Lovejoy crash victim asks for help with bills, bike

Posted by on March 20th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Asha Laura Whittle.
(Photo: Asha Laura Whittle)

Asha Whittle’s story could have been tragic.

Judging from the nature of the collision (she and her bike were dragged across the intersection), photos taken at the scene, and comments from police and other first responders, when I first reported about her crash earlier this month, I expected that she had sustained major injuries.

Fortunately, she suffered only minor injuries. She left a comment a day after the crash saying she was “miraculously fine” and is now out of the hospital and trying to get back to life as usual.

Story continues below

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In the comments to the original story, several readers wondered if they could help Asha get rolling again. Now, Asha says she could indeed use some help.

As luck would have it, the man who drove his car into Asha did not have insurance. She figures the collision will end up costing her several thousand dollars. And her bike, well, it’s not exactly road worthy any more…

Asha’s bike was mangled. Luckily, she wasn’t.
(Photo Β© J. Maus)

If anyone out there can help out Asha Whittle with a donation to help pay for her medical bills and buy a new bike, here’s the info:

    Checks can be made to Laura Whittle and sent to:
    Laura Whittle C/O Michael Hall in Student Services
    PNCA
    1241 NW Johnson
    Portland, OR 97209

We hope you get back on the road soon Asha!

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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frank
Guest
frank

Yeah Bike Lanes!!!!

Goooooooo Portland!!!!!

April
Guest
April

Asha!! Good luck!

q`Ztal
Guest
q`Ztal

$242 ticket for cyclist running stop sigh while endangering no one.

?$?$?$ ticket for unisured auto driver who is found at blame for an accident that causes injury and property loss.

Would a driver have been charged, ticketed or fined any more if someone had died in a identical situation?

peejay
Guest
peejay

Even if he has no insurance, the man who caused the crash must still be responsible for damages, as much as his ability to pay will allow. First, impound and sell off his car. He should no longer be driving anyway, as he was DUI, so he does not need the vehicle. Next, his wages could be garnished at a reasonable rate.

You may have to sue to recover damages, though. Lawyers, care to give free advice?

Lynne
Guest

wasn’t he drunk? With no insurance? It would seem that he should NEVER be allowed to drive a car again. Agreed, his car could probably be sold and Laura should get the money.

Darshan
Guest
Darshan

@peejay:

From what we understand, the driver was homeless and living out of the car. He has essentially no assets and he has no wages to garnish. The police don’t know who the car belongs to.

We talked to a lawyer and their opinion was that it wouldn’t be worth the trouble of trying to get anything from this guy. They said our only hope was to find out who owned the car and see if they have insurance. We’ve been trying to figure that out, but with no luck so far.

At this point it seems extremely unlikely that if it does belong to anyone that they would have insurance. My guess is that this guy found the car abandoned somewhere and decided it would make a good home.

E
Guest
E

a lot of times in these cases, you can sue but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. How much in lawyers fees for maybe $2k worth of car? A judgement against this loser would be likely generate very little cash, nowhere near her needs. A lot of times the injured party would rather move on than spend time & energy resources making the jerk pay.
I’d be interested to know about criminal charges though. There should be quite a few in this case. SHOULD.

Good luck Asha!

velo
Guest
velo

What size bike is needed? I bet one of us on here has something decent to offer to the cause.

dan
Guest
dan

Asha,

I’ve got a crate full of bike parts, mostly derailleurs, shifters etc.

If any of that would help you get back on the road, let me know and I can figure out how to get it to you.

Off the top of my head, there’s some XT/XTR rear changers, a couple of front changers and some thumbshifters (suntor/Mavic) lots of it is new or unused.

Was thinking of taking it to the bikeswap…

Krampus
Guest
Krampus

What? He miraculously found a working car that had been abandoned, then just decided to take it? That doesn’t sound right. How does he afford to put gas in it?

