Got hit by a car last night

Phanes

Member
When I ride I am always very aware of people turning into traffic because that is the number one killer of people on bikes. So last night riding home from the store I saw a guy waiting to turn into traffic. I always look right at their face to make sure they have turned and see me. He turned looked right at me then as I was about 4 inches in front of him he pulled out and knocked me off my bike into traffic.

Fortunately people behind me were paying attention and stopped before running me over. He is from MA and I live in NH so the laws are a bit different. In MA you just exchange information and go about your way unless someone requires an ambulance. In NH you always report all traffic accidents when they occur that is the law. This guy simply wanted to give me his info and take off. I told him we have to report it to the police he said he did not have time for that and as I was dialing 911 tried to get into his car to leave.

Other people who had stopped tried to block him from leaving and he started to drive backwards up the street he had come from. I was telling the dispatcher he was attempting to flee the scene and they had 3 cruisers there in about 60 seconds and caught the guy driving backwards up the road and pulled him over.

After a bit of testing turns out his BAC was 0.10 and the legal limit in NH is 0.08. Now I know why he was so desperate to leave. He got arrested. Except for a lump on my elbow and a sore kneed and shoulder I am ok. The bike itself was not damaged at all. I rode it home slowly at first then full power in the last 4 miles with no issues.

I now have over 1k miles on my ST2 and it has changed the way I drive cars. I think back to how many times I flew around a blind curve or rolled through a stop sign and now I realized if there was a bike there I would have hit them.

Stay safe.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
Sounds like cycling has been a game changer for you. I'm glad you are OK and the bike is OK. Amazing you and the bike can take such a knock and be ok! Hopefully the events of last evening will be a game changer for the car driver as well. His life changed dramatically in the span of 4 inches.
 

Paul H.

New Member
So glad you're okay. I feel the same way about how biking is leading to changes in the way I drive. Yet another great benefit of starting to bike again.
 

Berry78

Active Member
Glad you are ok! Funny thing is, if he loses his license for dui, he may be in the market for an ebike...

Pkow!!! ..mind..... ..blown......
 

George S.

Well-Known Member
I was telling the dispatcher he was attempting to flee the scene and they had 3 cruisers there in about 60 seconds and caught the guy driving backwards up the road and pulled him over.
That's nice to hear. Glad you are OK. When I ride I just stay aware of where every car is and assume they will do the absolute most stupid thing possible. I swear if a guy is stopped at a stop sign and you went up and had him sign a paper saying he will let you go by, he'd still pull into you 15% of the time. It's like the running of the Bulls.
 

Nutella

Active Member
I could never figure out why so many drivers would look right at me, and then pull out like they never saw me. When I commute, I'm usually in neon with lights on at night. Then I read this, and began to understand.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Flashing blinkies during the day are a good idea and are now part of my arsenal as well as a better understanding of how to be seen.
 

Phanes

Member
A detective called me today to get some more information. I asked him about the driver and he told me this is his third DUI arrest in 5 years but the other two did not stick. I was really shocked to hear that but the detective told me if they have a good enough lawyer there is a lot of loop holes.
 

JoeinJP

Member
It can be a matter of inches, really, for life and death. I always try to look eye to eye at a driver when at intersections, right-turn streets. It's tough to hear about the bike fatalities that occur, for instance in Boston on the busy streets downtown, you never know when you leave the house.

On a lighter note, glad you're okay!
 

bluecat

Well-Known Member
last night riding home from the store I saw a guy waiting to turn into traffic. I always look right at their face to make sure they have turned and see me. He turned looked right at me then as I was about 4 inches in front of him he pulled out and knocked me off my bike into traffic.
Luckily, you have survived the impact.

Being seen by a car driver - and falsely treated as a slow bicycle - is also very common in Switzerland (regardless of alcohol.) The small front face of a Supernova E3 is typical for a 25 km/h bicycle. Very sadly, the U-shaped light of a ST2 is only decoration. Due to a short sighted decision of Swiss authorities, myStromer AG was forced to dim this light. The M99pro (on a ST2s) does this much better: Bright but not blinding to oncoming traffic.

In my case, I've added an additional low-beam headlight to my classic Stromer:

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Dunbar

Well-Known Member
One of those things you learn from experience is that looking drivers in the eyes does not mean that they see you! Drivers are looking for other cars, not bicycles. It's best to ride defensively as if every driver is out to hit you. I always pull out of the bike lane and into the lane of traffic in those situations. It gives you more time to react if somebody pulls out in front of you.
 

