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Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.(39 posts)

Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.MB1
Sep 13, 2002 7:37 AM
I was downtown in the usual mess on K Street. Traffic was really backed up and moving about 5-10mph. I was passing a line of stopped cars on my left when a driver I had just passed pulled out to his right into the crosswalk in an intersection and sped up to jump ahead of the lineup (probably to gain about 3-5 car lengths) and hit me with the mirror and the rear quarter panel.

Hit me medium hard but I stayed upright and on the bike. Scared me more than anything else although I am going to have a beaut of a burise on my left thigh and a very sore left hand.

Without any difficulty I caught up with him halfway through the next block and gently confronted him. He knew he hit me and wasn't any too happy I caught him but he was stuck in traffic and had to deal with me. Basically all he said was that "You were in my way." I rode away in disgust-didn't even cuss him out-must be getting old.

I just don't know what to think about the whole thing except for a renewed appreciation of how nice it is to be alive and healthy. Should I have trashed his car (nice to think about and not all that hard to do but 2 wrongs don't make a right), hit him with a pump or my u-lock (not nice to think about and still 2 wrongs) or taken some other kind of vengence? I'd call the police but what good would that do.

What would you do. The only consolation I've got is knowing that I survived another one.

Ride safe-it is the only hope we have.
re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.JS Haiku Shop
Sep 13, 2002 7:46 AM
glad to hear you're ok.

adrenaline and all, you never can be sure until later (often much later) after traumatic incidents what damage was done. in that situation, i would have at the least gotten his car make/model/description, plate #, and any information he voluntarily gave or would submit by request (name, driver's license #, insurance info).

aside from watching out for yourself and covering your A in case of problems down the road, confronting someone of that caliber (he thought you were "in the way") with the underlying promise of police, legal, or insurance action is usually a good deterrent for any future similar acts from that guy.

that said, i'd probably have put at least one size 46 dent in his car after such a blase' reaction. i can suffer fools so long as there's no physical contact. verbal is one thing, but knowingly colliding with you, b/c you were "in his way", then going on about his business--that's hit and run/failure to maintain control/leaving the scene.

the more i type and think about this, the more angry i become.

glad you're ok.
Sep 13, 2002 7:50 AM
brings back up the whole 'passing cars on the right (errr, curb side) issue from the other day....good example as to why it's illegal.

dunno what i'd do. If you really wanted to push it, you COULD charge him with hit-and-run, or leaving the scene.

With an attitude like his, youre proably better off just clipping his tire's valve-stem with a pair of cutters (any future instances) long as theres plenty of traffic to make your getaway.
That's not illegal hereKristin
Sep 13, 2002 8:56 AM
I've been told by the police that riders should pass on the right when traffic is at a stand still. Interesting...
It sure is illegal in ColoradoRickC5
Sep 13, 2002 11:49 AM
But not very heavily enforced. In this case however, it would be two wrongs, and no rights.
Passing on the right.MB1
Sep 13, 2002 9:35 AM
Well this is DC-no traffic laws are enforced or obeyed downtown. Parking tickets are about it (one of the city councilmen ran up $8000 worth of parking tickets just before the recent elections-he was re-elected without any big problem).

My passing the line of parked cars did not contriubute to the incident. He was well behind me, he saw me in the intersection in front of him (and the line of stopped cars) and he used the crosswalk to pass the cars and hit me in the process.

Retribution is probably not worth the stress it causes but nice to think about. Since he wasn't wearing a suit he wasn't a lawyer (a dead give away in DC) so there was no reason to kill him (gotcha Doug). I just shook my head and rode away and I am pretty glad I did.

