T-Bone!

27 07 2011

One Grand Bois 700 x 32mm tire + tube toast...

Sharon called me yesterday AM after leaving for work on her bike. I knew that wasn’t good because she never calls me while riding and rarely even when at work [we email and text during the day]. I could tell she’d had an accident by her voice and after making sure she wasn’t badly hurt figured out a spot to meet that I could drive over and collect her broken bike.

That's not the usual bar setup...

We loaded her bike in the back of my truck and I quickly checked that she didn’t need to go to the hospital for treatment. She was banged up and had some road rash, but nothing we couldn’t address at home.

A bit of grindage...

I got the full story on the drive home. Sharon was cruising on the bike path to work. Her speed was likely 14-18kph. When another cyclist T-boned her as he entered the bike path at 90 degrees to traffic flow without slowing down to check for traffic. She barely saw him before she was down on the ground. Our local bike paths see very high traffic at commuting hours and I often have to stop and wait for 10-20 bikes to go by before I can turn onto the path myself. It was a bonehead move that could have seriously hurt someone. As it was Sharon’s bike was unrideable and she spent the day in bed icing her knees and wrists.

More grindage...

Luckily she didn’t sustain any serious injuries. The most painful bits were the areas of road rash that she received through her clothing as she was wearing pants, a jacket and gloves.

The Donkey Boxx got scuffed and saved the bike frame from damage - thanks Donkey!

The bike landed on it’s right side and slide for a bit. Luckily that’s the side with the Donkey Boxx mounted. It wasn’t damaged and it saved Sharon’s Surly Cross Check frame from any paint removal.

Gear Damage:

  • Grand Bois tire $65+ $10 shipping
  • Tube $4
  • Pedal and brake lever scrapped, but serviceable
  • Bar tape scrapped $14
  • Donkey Boxx scuffed, but serviceable
  • Front fender tweaked, but not permanently damaged
  • Shower Pass jacket scuffed and torn in a couple places $40 to repair
  • Pants damaged $75 to replace
  • Gloves damaged $40 to replace
  • Total = ~$250

Beaten up, but not broken!

Of course you can always buy more gear so the main thing is Sharon is doing okay. She stayed home from work yesterday and is going in today, but she’s shuffling around the house gingerly with a variety of spots on her body that are in pain. I was concerned this might put her off bike commuting, but she’s ordered up some new Grand Bois tires and I found something in the garage I can throw on the front of her bike to get her rolling while we wait for the nicer rubber to arrive. I imagine she’ll be off her bike until next Tuesday so she has time to heal a bit.

The sad part about all this is that the guy that hit her didn’t damage his bike and after making sure he didn’t kill her he rode off and got on with his day!…=-(
 


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34 responses

27 07 2011
rkt

What an inconsiderate jerk

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

I agree and I would add incompetent to the mix!

27 07 2011
Gareth

Sorry to hear this. I think we are seeing an increase in this sort of behaviour in the UK – hopefully it is just down to growing numbers of people cycling and still being relatively inexperienced -and therefore a passing phase – growing pains if you like. One would like to think the guy who pulled out on Sharon will have learnt his lesson and will be more considerate in future.

27 07 2011
Anthony

Hey Vik,

That sucks! Glad to hear Sharon is (mostly) OK and will be back on the bike soon.

One conclusion I came to this year is that bike paths or MUTs can be far, far more dangerous than riding in traffic. Cars are generally predictable. Pedestrians, dogs, and path cyclists are anything but.

If I want I can commute 5 km to work on 95% paved paths, but have been sticking to the road lately unless I feel adventurous.

Regards,
Anthony

27 07 2011
EH

That guy should at a minimum be paying for the damaged gear, if not compensating Sharon for missed time at work. Makes you realize that it’s just as important to exchange info after a bike accident as it is after a car accident (I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to do so, but I think for sure I will now).

