on foot, blades, or bikes.
re: "inconsiderate"ET
Jul 16, 2001 9:21 AM
As I've said before in earlier post, I don't think being inconsiderate is the primary cause of most accidents. Rather it's unawareness. Whether having unawareness is inconsiderate, well, maybe, but it is not easy for one to develop appropriate awareness of cyclists. I think what's going on is that it just doesn't register on the brain that a cyclist is out there, even if they subconsciously see you. Yesterday someone at my work, a competitive cyclist and one I've ridden with, plowed into a car at high speed (well, around 20 mph) heading downhill on a road after the car turned left onto her road without yielding. She ended up unclicking from her Looks with one foot, left major dents on the side and on top of the vehicle, although didn't go over, probably due to the weight of the bike still attached to her other foot, came back down and ended up standing on her unclicked foot, her other foot still clicked in. Fortunately she is relatively unscathed, with some relatively minor brusing to body and bike. The cyclist claims the lady in the car, who really was a nice person and didn't mean any harm (she was at least orignally a foreigner and had trouble with English, but I don't know if that had anything to do with it), stopped at the stop sign and definitely saw her and yet still went out, as if the cyclist wasn't there. It's as if we cyclists register visibly, but we can't possibly affect traffic since we're not a car or a truck. I don't think inconsiderate is the right word for those who just lack awareness (but it is for those who shout slurs when they have to slow down and lose 1.8 seconds on their commute; maybe that has to do with unawareness too, i.e. that we have a right to be on the road as well).

Concerning the bike path, not that it's Bill's fault, but I agree with another poster to avoid those paths. Even if they're called "bike paths", they've been taken over by all that other crowd, and even if the rollerblader was indeed inconsiderate, you just can't expect them to stay on one side of a narrow path, or not to wear headphones even though they end up oblivious to fast-moving cyclists. If those are the conditions, I would just stay away. You're not going to change the world. Let's face it: even if everyone obeys the rules, I don't want to be whizzing at 20 mph past or towards these people with only inches of clearance. For s serious ride, better to do it elsewhere.
I agree w/Dougcoonass
Jul 16, 2001 3:56 PM
99% of the 'bladers' that I encounter all have headphones on....even though the trail-path is occupied by other bladers, walkers, joggers and bikers..I always caution loudly "Biker back" and also because I don't want to startle them...but when I see the morons coming towards me at two abreast, I (sarcastically) yell out "Biker UP!!" far, the people that I generally see have common sense...NO ONE is KING of the Trail, or has right-of-way priviledges....we all share the trails with common sense and courteousy...I'd say that the "Princess" was in the wrong (who is to say that she didn't 'skate' INTO your 'opening' pathway????)she probably uses her car cel-phone while driving too.
The important question is: Are you okay?Kristin
Jul 16, 2001 7:11 AM
And I'm glad you are fine. I feel your pain! This kind of event (minus the collision) seems to be a regular part of my ride at the local path. I'm beginning to understand how squirrels feel when chosing which direction to run. And why do people clearly in the wrong find it so easy to blame others and cause a scene?
The important question is: Are you okay?bill
Jul 16, 2001 7:56 AM
regrettably, Kristin, at this point (after ascertaining, as you say, that neither of us was hurt, certainly not hurt badly), the important question is: Will I get sued?
But thank you.
I usually am much more defensive on these trails. You've got to expect some boneheadedness; agility and then sprinting back up to speed is part of the experience. But not early a.m.
Multi use paths have lanes around herepeloton
Jul 16, 2001 4:21 PM
You just stay to the lane on the right side, just like the road. If she and her friends were blocking the whole path, including your lane then I would say that it is you that is owed the apology.

Were the skaters in your lane? If they were, and she gets confrontational with you, you should point it out that she is the one who caused you to crash by being in your lane and that you are considering action yourself. That should make her think.

Hope it works out.
easy answer to blame questionkenyee
Jul 16, 2001 8:08 AM
In answer to your last question: because people have been taught to believe that they themselves are never must be someone/something else's fault.

You weren't being a bonehead by blocking traffic around a curve and being in the wrong lane. The other person should have gone slower.

You weren't wrong for smoking crap w/ a giant warning label that says you will get lung cancer. The companies shouldn't make stuff legal drugs that do bad stuff to you.

You weren't wrong for finding a gun in the street and shooting your friend with it. The gun made you do it.