BTW I was on my way to meet Miss M so she knows about it. She just gave me a hug-good deal.
Not all lawyers wear suits
Sep 13, 2002 10:51 AM
But, even if he wasn't a lawyer, you should have taken his license number and let him know that you were thinking about calling the police and/or suing him in a civil court. Even if you were not going to follow through (I think that you would have good cause to follow either course, but also doubt whether it would be worth the effort unless your bruises materialize into something more than that which you have mentioned), the threat may cause him to be more careful in the future when he sees cyclists.
Well, you WERE in his way!mr_spin
Sep 13, 2002 7:59 AM
What an idiotic thing to say. I am not prone to violence, but a statement of reckless disregard like that would probably cause me to smash his mirror and/or scratch his car. Unfortunately, with remorseless people like this, you have to provide the consequences of their actions, or they will do it again. You can't turn the other cheek on a guy like this. The police definitely won't do anything.
re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.Chainstay
Sep 13, 2002 8:04 AM
Just reading it I get angry. I think I probably I would have called the police and insisted that he be charged.
Leaving the scene of an injury accident is a felony in Texas -nmTig
Sep 13, 2002 10:19 AM
Don't dwell on it.Sintesi
Sep 13, 2002 8:21 AM
Good on you for just being grateful that you're relatively okay. I've been in several similar situations in the past and all I can say is let it go. I used to let it irritate me so much that it would wreck my day and raise my blood pressure everytime I thought about it. It wasn't right what happened to you, it wasn't fair, but it sounds like you were a little too shocked by the guys' attitude to deal with the situation in a manner you would find satisfactory (i.e.driver ticketed or him getting the riot act). That's okay.

It's great to vent but don't throw too many good feelings after this bad incident like I've done in the past, just a waste of time.
re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.rwbadley
Sep 13, 2002 8:27 AM
You were in my way! Oh jeez.

Glad you're OK MB1. You did the same as I would have done. And then the stewing begins, and all the 'boy, I shoulda' and 'Why, the dirty nerve' 'Next time I'll...'

All easy to say, but the truth is in that situation our true selves comes out. Sometimes being too nice may be a liability :-)

This guy sounds like he needs a lesson in humility. If you had thrown yourself to the ground twitching, a witness would verify, the guy would be found then let the party begin.

Tough call, glad you're allright.

I would re-evaluate my riding style...TJeanloz
Sep 13, 2002 8:34 AM
I hate to be the one to bring this up, and apparently there was a thread about this that I missed, but you were passing on the right, correct? Is this not an example of why passing on the right is dangerous, and illegal?

I know of one case in Colorado where a cyclist was hit, it was found to be the cyclists fault because he was acting illegally, and the cyclist was responsible for the damage to the car.

Think about your rationale for passing him illegally on the right: he was in your way, so you made an illegal pass. I'd consider myself lucky to be in one piece and try to learn from the incident.
I've made the argument thatscottfree
Sep 13, 2002 8:50 AM
in lines of cars at stoplights you don't pass left OR right. You take up a position in line just like another vehicle, and move forward with traffic, right smack in the center of the lane. Usually get shot down pretty good on that argument.
Right on man! Take your lane, safest place to be. (nm)Spunout
Sep 13, 2002 8:56 AM
That's what Colorado says you must do too!RickC5
Sep 13, 2002 11:53 AM
However, as I mentioned above, most riders ignore the law, and I've never heard of a policeperson enforcing the law. I still pass on the right when approaching an intersection, even though I know better.
Glad you're okayKristin
Sep 13, 2002 9:01 AM
That is seriously scary. And the guys attitude would have made me want to put a 2x4 upside his head, but I'm glad you didn't react. Not because he didn't deserve it. Some people need a good beating. However, I'm glad you didn't because who knows what he's carrying under his drivers seat, right? I'm learning to not respond so much to assholes these days because sometimes the asshole becomes a murderer. Just remember Thomas McBride in Chicago who was run over by a raged driver in an SUV.

It sucks though, doesn't it--not getting any recompense?
Sep 13, 2002 9:02 AM
First, glad you are O.K. I came close to getting hit last Saturday in a different situation.

Not sure the tactic you used is illegal. In Ca two vehicles CAN occupy one traffic lane at the same time (motorcycles splitting traffic for instance). You can not pass traffic on the right if you drive on the shoulder or off of the roadway (if there is no shoulder). The part that comes in question is speed. Rule-of-thumb (there is no law that covers this in Ca) is if you are going 15MPH faster than the flow of traffic, then you would be in violation of unsafe speed for conditions. Of course this boils down to how the judge interprets unsafe speed. Not sure on case law.

If you sustained damage or injury, then the driver would be in vioation of hit and run. But he would have to have knowledge that he hit you. Probably would be a different story if a police report was taken. For sure, since he told you he knew he clipped you, he should have stopped. I probably would have done the same thing. You were right in your approach, you handled it the right way. You get to ride today, and that's the important thing, right?
why didn't you get his lic plate? it was a hit and run! (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 13, 2002 9:03 AM
Blind SpotLen J
Sep 13, 2002 9:14 AM
Glad you're OK.