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Anthony – I agree with you in general. I would rather ride on a “normal” road vs. a bike path in most cases. Having said that the route to Sharon’s work is along a highway so the bike path is a nicer option. Also the bike path into downtown from our place is very efficient compared to the same trip on the road so we use that as well. Ultimately I think what’s important is to realize that being on a bike path doesn’t equate to lack of risk just because cars are not present. My gut feeling is that your risk of something bad happening on the bike path is higher than on the road, but the magnitude of the accident is likely less serious than riding on the road so it’s a toss up.

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@EH – the problem is that when you have been knocked off your bike and are in pain you aren’t in a state of mind to be logical and have the wherewithal to get contact info from the other person. Since cyclists aren’t licensed, insured or plated you can’t report someone to the police and make a claim by simply noting a license plate #. The only way to get your damages sorted is to go to small claims court [assuming you get accurate contact info on the other person]. The reality is that unless your $10,000 custom titanium bike is trashed it’s not likely to be worth your while.

27 07 2011
doug d

The odds are that he appears at the same spot every day within about 15 minutes of when he hit Sharon. You could meet him there and pass him an invoice.
I don’t know that there is anything that helps the reckless, self-entitled jerks of the world to learn their lesson though.

27 07 2011
mike

i’m finding that you can take the human out of the car, but its tough to take the human nature out of the human.

best wishes! glad she’s escaped with minor issues…

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Doug – I could stalk the guy assuming he is a regular. Sharon thought he was a university kid so he may well be on summer holidays and not a bike commuter. I’d need Sharon to be there so she’d have to mess with her work schedule. Not to mention continue to relive the unpleasantness of the accident until we ran into this guy.

How many hours of our time would this all be worth???

He’s under no obligation to pay the invoice and more than likely I’d end up at the police station being charged with assault!

It’s easy to arm chair quarterback these types of incidents, but I don’t think they are so easy to resolve in real life. If they were we’d be living in a different world.

27 07 2011
Ty Smith

Glad to hear Sharon is ok! I have seen the same behavior on bike paths here in the SF Bay Area. A few weeks back a rider came zooming onto the path I ride, between shrubs, without even a bell ding.

Yesterday, I was nearly taken out by a cyclist myself while crossing the street. She barely missed me, and as I turned around to yell, “Jerk!”, I saw her nearly take out a man with a serously damaged leg hobbling on crutches!

A little courtesy goes a long way. I know that message is not needed for those of us who read Vik’s blog ( I hope!), but it would be nice if more cyclists got the picture.

Again, glad Sharon is ok and keeping with the riding. Your support and encouragement has to be a big part of it!

Ty

27 07 2011
Gerco van Vulpen

@ Vik You are saying that cyclists aren’t licensed, insured or plated.

Isn’t it so that the person who caused the accident and the damage can claim this on some kind of personal liability insurance. That is if he had the decency to give his name and contactinfo… As the driver of a bike your not insured like you would driving a car but still you’d need some kind of insurance to cover any damage you’d cause to somebody elses possessions..

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Greco – there is no obligation to carry any insurance if you are not a car driver. Most people who own a house would have some liability insurance. A university kid would likely not.

Even if someone does have insurance you have to get their contact info and unless they agree they are responsible you’d have to take them to court to get a settlement which their insurance company might then pay. If they just ride off or give you false contact info you can’t do anything.

You won’t get $$$ for pain and suffering in Canada so all you’d recoup is the cash damages you sustained which in this case would be $250….possibly $400 if you could get the parts that were damaged, but functional fully replaced.

How many hours of your life do you want to spend fighting and going to court for $250?

27 07 2011
Gerco van Vulpen

I agree with you on the amount of hours spend vs the money to gain…

I wasn’t sure if there was an obligation for a liability insurance in Canada..

