Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 10th, 2010 at 10:46 am
"What are a cyclist's options when another cyclist causes damage or injury?"
-- Nick V.
[Ask BikePortland is a regular feature. See past questions and learn the answers via our esteemed commenters here.]
This week's Ask BikePortland comes from reader Nick V. Nick wants to know how to handle the aftermath of a bike-on-bike collision:
"Yesterday I was on the Eastbank Esplanade and was climbing up the round ramp to head east onto the Hawthorne Bridge/Blvd. Another cyclist was coming east on the bridge and turned off to come down the same ramp. He was going too fast, couldn't make a tight enough turn, and plowed into me head-on. The only real damage was a bruised knuckle on my left hand. He apologized but I was left wondering what to do if there had been more significant damage. I've had a few scrapes with automobiles where you can get license plate numbers or ask for ID, insurance info, etc. Not so with cyclists who might not have any documentation or ID. This "crash" could have been much worse and the other guy might not have been cooperative. What are a cyclist's options when another cyclist causes damage or injury?
Nick's question raises an interesting issue. As we see higher volumes of bicycle traffic, bike-on-bike collisions will increase. Without a vehicle license or insurance registration, how will people on bicycles have a formal way to account for the collisions and make sure both sides are held accountable?
Portland bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg says someone in a bike-on-bike collision still needs to exchange information such as basic contact info and driver's license number (if they've got one, if not, some form of non-driver identification will do). Ginsberg also reminds us that if both involved parties have homeowners or renters insurance, damage to property and physical injuries should be covered.
Have any of you been in this situation? Any other lawyers out there care to chime in?
-- Check out more in the Ask BikePortland archives.