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“On January 2nd, I was riding home from work at 5:15p.m. and was was struck by a Jeep Wrangler pulling out from a stop sign. The driver was pulling out from N Wygant St. onto N Basin Ave.
As I approached the intersection, the Jeep appeared to be coming to a stop at the stop sign. Therefore I concluded that I had time to cross in front of the Jeep as she came to a stop.
As I pedaled down onto the road from the sidewalk and began to cross in front of the vehicle, (in a crosswalk) the driver accelerated without looking to the right or even directly in front of her. I was directly in front of her as she accelerated…I did not make it across the vehicle before being struck.
The front bumper of the Jeep struck the left side of my bicycle and snapped my left ankle on impact. This collision sent me hurtling through the air over my handlebars and out in the right-most traffic lane on N Basin Ave. I landed on my head and on my left hand and fore-arm. I was wearing a helmet and the helmet was cracked upon impact with the road.
A driver of another stopped vehicle said that they had called 911. The woman driving the vehicle that struck me got out of her vehicle and walked back to the scene of the accident.
A police officer responded to the scene within a few minutes of the call. The police officer did not bother to get a statement from me about the accident. Apparently he automatically assumed the accident was my fault. As a matter of fact, he didn’t have much interaction with me at all. I do remember him directing one question towards me, though.
He said something to the effect of: “So, you didn’t have a font headlight on your bike, huh?”. I said that I did, but it must have been knocked off on impact, which it was. The light was in the street and was still operating perfectly. I also had a blinking red tail light on my bike. I was also wearing rain paints with reflective stripes on the legs. It was dark and raining at the time of the accident.
An ambulance arrived within a few more minutes…I have no recollection of any conversation with the police officer. He took a statement from the driver and assumed that her story was correct. He used this information in writing the police report.
This report is extremely one-sided and finds me at fault. In fact, it states that I hit the vehicle. I’m not sure how this is possible since the entire left side of my bike is dented up and I have a broken left ankle.
I had surgery on my ankle the next day and was discharged from the hospital after a two night stay. I have been out of work since the accident and probably will be for another week or two. I will not be able to put full weight on my leg for at least 8 weeks and probably will no be fully recovered for about 6 months.
…the police officer felt that I was in the wrong by riding on the sidewalk.
The police officer felt that the driver was not at fault because she wouldn’t have expected to see anyone traveling on the sidewalk in the direction that I was riding…The fact is that she did not look to the right at all. The law says that a driver has to yield to pedestrians or bicycles in a crosswalk before proceeding across the crosswalk. The bottom line is, if the driver had looked before proceeding, there is no way that she would not have seen me. I had a head light with 4 bright LED lights in it, 2 of which were blinking.”
Island is not only legal, it
is imperative for survival.]
There are many things about this account that are troublesome to me. Besides the lack of empathy and respect shown to a severely injured crash victim, the police officer was flat out wrong in assuming that riding on the sidewalk is illegal.
“On Going Street and the Swan Island roadway network, the Swan Island TMA recommends use of the sidewalk. This is legal and at least during peak hours with trucks and anxious commuters, the place to be. Be sure to watch for pedestrians and vehicles turning in and out of driveways.”
According to the victim’s follow-up posts in the Forums, he does not have a lawyer.
Man, I am so tired of hearing stories like this. Will we ever live to see the day when the most vulnerable users of our roads are given the benefit of the doubt?
Am I over-reacting? Or should the cyclist seek justice and bring this police officer to court?
What do you think?