Hit by a car

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010
By Yokota Fritz


I need to remember that not everybody who regularly follows this blog also follows me on Facebook, Flickr or Twitter. If you haven't already heard, I was hit by a car a couple of Fridays ago. It hurt and put a nice gash in my upper lip. Here I am still smiling before the pain sets in.

Post Crash Panda


Since somebody's going to ask: The bike is mostly fine, and in fact I rode the same bike the following morning with the Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz for their Saturday ride at Wilder Ranch the very next morning. The black stitches in my swollen face adds cred to my mad shredder mountain biker look, I'm sure, though I had to quit the ride early because, honestly, getting hit by a car really takes it out of a guy, especially at my age.

I was well lit with multiple bright lights (steady and blinking), but I was invisible to Bridgett in her little black Nissan. She turned into me in a class left cross collision. She called me four or five times Friday night telling me how awful she felt, but confessed to me, "I didn't see you at all!" I saw her just fine, especially as she swerved toward me and all I saw were her headlights, and then stars and whistling birds.

This is my second left cross. The first happened when I was a teen, and the driver didn't see me. I went up and over the hood, slammed the windshield, then rolled off and landed on my feet. The bike was crushed under the car.

My second collision with a car occurred when the driver blew through a stop sign in Wichita Falls, Texas and sideswiped me -- the driver didn't see me and didn't even realize she hit me until I got up, chased her down and caught her at her destination down the street. The responding police officer declined to even take a report and he let me know I was wasting his time. Grrr...

The common factor in those collisions, if you haven't noticed it yet, is "I didn't see you!" Actually, in each of those cases the driver was maneuvering too quickly for conditions and not paying while turning, but you get the point. Cycling lawyer Rick Bernardi discusses this common excuse when cyclists are hit.

How about you? Have you been hit by a car? And did the driver say, "I didn't see you"?

(Don't forget: California Highway Patrol bike incidents here.)


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Comments:
They had a campaign in the UK.. SMIDSY

Sorry Mate I Didn't See You

trying to highlight how that isn't an excuse. Think they dressed up a Lion or elephant or something to be like "what does it take to see me?!". Yet this as always seems so unimportant to the police which I find weird.
 
LOL p.s. sorry to hear about the crash! That probably should of been my first comment lol!
 
Man, I'm glad you're alright and in high spirits. What happens with the driver in a case like this?

I've yet to be hit. I've accepted that it will probably happen one day, I just hope it's not too bad.
 
I haven't had a left hook crash on my bike before but I have had one on my motorcycle (a rather huge 1000cc fully faired motorcycle at that). It wasn't because the other guy didn't see me, he was in a hurry to get to Radio Shack before they closed. After I slammed into him and launched myself over his car, he actually tried to go and finish his errand at Radio Shack. I nearly beat the you know what out of him but the police arrived in time to detain him. And, of course, no license, no insurance and no English.

Glad you're healing up! And that you've got that crazy pic!
 
sorry to hear about the hit. glad to hear you walked away ok.

i have not been hit on the bicycle yet, but i got the same excuse from a 20yr old driver when he turned into me and my motorcycle. makes me think there aren't enough lights one can have for negligent drivers to see riders on 2 wheels. i'm hoping drivers become more aware, though.
 
I have only been hit by a car once and it's a pretty odd case: I was hit *from behind* while slowing down to make a left turn in a turn lane. This was in 1986, I think, or maybe 1985. I was in high school, anyway, and was hit by an old man in a giant 1970s Cadillac. I realized what was going to happen when I saw nothing but the grill of the car in my mirror and I remember dreading the scrapes I knew were coming while I flew through the air.

People watching said that I bounced.

The only damage to my bike was a ruined rear wheel. I ended up with scrapes on almost every joint (even scrapes that lined my ribs on my back) and two or three stitches in my eyebrow.

I could barely move the next day but felt much better the day after that.

Oh, yeah, the man claimed that he didn't see me. And as far as I know, he didn't even get a ticket.
 
ouch, from the photo it looks like in made you a little loopy ;). Glad you're okay.
 
Yes, I have, and yes, they did. The driver turned right into me while I was in a cross walk. She was watching traffic coming from her left and never looked in my direction until she heard her car slam into me. She was very apologetic, which was nice, but I'm sure I would have felt differently if I had gone under the car instead of spinning off at an angle.
 
how is asking for a report a waste of the officer's time? that's lame

that would make me more angry than being hit (once the pain wore off)
 
Glad you were able to ride away from it!