Here (The Netherlands) there is, so that would make things simpler.. Still the one causing the accident would need to have the decency to stop and exchance contactinfo.. If not it would still be difficult…
Damages would be payed, not sure about pain and suffering…

27 07 2011
Ben

I’d say the two main problems with off-street pathways are:

1. Mixed traffic, traveling at different speeds with different levels of attentiveness. A person taking a stroll with a dog stretching a leash to the far side of the path is obviously paying much less attention to what they’re doing than someone commuting on a bike.

and,

2. They usually aren’t designed with the sightlines needed to travel at speed, nor are they provided with the signage to inform people who has the right of way. Basically, they’re designed more for recreational dawdling than for transportation. I’m betting the corner where Sharon got t-boned had terrible sightlines that a transportation engineer would never accept on a street, so neither Sharon nor the t-boner could see the other until they were right on top of each other, and I’d bet that there was no stop sign informing the t-boner that he didn’t have the right of way.

On the bright side, they seem to be getting better at designing these trails. It’s part of the growing pains of bike culture, I guess.

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Ben – You are right on the money. I think a significant issue for cyclists is that they feel safer on a bike path without cars so they let their guard down when there are still lots of risks that need their attention.

27 07 2011
Jerome

Vik,

I’m 99.9% sure you’ve already looked at this in detail but the fork looks a bit bent. it’s probably the camera angles but il looks like the fork crown and blades are sitting a bit too far behind the axis of the steerer. Possible? Just a thought.

J.

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Jerome – You may be right. I’ll need to compare to a showroom CC. The fork may be bent.

27 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Jerome – I’ll going to have a LBS check out her fork. I’d rather be safe than sorry. A new fork is $100 and only comes in black so I’ll have to get it painted for her so it matches the bike!

27 07 2011
john

glad to hear she is ok.

otoh, what complete jerk that guy was. maybe next time he tbones a bus and learns something.

don’t know about anyone else but anytime i enter an intersection, i do a quick scan regardless if i have the right of way or not; u just never know. :(

stay safe,
john

27 07 2011
Don

My experience has been that a vast majority of these incidents involve young, college-aged riders returning to bikes after a few years of driving somebody else’s car in the suburbs. Half of them still ride the wrong way on the sidewalk. No one has ever tried to set them straight, and the riding feels so good and righteous that it doesn’t occur to them there’s anything wrong. This is the result of a lack of leadership on the transportation front.

Driver’s education that treats bicycles as serious transportation would go a long way to mitigating some, but not all, of the excesses of youth. Our local college has promised to address aggressive bike riding with all incoming freshmen. It’s a start. And then there’s enforcement.

Best to your wife.

27 07 2011
jnyyz

Vik,

glad to hear that Sharon is OK, and that she’s ready to get back on the bike right away. I am equally careful looking out for cyclists as cars, and the cyclists can be harder to spot!

27 07 2011
Chad

Nice to here a good looking bike & girl are O.K!! the what if’s and could be’s and collect this money from a bonehead are really just time wasters (agreeing with LazyR). The real point is to “get back on the bike” long term that will heal you, bring happiness, and stick it to the fool who CAN”T keep you down and out…his karma will come—and the next guy that hits him will be bigger &faster!
Take care sharon, keep pedaling ;)

(p.s–maybe milk the “healing” process and get vik to do everything and extra cool new bike parts always make you heal faster–hehe)
—man I am still in love with that surely cross-check—

27 07 2011
Val Garou

Glad to hear she’s ok. There’s always more gear for sale.

27 07 2011
Randobarf

Vik, Vancouver Island is a small town. It should be relatively easy to track down the perp. The victim does not have to attend the scene of the crime. Take your camera to the spot where the assailant is most likely to reappear and take pictures of every man who approximates his description. Show the pictures to Sharon.

28 07 2011
Erik

Vik,

If the fork is bent, be sure to check the toptube next to the headset. If you see some paint damage there, it is likely that the frame as well got some damage. (been there, done that)

What worries me is that the grandbois tyre got shredded: was it part of the cause of the accident or an consequence? For commuting I prefer Schwalbe Kojaks which are, in my experience, significantly more resistant to “bad behaviour”.