Passing on the right is dangerous because, more than likely, you spend more time in the drivers blind spot. I'd say it sounds like both of you were in the wrong.

As for leaving, He is guilty of hit & run, would have been nice to see him ticketed.

Now, about what you tell Miss M...........

"Hit and Run"TJeanloz
Sep 13, 2002 9:52 AM
There's been a lot of "hit and run" allegation, so this isn't a question just to Len, but, does anybody really believe that it's a "hit-and-run" if there wasn't an indication that there was any injury? The driver can't see the bruise that MB1 will have, and he wasn't knocked down, or otherwise obviously injured or damaged. I think there needs to be some reasonable belief that there is an injury or damage for it to qualify for "hit-and-run" status. This sounds more like "bump-and-run".

This exact scenario happened to me almost daily when I lived in Pittsburgh- I never attributed it to "road rage" or angry drivers; there just wasn't enough space on the road, and occasionally a bus would hit you with their mirror. Yes, it hurts, but let's not go overboard.
I got my shoulder broken by getting "bumped" by a mirror (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 13, 2002 1:17 PM
Vehicle CodeLen J
Sep 14, 2002 12:21 PM
In every state I have lived in (several the vehicle code specifically made it a crime to leave the scene of an accident, without the agreement of both parties. Hit & run may have been an overstatement, I will grant you, but the driver did Hit MB1 and leave. OTOH, the driver did leave the scene of an accident & as such could have been ticketed.

Isn't that Hit and Run?-JC-
Sep 13, 2002 10:00 AM
As I understand it *even if* you were at fault, he is guilty of leaving the scene of an accident (he said he knew he hit you).

The legal fees and possible penalties would cost much more than anything you could have done to his car. I think you handled the satuation well. Better than I would, I think.

Hope you are OK.

Fix the problem. . .js5280
Sep 13, 2002 10:04 AM
by taking off his mirror with a well placed blow then ride away. Just say it was in the way! :-) If you're feeling less destructive, just pop it inward (most mirrors do this without damaging it) so the jerk has to get out of the car to fix. Just make sure they can't catch up with you (e.g. ride the opposite direction on the sidewalk)

Most importantly, glad to hear you're okay. Nothing you can do now unless you have a license plate but even then there's not much you could do then file a report. What a fricking A$$HOLE. Can't let those people get to you though, try to put this behind you as fast as possible.
Glad you're OK ...tarwheel
Sep 13, 2002 10:20 AM
I hope you got his license plate number in case some unforeseen problem crops up. My inclination would have been to hold my temper at the scene but report it to the police, particularly if you had witnesses. Just based on the guy's attitude, I would have called the cops.

Are you still planning another RBR weekend "tour" in DC in October? I will really try to make it this time!
re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.MasterBlaster
Sep 13, 2002 10:22 AM
I got three words for you:

hit and run-

Did you get his license plate?

That a-hole thinks it is ok to hit a cyclist. If that guy said that to me he'd be in the hospital right now.
All issues aside, I'm glad you are OK. That's what really countsTig
Sep 13, 2002 10:33 AM
Kinda' like, "any aircraft landing you can walk away from is a good landing!" You are a true road veteran, so I think you know what to do in most any situation. A lesser skilled rider may have gone down. The main thing is you didn't have to go to the hospital, and can reflect on what happened and what to do to prevent it in the future.

I hope the soreness goes away soon. Also know that any person who goes around treating people poorly like that a-hole does will surely get what's coming to him!
Don't you know better than to get in the way of cars?DougSloan
Sep 13, 2002 10:42 AM
How dare you be in his way. Damn fool.

Did you get his license number? Could take him to small claims, but probably won't be worth your while, unless you value revenge more than money and time.

What a jerk. You'd expect him to either deny it or apologize, not say you were in his way. Can't believe it.

I'd have a key ready for the next time you see him, though.

re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.commuterguy
Sep 13, 2002 11:21 AM
Sorry to hear you got hit. I hope your bumps and bruises are just that and nothing more.

I can empathize completely with you about the strong, conflicting emotions these situations bring about. I try to be entirely verbal, not physical, in expressing my opinions/feeling to drivers (OK, I occasionally use a hand gesture). I believe a rational analysis yields a conclusion that one should always avoid getting angry; avoid communicating anger; avoid confrontations; and de-escalate any confrontations one finds oneself in. You never know if the person you yell or gesture at is armed and unstable--smashing his windshield (or even your fist on his fender) might be the last thing you do. Rationally, probably not the way any of us wants to check out. (Personal disclosure: I strive to follow this advice, but am not always successful.)