I was involved in a left cross almost 2 years ago. It was on a deserted neighborhood street and the driver caught me on the front of his SUV. I remember seeing the bike fly and then hit the pavement head first. Walked away (thanks to my destroyed helmet.) He didn't see me.

It's easy to miss what you're not looking for. I'm sure cyclists see other cyclists blocks in advance when we're driving. I know I do.
 
"Too quickly for conditions." That's the other phrase you always hear. I wonder if some cars are just too safe? Do they give the driver a false sense of security?

Anyway, glad (again) to hear you're OK after that.
 
On the other hand...early one morning (before sunrise), I almost hit a bike. He only had a flashing light. I couldn't tell (very curvy and narrow Japanese road) that he was so close. Because I was paying very close attention, it didn't happen. I ride a lot and at night. Now, I'm stepping up the lighting. I'm still scared from this.
 
Yes, left cross. Broad, afternoon daylight, wearing the most garish combo of Primalwear neon thingies - on Old Middlefield.

I was cruising about 20mph, saw the car coming the other way with blinker start to move, hit my brakes and slowed to about 10 by the time I went into the passenger door. I clumsily sprawled up on her roof. Only bruises for me and scrapes for the bike, but a big 'ol dent in the side of her car. She "didn't see me", but claimed distraction in the aftermath of 9/11. It must have been around 9/13/2001.
 
I was Hit this past monday night in san francisco. Left turn into me, I was going straight car turned. Yes I was wearing a helmet, had front and back lights. I think the bike is totalled, definitely the stem, forks, an front wheel. I have a few injuries, maybe more to show up later. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital immediately, so all i have right now is a piece of paper telling me how to get the police report. I'm kinda bummed out and I hurt right now. taking steps to see what i can do. Be careful out there it can happen to anyone.
 
Yep. I also got hit from behind similar to Tommy Williams. Also in High School... 89 or 90. Was making a left turn off a 2-lane straight road, going slightly downhill. I was completely across my lane and about halfway across the opposing lane, and the guy tried to pass me on the left.

My left hip broke his rear passenger window, I rolled across the rear hatch, bounced on the top of my head, then skidded on my rear to a stop.

Car eventually stopped at the bottom of the hill and backed up after a car coming the other way stopped to help me.

LOTS of stitches to put my glute back together, but nothing else. Bike was fine, but didn't get ridden for another 2 or 3 years... I got REALLY spooked by the whole thing.
 
Sorry to hear about your accident. Hopefully the swelling has already gone down.

Yeah, I was hit by a car, just this past April. Like the two above I was hit from behind. I was very well lit and it was just after sunrise, cruising at about 20mph. Of course, the guy said he didn't see me because he was messing with his radio. I flew through the air and landed on my back. I broke my back in 3 places but I was able to walk out of the hospital. The guy did get a ticket for failure to reduce speed, not carrying insurance and no registration. The bike survived with just a busted back wheel. I think that you will hear the "I didn't see you" excuse in 99% of the cases. What is someone going to say, "yeah, I saw you but hit you anyway"?
 
Yes, once sideswiped by a car who didn't see me. Bruises, road rash, tetanus shot, and a banged up bike. No citation.

Another time right hooked by a car and further, he left the scene because he "didn't see me and didn't even know there was an accident." Bruises and road rash, broken collarbone requiring surgery and physical therapy. Bike was fine. I think they earned a citation for that one if I remember correctly.
 
How new and different, "I didn't see you".
Jack

Attorney Mionske reports: Negligent drivers will still utter these four words after hitting the cyclist, except in the Netherlands, where the presumption of liability encourages drivers to be more careful:
http://www.bicyclelaw.com/blog/index.cfm/2010/2/2/It-Was-Just-One-Of-Those-Things
 
I've stepped up the lights... as in WAY up.

Dinotte 400L white front, two 10 Watt white Halogens Front, two Dinotte 400R red rear.

AND I got a highway class 3 vest to wear. The kind that is required for workers on the freeway. ($30! )

I look like a friggn fire truck when they are all lit up.
 
Thanks for the commiseration and stories, all.

@Gary - When I lived in the Midwest, my goal was to be confused with a snowplow when I cycled in the winter. Nobody wants to hit a snowplow!
 
I got sort of left hooked once - I was in the left turn lane and the guy in the left turn lane perpendicular to me, counterclockwise 90 degrees, cut the corner too close and clipped me. Wasn't looking for me at all.
I suspect We get fewer of those around here, though, than lots of places because there are lots of people on bicycles and they get embedded into the "stuff ot notice" brain files.
 
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