You weren't wrong for using your cell phone in your SUV and crashing into someone. The assault SUV should be blamed for killing that person.

You weren't wrong for throwing a rock in that store window. Your violent environment you were raised in made you do that.

You weren't wrong for lying about having an affair. The media is at fault for catching you.

1/2 :-)
re: Knocked down a roller blader.TommyBoy
Jul 16, 2001 7:59 AM
I am normally the one in your position - the rider having problems with other less considerate path users. But I was once the one on the rollerblades (still the one paying attention because I like my teeth the way they are) when a biker came barreling down the Chicago lakeshore with head down. Boom!!! I actually won the confrontation, oddly enough. I could barely walk for a couple days because of the bruise on my hip, but I stayed on my feet and his bike was way messed up and on top of him. As long as you were paying attention, and making an effort to avoid contact, you were in the right.

My humble opinion!
This is precisely why...4bykn
Jul 16, 2001 8:22 AM
I avoid the trail (and we really do have a nice one) like the plague. I guess I'm fortunate to be about 1/2 mile from rural roads. Roller bladers, people with 20 ft dog leashes, kids who just learned to ride, etc. I don't feel safe at speeds over about 7 mph. I don't begrudge these people their use of the trail, just the reason I don't use it.
Right on! It's why I avoid the trail after 8 a.m. (nm)Brian C.
Jul 16, 2001 8:59 AM
Unfortunatly, multi-use paths are not for bikers.........Len J
Jul 16, 2001 8:42 AM
There just isn't enough room for runners, walkers, rollerbladers and two directions. I'm glad you are OK, If I were you I would write down all of my recollections while they are still fresh in your mind. You should know within the week if you have a problem.

Sounds to me like you couldn't have doneanything else except stop cold.
My Evil side says:9WorCP
Jul 16, 2001 8:51 AM
"Glad you wrecked her day." I have an irrational prejudice against roller-bladers. I find them to be inconsiderate road hogs in general. I've seen two roller-blade/bike accidents and it was always the roller blade who suddenly turned w/out looking or warning that caused them. Thank you for clearing the roads.

My rational, nice-side is glad no one was hurt and ardently hopes that her glasses were only worth $5 and you do not get sued (or even called.) While it sounds like it was her fault and that she was initially on the wrong side causing you to take a bad line between the two, I'm wondering what her friend thinks since that would make it two testimonies against one.

Best of luck Bill, I empathize.

P.S. Doesn't it suck that one can rarely ride his/her bicycle on the "bike" paths these days? I say: Bikes on the bike path, walkers on the sidewalk, and roller-bladers on the inter-state.

(Joke okay?)
Blading is becoming a sport...Kristin
Jul 17, 2001 6:10 AM
Okay, I hear your rant and agree in part. But blading is slowly becoming a sport that's much like cycling. I don't enjoy sharing the path with many recreational bladers, but pay homage to the racer.

