I just had an experience where I had a cyclist ride off of the sidewalk in front of my car at a corner. I managed to stop, she went by me. She was looking backwards screaming at me and lost her balance, mostly due to the grocery bags on her handle bars. She fell in the other lane. I got out to see if she was okay. She had a scraped knee, but was fine. She said she was okay so I left. The police showed up at my house 45 mins later saying I faced a charge of hit and run. I told the cop that I didn't hit her and he says that he needs a few days to find evidence.
Any advice anyone can give me on how I should be preparing myself now to understand this situation better and the laws would be appreciated. I'm thinking that there could be no witness to substantiate her claim so there is no accident that I left, or would have had to report, but I don't want to underestimate the situation.
No contact no foul, in my eyes at least. You mentioned the bags on the handle bars though, did you mention that to the officer? Just to be on the safe side, write down all the details you can remember so if the officer shows up again you can explain your side as well as possible.
"Fail to remain" under the HTA states "accident" not "collision," so I'm not sure what the interpretation of that is.
A few points:
- It is illegal to ride through a crosswalk
- It is illegal in many municipalities to ride on a sidewalk (would be covered by city by-law)
- If this occurred at a time when headlamps were required, a lighted lamp is required at the front of the bicycle, red reflector at the rear, and reflective tape on the front and rear forks - how many bikes have you seen that meet that description?
Keep in mind that "she shouldn't have been on the road" is very unlikely to matter if charges are laid against you, but may help the officer understand the situation better if you can explain it without coming off as a jerk.
Thanks for the replies.
I have now made detailed notes.
I have never had much of a chance to explain what happened. The officer made a few accusatory remarks and noted my replies. His questions were minimal. It happened on Sunday. He said he'd let me know if I was being charged on Wednesday. That was yesterday. I called and left him a message. Seems to be taking a long time.
lrndthehardway wrote:The officer made a few accusatory remarks and noted my replies
He's really just doing his job. We the public may not like it but it helps get the truth out.
True - I sure wouldn't want his job.
I'm wondering if this is considered the scene of an accident? If I indirectly caused this cyclist to have bodily injury (be it only a scraped knee) would this be considered an accident. But then on the other hand, did I even cause her fall?
Put it this way: Let's say a cellphone addict runs a red light. He gets honked at. He turns to look at the horn-honker, glares at him, and gives him the finger... and drives square-on, dead-centre, into a parked police cruiser. (This has happened, by the way.) Is the horn-honker responsible? No! Is he part of the accident? No, he's a witness only. He doesn't even have to stop (but should, to render assistance if needed). Sound like a rough translation of your situation?
After her near-miss with you, she kept riding, she wasn't going to stop, and she was only focused on screaming at you. It wasn't until she fell flat on her a** that this was an issue. She was in control, and still biking, both before and immediately after you and your vehicle were a factor. I'd say it's quite convincing that you did not cause her to wipe out and the whole accident was her doing and she was the only party to it. But that's just my opinion.
That said, even if you do get charged, a paralegal or lawyer would put a King Kong smackdown on that in court. Keep us posted...
Radar Identified wrote:a paralegal or lawyer would put a King Kong smackdown on that in court.
I an effort to keep this forum entertaining please use pictures to illustrate your point..........
Radar Identified wrote:It wasn't until she fell flat on her a** that this was an issue.
Um, how old will I be when I don't get "the giggles" any more? I can't stop picturing this scene, LMAO. (oh, I'm a baaaad man)
Yes, I agree 100% with RI. She crashed herself. We were taught as children to WALK our bikes across the road for this exact reason.
Well, the officer came by yesterday. I'm not being charged. He hasn't had much to go on. When he first got the call he came looking for me because it was reported as a hit and run. When he got to the scene, she had hopped into a vehicle and gone to the hospital and her boyfriend had left the scene and taken the bikes and groceries home, and the witnesses had dispersed. So it's been her word against mine.
Her hospital report said she was perfectly fine except for her scraped knee. She has since found a doctor to say she has all these injuries. The officer told me that was when he stopped believing her.
He said he would prefer to file an incident report vs. an accident report as if he files an accident report she would get my insurance information and could cause me grief. I said I think that's only fair as there was no accident (at least between her and I). I hope that's the way it goes. I find out today.
Thanks again for your comments. They were helpful.
Thanks for keeping us posted, lrndthehardway, and we're glad it worked out for you. Personally, I live in the hope that there is a particularly cozy corner in hell reserved for these rude and suicidal cyclists who think it's cute to be ignorant of the laws and who expect the rest of us to look out for them.
Ha! And in this place they have to wear their helmets 24/7 ... for eternity.
Yes, suicidal is the best way to put it. I am a cyclist myself - I can't believe what I see people do. Riding the wrong way and on the sidewalk is bad enough, but the grocery bags on the handle bars did it for me.
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