That said, I think society (or at least the society of bikers and pedestrians) has an interest in providing negative feedback to dangerous and inconsiderate drivers. If we all meekly accept potentially lethal risks posed by motorists who feel they are risking only scratches in their paint, we will probably be encouraging (or at least not discouraging enough) such antisocial behavior.

Finally, on the issue of passing on the right: I don't know what the law is in DC, but I have no doubt that the safest, most prudent and considerate cycling strategy in this city will occasionally include passing slow or stopped cars on the right. Yes, we have to be aware that the drivers can't see us or aren't looking for us. Yes, we have to make sure we don't dart out beside cars that are turning right. But none of the other alternatives are any better: inching along in stop-and-go traffic is guaranteed to get a cyclist rear-ended, side-swiped or worse.

I ride daily on K street under the Whitehurst Freeway--about seven stop signed intersections in a half mile with horrendous congestion, lots of pedestrians, and many illegal, unsignalled U-turns. Lots of cyclists just blow through the intersections, even interupting cars in mid-turn. I think that is very dangerous and bad for cyclists' collective image. But no one--especially the motorists--is better served if the large number of cyclists on this stretch take a position in the girdlock and inch along like everyone else. I think the best approach for everyone is to ride defensively, assume you're invisible, don't usurp anyone's right-of-way, and get through the mess as fast as possible.
Three issues. Were you wrong, was he wrong, was it hit andbill
Sep 13, 2002 11:25 AM
Your passing him on the right doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything. If I'm picturing this correctly, when you were hit, you were riding your bike through an intersection in a crosswalk that runs alongside the travel lanes. You were already ahead of him. You were not passing him on the right when he hit you. He should have seen you. He's wrong.
Were you wrong, too? Don't really know. Like I said, if I'm picturing this correctly, your passing on the right doesn't have anything to do with anything. The question I have is more about whether you can be in the crosswalk. I know that in Virginia it is permissible to ride your bike in the crosswalk.
Hit and run? Probably.
What should you have done? Probably what you did. I agree that, ideally, you maybe should have exchanged name, rank, and serial number, at least in part because you never know what will turn up (we're old men, anymore, you know), but I don't think that it's wrong to let it pass, either.
We are all envoys out there, children. Being right is less important than being dead. Taking the high road could cause more reflection on how lucky he was that you weren't hurt worse and hopefully will do more for the next threatened rider. Jamming it up his butt will send him gunning for the next set of spoked wheels, dontcha think? Look what Ghandi accomplished. Look what Yasir Arafat has accomplished (for others, that is).
Glad youre O.K.koala
Sep 13, 2002 12:12 PM
Probably should have gotten his plate in case you underestimated your injuries, though.
I'm sorrycarnageasada
Sep 13, 2002 12:32 PM
I've been there and it sounds like you've been there even more. Hit and runs are awful and cowardly. Losing faith in your fellow humans hurts worse than the actual pain sometimes. Glad that you survived.
Me, tooLeroy
Sep 13, 2002 2:59 PM
Those mirrors can really surprise you can't they?

About three weeks ago I was riding at a fast [for me] pace on FM 813/Butcher Road [apt name] in Ellis County, Texas. An 80ish old lady pulled around me - passing, didn't quite pull out enough, and "mirrored" me with the passenger side mirror. When I landed face down the mirror was spinning about a foot away on the road - the impact knocked it off the chrysler concorde. Thank God I wasn't hurt worse than some lumps, road rash, a cut knee, and bad bruises - one on my left haunch where the mirror hit me. I fixed the bike up that night. It was a miracle I wasn't killed. The adrenaline rush kept me from freaking too much, and frankly I wasn't even that mad at the ole bi--h. She's a f***ing menace, that's all. I'm just glad to be alive. I haven't ridden on that road since, and am more careful to use shoulders.

Reading your post just reminded me of that afternoon. Ride safe!

Dave Loving
I’m disappointed…and pissed…biknben
Sep 13, 2002 4:45 PM
A guy hit you while driving recklessly, and you let him drive off? He showed a complete disregard for you and everyone else out there. This type of driver is enemy number one. He wouldn't have batted an eye if you were dead in the gutter. And you let him drive off?