BTB

Member
Traffic from your right (right cross) is certainly a danger (I've been hit that way before too), but the left cross from oncoming traffic can be especially deadly because you don't expect it and may have little time to react. The driver could turn in front of you before you can stop, or you get hit from the side as they are turning and don't see you. Getting nailed from the side is more apt to kill you. I remember reading the newspaper about a cyclist who was killed when an oncoming city bus was turning into the bus garage at the end of the driver's shift. Then there is the case of Karen McKeachie, an elite triathlete who was killed in August by a driver attempting to pass another vehicle. Stay safe everyone.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
I could never figure out why so many drivers would look right at me, and then pull out like they never saw me. When I commute, I'm usually in neon with lights on at night. Then I read this, and began to understand.

(Link Removed - No Longer Exists)

Flashing blinkies during the day are a good idea and are now part of my arsenal as well as a better understanding of how to be seen.
The lights on my Specialized Turbo X never turn off...in fact, you can't turn them off =). Doesn't bother me a bit. I supplement my stock lights with forward and rear facing flashing lights. Cars have daytime running lights for safety...make just as much sense on a bike.

Sadly, one could light up their bike like a Christmas tree and it still probably wouldn't help much when it comes to impaired drivers.

Glad you're okay @Phanes. Sounds like you had some good fellow citizens looking out for you there too.
 

Phanes

Member
On my last tour in Afghanistan I rode a cheap bike around the base every morning for exercise. One morning a young E1 in a fuel tanker sped up to pass me only to make a right turn 5 feet in front of me. On the cheap bike brakes were more of a suggestion and I could not stop in time so I hopped off and the tanker ran over my bike and kept going. I chased him on foot and caught him a few hundred yards later where he was stopping. He got out shocked to see an angry Marine screaming at him. We are all under so much stress I almost beat him senseless when he said he never saw me. Fortunately for him an Army Major and E9 was behind me and saw the accident and pulled up about 30 seconds later. The Sgt Major asked me not to beat his guy up and told me he would take care of it. Later that day his unit showed up with a new bike where I worked and an apology from their CO.

I have to admit drafting off of M-Raps while they point their mounted machine gun at you the whole time was less scary than drivers who don't pay attention or are impaired.
 

J.R.

Well-Known Member
That's riding in the danger zone! They always say they didn't see us. Americans, no matter where, don't expect to see a bicycle because they're rare where we normally drive. Ebikes make every situation worse because we close that expected distance, so much faster.
 

Hugh

Active Member
Now thats its getting darker earlier and the sun here is rising a bit later it,s still dark when I work the day shift and leave in the morning. There is a stretch of my ride where I take the sidewalk facing traffic on what is a very busy road, for us anyway. On the way home i take the same route and am going with the traffic. Anyway the bike has a nice bright led light which clips to the bars using a rubber. I've been using the light as a steady beam and car drivers just don't see it, especially the ones who are pulling into traffic, they are always looking away from my direction watching oncoming traffic waiting for a chance to get on the main road. 3 day's ago i started using the strobe function and it dramatically increased my visability. Now I still don't trust anyone and ride with 2 fingers covering the brakes plus slowing down when crossing any roadway, but drivers notice the bike a lot better.
 

James Kohls

Active Member
@Hugh I've known a number of people who were hit by cars by traveling against traffic on sidewalks. I'm glad you are taking precautions and recognize it is a risky way to ride.

At least in the US, drivers are typically trained that bicycles are on the road riding with traffic and pedestrians are on the sidewalk going against traffic. Of course we've all see that isn't always the case, but when approaching an intersection, people don't think rationally—they think instinctively. Their instincts tell them a slow moving pedestrian that can make it in front of their car would be visible in their peripheral vision. When you hit dozens and dozens of intersections per drive without incident, chances are you aren't thinking: at this intersection, there could be a bicyclist capable of traveling the length of a football field every 10 seconds heading the way opposite to how you were trained and on the sidewalk where you didn't expect them to be.

That's riding in the danger zone! They always say they didn't see us. Americans, no matter where, don't expect to see a bicycle because they're rare where we normally drive. Ebikes make every situation worse because we close that expected distance, so much faster.
I think it makes traveling with traffic better on long stretches with few intersections. The faster you are going, the slower the drivers will catch up to you. This increase the amount of time you are within their sight lines. The more time you're in front of them, the more time they have to react. But yes, intersections are problematic. People haven't calibrated their instincts to expect bikes traveling at 20-28MPH—especially up a hill. It is also more difficult to gauge the speed of a bike with its thiner profile.