I had the pleasure of meeting two bladers from a local team recently. I thought for sure they were cyclists. One was garbed in a team jersey and the other, ready to don a skin suit. (I love how the men in this sport unabashedly change costumes in crowded parking lots! Its inspiring really.) Anywho...I discovered they race in the area. And these guys are definitely athletes. They often blade for a few hours before riding out with us on Tuesday night--and they don't take it easy either. Pit me on my bike against them on thier skates. Any guess who'd win?
similar experienceDuane Gran
Jul 16, 2001 9:11 AM
I had a collision with a roller blader because she turned left without looking. I was fine, however she was scraped up quite a bit and dizzy from the whole experience. Fortunately she was sensible and didn't accuse me of wrong doing on top of it all. I always carry a small first aid kit (Brave Soldier makes a nice portable package) for these occassions. Being able to be helpful in these situations, regardless of the fault, goes a long way toward avoiding a lawsuit.
You were at fault, plain and simple.d_alex
Jul 16, 2001 9:50 AM
The key term here is "multi-use path". She was doing an approved activity there, and so were you. It was YOUR responsibility to drive defensively, which you did not. Charging blindly around corners on a trail where roller bladers, hopscotchers, wheelchairs, and granny's walking group all use the facilities is utterly reckless. It's inconsiderate riding on inappropriate locations like that which gives all road bikers a bad name. I hope she sues your pants off. And files reckless driving charges, too!
Jul 16, 2001 10:10 AM
hoW do ya like them apples?!
you ARE brain dead, and here's why.........d_alex
Jul 17, 2001 5:11 AM
What this whole thing boils down to is this:
A roller blader, even though they are on wheels, is a PEDESTRIAN.
A cyclist, even though he does not have a motor, is a VEHICLE.
A pedestrian ALWAYS has right-of-way over a vehicle. If it comes to court, any decent prosecutor would remind the jury that, as the operator of a vehicle, the cyclist is responsible for the well being of pedestrians he encounters. In this case, he failed in this responsibility. He also LEFT THE SCENE OF AN INJURIOUS ACCIDENT! In my state (New York), this is a FELONY, which carries the sentence of 3 1/2 to 7 YEARS in prison. A good efence attorney MIGHT be able to argue mitigating factors (blader on the wrong side, etc.), but his callous diregard for the basic responsibility of safely riding his cycle, as well as his failure to remain at the scene, or at least to exchange information will all look bad to a jury, and especially to a judge. I can see an accident like this resulting in (realistically) a $250,000 judgement, 1 year in jail, and 5 years felony probation (if he is offered a plea bargain). It could result in even more dire consequences, depending on previous police contact, and on accurate un-involved witness testimony. I know that this is not a popular position, but any decent attorney will confirm it for you.
For the offending cyclist, if you wish to NOT be caught for this trangression, you should never use that trail again, you should destroy anything that you were wearing, you should repaint your bike, and you shouldn't talk about it to anybody. Next time, remember, if there are injuries, you MUST exchange information, or wait until the police arrive.
Let me guess. You're not a lawyer. nmbill
Jul 17, 2001 7:04 AM
not quite rightDog
Jul 17, 2001 3:51 PM
"A pedestrian ALWAYS has right-of-way over a vehicle." This isn't true, although the saying seems to have acquired a mythic status.

Think about it. Can I, as a pedestrian, dart into a busy interstate highway and be without fault if a car hits me? I have the right of way, right? It's not the law, and doesn't make sense, either.

Everyone is charged with a duty to be careful. That's basically the law. It's very rare that violation of rule will absolutely create liabilty, but maybe a presumption of liability.

Besides, it may very well not be the law in the state in question that road rules even apply to multi-use paths. Even assuming there was a law that stated that pedestrians have the right of way (usually only at intersections), that may have no application.

After reading your post again, and thinking about responding to your other points, I realize that you just can't be serious. If you were, please let us know.

Her Fault...Kristin
Jul 16, 2001 10:13 AM
(Yesterday morning, I took a drive. I like driving on Sunday morning because the roads are quite and I can be less defensive. I rounded a familiar bend and immediatly faced two cars traveling towards me, side by side, on a one lane road with a solid line. There was more of a gap between the cars than on edge and I had very little time to react. I decided to aim between the two cars. Suddenly the car in my lane swerved back and directly into me.)

Obviously, this is fictional. There is a reason multi-use trails have a SOLID yellow line down the center. It is not to be crossed--i.e. no passing zones. Technically, she was on the wrong side and therefore, at fault.

Learned from my high school driving instructor: When approaching somone in your lane traveling in the wrong direction. Always swerve to your side of the road. Often the other person will make a last second correction, and move back towards their lane. This translates to excercise paths too. But does not, however, apply to small children. They are completly unpredictable.
Umm, what about her responsibility to blade defensively?bill
Jul 16, 2001 10:20 AM
Is it not inconsiderate or not defensive or whatever to block the path? She was moving, and on wheels, too. Doesn't "multi-use" include bikes, for heavens sakes?
You know, she asked me, "what if I had been a mother with a stroller?" The truth is, I could have dealt with a mother with a stroller, as I have many many times before. I would have veered to the right and missed her or stopped, because I would have known that the mother with a stroller is going to stay approximately where she was. The problem with the blader was not that I didn't have time to react; the problem was that the blader's position and movement didn't give me enough clue as to how to react. If a mother with a stroller had been blocking the path as this woman was, I'm still not sure that I would have been at fault had I hit her, but I wouldn't have hit her.
She was not looking after herself. If she had been on her side of the path, if she had not been turned to go farther into my lane, if she had committed to doing almost anything at all, it would not have happened.
Just because I was moving faster, that changes it all for you? I don't understand.
Let's face it ...Brian C.
Jul 16, 2001 11:14 AM
Those multi-use paths are meant for leisurely strolls on your Specialized Crossroads. Getting your Pinarello up to speed would be akin to Michael Andretti driving his Honda-Reynard on the streets of Toronto on Monday morning.
It's a shame, really, because the asphalt on the path is so smooth and clean - it just cries out for speed. (It's why I go at dawn: Just a couple of joggers and that Asian gentleman who always waves like he's having the best day of his life.)
That said, rollerbladers are a big problem. The worst are the newbie rollerbladers - those who snowshoe down the path and have that peculiar way of stopping by planting one leg and turning in a circle, arms flailing.
It's hard to say who pedestrians loath the most - the hard-charging cyclist or the carefree, all-over-the-path rollerblader.
5 Points!1 grzy mnky
Jul 16, 2001 10:13 AM
Hey, sounds like she had 50% of the responsibility - being two abreast and all that.