Many of us have had these types of things happen only to watch the driver speed away on an empty road. It takes a special breed of man to do something like that in traffic and then say what he said.

If I was given an opportunity like that I would have had an out of body experience. I would unleash such a furry that this guy would $hit himself behind the wheel.

I honestly wait for the day that I get hit by a car. I only hope that I survive and the person that hits me is responsible enough to stop.

In the meantime, I'm glad you're OK.
We've already had this discussion...Uncle Tim
Sep 13, 2002 4:50 PM
...and it is clear that you shouldn't pass cars on the right (or left in the UK). Not only is it dangerous, but it is bad form. Your bike is a vehicle and when traffic stops up you should take the proper lane just as the other vehicles are doing and wait your turn.

I am not going to say it is right, but the chump of a driver that hit you likely saw what you were doing and it made him mad. You want equal rights to the road surface but, from his point of view, you didn't accept the equal responsibilities of being a vehicle. You wouldn't wait your turn.

And, for the record, I have ridden in DC. I couldn't imagine going there without my bike. Yes, traffic is tough but it is manageable. Sunday is great cycling in the city.

But I would never pass on the right in DC, or anywhere else.

I am glad that you are OK. The jerk obviously broke the law by fleeing the scene and failing to give aid and comfort to an accident victim.
Here's what I'd do:Alexx
Sep 14, 2002 4:50 AM
1) inform him that you were injured, and that you are calling the police.
2) inform him that, should he leave the scene, that it is a felony to do so
3) call the cops. at the very least, they should charge him with reckless endangerment, if not vehicular assault
4) follow up with the complaint. sue him, if possible
The guy was a dumbass in general.Leisure
Sep 14, 2002 9:20 PM
He was probably thinking about the illegal lane change before he even saw you. Seeing someone else reap the benefits only made him want to charge out even more. Total dumbass - I doubt even most other drivers would see things his way. More likely those that saw it were thinking "What a fuggin idiot!", and he knows it, which is why he got defensive with you. I'm not justifying his hillbilly antics, just saying to try not to take it personally, and realize he's just a dumbass and feel glad you're okay.

I don't know what would fix this idiot's behavior; I went through a fairly threatening situation a year ago, and even though I've largely gotten over it, I still can't figure out what would have been a better way of handling it. The police sure didn't help. If anything they ended up encouraging the other guy to continue threatening people in the future. Sometimes you just do your best, try not to worry about the result, and then wash your hands of it. Looking at how your situation happened, I think I like the advice that you could have taken up more space, not leaving room for this guy to pull along side you and clip you in that fashion. I read over the thread about what side to pass on and I don't entirely think there's anything egriegous about what you were doing; the problem here, if I'm not assuming too much, is that people that are already frustrated will see you efficiently getting where you want to go and just get more worked up.

When I'm cutting around traffic that's plugged up, I go out of my way to do so slowly. It pisses these twurps off less and gives you more time to see stupidity coming. People like this guy are mentally fragile. They don't have control over their own frustration and raising the activity level around them makes them agitated. They see you moving quickly and they get riled up. But if they see you pleasantly meandering about calm as a cucumber they slow down a bit themselves. I think it's ridiculous that smart people like us end up being obligated to think ahead for the mindless masses in this fashion. It's like, "Hey, I can cover a lot more ground than you here, but I'll slow down so I don't hurt your feelings". I think it's ridiculously unfair, but the system is so far from perfect you just have to do everything you can to make things safe for yourself.

Glad you're okay, and that you didn't retaliate. I know full-well how tempting that must have been.
re: Got hit by a car today-I'm fine but conflicted.Steve98501
Sep 15, 2002 3:18 PM
First, I'm glad you're OK, other than the bruise. If you didn't get his license plate number, keying or "cleating" his door for vehicle identification seems appropriate, since he did either "hit and run" or left the scene of an accident. This contention that you cannot pass cars on the right is nonsense. In most states bicycles are required to ride in traffic as close to the right hand side of the road as practicable. Why? So cars can pass on the cyclist's left. The logical extension and application in my state is that when auto traffic slows due to congestion or at signaled intersections is that bikes then pass cars on their right side. Your action would be legal and proper in my state, and the action of the guy who hit you was wrong. He entered space occupied by another vehicle - you and your bike. Again, glad it wasn't any worse. Stay healthy.