All the best to Sharon.

28 07 2011
aushiker

Sorry to hear this and I hope Sharon heals quickly, Take care.

28 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Randobarf – that sounds like a great use of my time. I’d be better off just paying Sharon the costs of the crash out of my pocket.

28 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Erik – thanks for the head’s up. I’m taking the bike to a bike shop to have them look at it and determine what is damaged.

As for the GB tire I’m not really too worried about a tire surviving getting rammed at 90 degs by another bike. Any tire that could take that kind of abuse is a tire I wouldn’t want to ride the other 99.9999% of the time when I wasn’t being rammed.

28 07 2011
thelazyrando

@Aushiker – thanks….Sharon is doing fine. She’s bummed about her bike, but she’ll be fit to ride it as soon as I can get it back on the road. She also has a spare commuter bike [her old mountain bike that I turned into a commuter] if the CC takes longer to get rolling than expected.

28 07 2011
thelazyrando

FYI Erik & Jerome – frame is fine, but fork is toast…not worth trying to repair.

28 07 2011
jet

better he was on a bike…. than if he was driving a car…. that situ with a car vs bike will almost always mean a hospital visit for the cyclist and a very trashed bike – happened to a friend of mine recently, trashed his Giant CRX1 which his folks had bought for him as a present…. so in that sense I’d much rather be separated from motor vehicle traffic if the surface is good, the visibility is OK and the route is direct….

4 08 2011
heather

Glad Sharon is okay, but it’s no fun getting hurt. My husband had a bike accident recently and broke some ribs, did something nasty to his shoulder.
But it’s good she’s willing to ride again. I stopped riding for 2 years after I flew off the handle bars of my bmx at 14, but I couldn’t stay away from cycling for too long.
You could shame the guy out of the woodwork with people reading your blog, postings on craigslist. But it does sound like a kid on a bike who was just bombing around. Not exactly a regular commuter. But he is a total tool for not sticking around, waiting for help, offering to pay etc.. Obviously she was hurt, her bike was damaged, clothes ripped!

As for MUP’s they make me a bit nervous when people don’t agree to follow the rules. Canada isn’t like Denmark or something where I like to imagine people follow the rules about which lane to be in. In Vancouver, the sea wall has a pedestrian side and a bicycle side. Brilliant idea, with loads of signage. But, people constantly stand at random with kids, dogs, strollers etc in the bike lane. Cyclists barrel past old ladies on the people lane. Not fun. In order to be efficient and work, people need to share the space fairly, be aware of where they are standing, be compassionate and understand that cyclists are often trying to get somewhere and ride on a path they do not have to worry about cars. One problem on the sunshine coast is inexperienced cyclists are salmoning. They do not even slow down, stop, apologize. Nope, they keep barrelling along as if I am invisible and my look of horror does not exist. It’s mostly highway riding, so there is not usually room on the shoulder for more than one bike. It is illegal to salmon. I do it on occasion when taking a short cut or unable to cross the highway, but I would never endanger another cyclist. A woman nearly ran into me as she turned fast onto the street, riding into the wrong lane right towards me. I didn’t even have a chance to yell anything, somehow had to swerve out of the way. And she just said ‘hi’ and kept on going!
How did sharon like the grand bois tires by the way?

4 08 2011
DrMekon

Got knocked off by a pedestrian running through traffic this week. thought bike might be damaged, and she took responsibility, so when she gave me her telephone number and email, I figured she was doing the right thing. BIke shop trued my wheel and gave the bike the all clear and the rest of the damage was cosmetic, which was lucky; email and telephone number were fake.

I had decided not to hassle her over the cosmetic damage, as human error happens, and I’d rather have the karma than the cash. She was obviously more concerned about the money.

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