In my experience bike paved urban paths are not the place to ride a bike other than a casual thing. Too much going on, not enough room for error and not everyone is playing by the same rules. Plus you can just get going too fast to deal with some of the situations that develop. Say what you want about cars, but they are a bit more predicatable than the full range of path users.

Maybe you can get her number and something positive will develop?
re: Knocked down a roller blader.cracker1972
Jul 16, 2001 2:14 PM
Tell the judge that she had a hockey stick in her hand. Push her while she's down next time.
any real woman in this board...would come out andspeedmaestro
Jul 16, 2001 9:24 PM
would tell you she was a wuss...unless you were stupid.

But if you did everything you said you did... honestly...the "girls" will support you too...get a to Doug.
cyclist at faultjack s
Jul 17, 2001 5:51 AM
plain and simple... get ready to pay
Jul 17, 2001 9:35 PM
First, I'm glad that you are OK.

I'm a little rusty on traffic matters but being an old retired traffic cop this is my conclusion.

Bicylists are subject to most of the rules of the road that apply to motor vehicles. Since a bicycle path is not a dedicated portion of public roadway the vehicle code would not apply (in Ca anyway).

In my experience in investigating accidents of this type, even if the accident occurred off of a public highway, the guideline would be the vehicle code.

I'd say, if you would have attempted to move as far to the right as possible to avoid her, unstead of "splitting traffic" and a collision would have occurred, you probably would be in the clear, as in Ca, a bicyclist is required to ride as far to the right as possible.

Then again, she had the obligation to skate using caution and she should have been aware of the bicycle traffic on the path. In other words she was skating with her head up her a**.

Believe it or not, traffic laws are based on common sense. If anything would become of this (and I doubt it) this is what a jury would look at. Realistically it would probably get thrown out of court.

The gentlemenly thing to do would be to offer to buy her some new sunglasses, do not admit fault, and apologize for the occurance. Chalk it up as experience.

Bicyle paths are dangerous places due to multiple use's. Lots of foot traffic, roller skaters, joggers, runners, and skaters. Not a good place to ride full bore on a bike.

I don't have excess to a trail, but one of my concerns is coming around a blind curve on some country road and taking out a runner, running on the wrong side of the road. And since a runner is a pedestrian and there are no sidewalks available, that is where he/she should run (hope this isn't deja vu).

Hopefully nothing will become of this. Going on what you told us, I'd find you both at fault. Yeah I know life stinks, it ain't fair, but mother told us there would be days like this. In the scope of life in the big city, this probably would never raise an eyebrow or cause a pencil to get lifted. Anyway Cops are too busy frequenting donut shops and trying to find ways to avoid paper work, been there done that, God I miss those free donuts, old fashion glazed, I can taste one now....

Ride Safe
Cops and paperworkpeloton
Jul 18, 2001 9:48 AM
I had about $200 worth of stuff stolen from my car a couple of months ago. The insurance company wanted a police report to process the cost of the stolen goods. When I went to the police station I was told by one of my city's finest that it isn't their policy to be worried about 'stuff like that'. I told the officer that I didn't expect anything to be recovered, or even for them to try, I just needed the report to give to my insurance company. After numerous discussions and phone calls between one cop, he finally agreed to fill out a report. In the amount of time we spent discussing the situation, he could have filled the report out three times. I guess theft is condoned around here in order to get out of paperwork. I couldn't believe how lazy this cop was about it. :(