KJ
Guest
KJ

I have an old bike I’d give up. It needs a little love, a tune up and I’d get a new seat for sure, and maybe some new sprockets (the teeth are a little worn down) but it’s a good bike. Trek mnt bike and 220 or something cira 1999/2000, maybe a 26″ frame? I am 5’5″. it’s a 21 speed.
I was thinking of turning it into an xtracycle someday but who knows if that will ever happen.
If interested let me know. It would make a good interim bike, she’s not a classy bike. and it’s not like picking out your own ride, that’s for sure.

vj
Guest
vj

I think most of us can find a few dollars that would be better used to help someone out that to buy an over priced latte. Anything helps folks, lets pitch in. Mine is going in the mail tomorrow.

bhance
Guest
bhance

I have a completely untouched 1-year old Trek “interval” 52-60mm bike helmet (part #279860) that is unfortunately too small for my (enormous, melon-sized) head if Asha’s looking for a new helmet.

Drop me an email if needed – total freebie here.

Seager
Guest
Seager

Does Asha own/drive a car? If so then her own car insurance covers her on her bike – and will pay out to her in the case of a crash caused by another uninsured driver.

Hopefully this is the case. πŸ™‚

kww
Guest
kww

We need a debtors prison for uninsured/underinsured a**holes who harm other people, no matter if they crash into a pedestrian, bike or motor vehicle.

For my motorcycle insurance, I raised my uninsured/underinsured limits to the maximum that the company would allow. The state mandated minimums usually count toward an ambulance ride and emergency room work – anything beyond that is on your dime, whether you are insured or not.

What is crazy is that the extra cost for raising your uninsured/underinsured limits is pennies on the dollar of your entire policy.

John Russell
Guest

I’ve always wondered: why is it that the city allows the bike lane to drop here heading eastbound just for the sake of having a few more parking spaces? Especially with this being as heavy in bicycle traffic as it is. Could that design have contributed to the collision in any way?

beth h
Guest

@ kww:

Debtors prison didn’t fly in this country precisely because, on top of not being able to afford insurance, most un/under-insured folks couldn’t afford to much else, including any sort of court fees or restitution.

When I was injured in a serious bike-car crash in 1997, I didn’t own a car and had no insurance of any kind. The driver’s insurance kicked in and paid my bills. If she hadn’t been insured, I don’t know what would’ve happened.

It’s easy to say that auto insurance is required, much harder to enforce BEFORE the fact.

While what happened in this case is really sad and hard (and could’ve been MUCH worse), the reality is that there’s probably not much point in filing civil charges against a broke, homeless person.

Asha — contact me off-blog. I have some parts and possibly a frame that would work for you if you want them. And get well soon!

jim
Guest
jim

No insurance
No license
DUI’s
Not his car

You can be assured he will be out on the road again

bobcycle
Guest
bobcycle

Just an opinion…. but since the city designed and approved the bike lane/car lane layout, and as designed, the lane allows vehicles turning to cross paths with vehicles (bikes) not turning, and assuming that a case can be made that the design of the intersection contributed to the accident, I think the city should be sued. If not for the money at least to get this platinum city to quit designing intersections that are inherently dangerous to cyclists. In addition to the “crossing” conflict the bridge ramp has been striped for 3 auto lanes and a turn lane narrowing all lanes to the point where frequent post office semi trucks and busses are forced into bike lanes. I feel the city is at least partly at fault here. Sue for change before a worse accident occurs, you may save a life. Unfortunately suggesting change often brings no results, so sometimes legal avenues are our only choice.

Paul Tay
Guest

New rule: Forfeiture and sale of uninsured vehicles that kill or maim to compensate victims.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

Does Asha own/drive a car? If so then her own car insurance covers her on her bike – and will pay out to her in the case of a crash caused by another uninsured driver.

Hopefully this is the case. πŸ™‚

This is correct. If there’s an insured car in your household, your own insurance will cover your damages.

I’ve got a spare bike you can have, Asha.

Glad to know you’re healing, and glad to know you haven’t been dissuaded from riding.

Antload
Guest
Antload

I’m a mechanic who would gladly donate the time required to tune/dial-in a donated bike or build from a pile of donated parts.

Opus the Poet
Guest

Hold on, there are a few things that just don’t add up. Homeless but a. has a car b. has the money to buy gas for the car and c. has the money to get drunk. Assuming this guy didn’t steal the car, sell the car, find his source of money whatever it is, and siphon off about 50% until all the damages are paid in full, however long that takes.

Christopher Cotrell
Guest

I really wish it were possible to get uninsured motorist insurace for a bike without having to have a car.

Hart
Guest
Hart

Yeah, I’d say if you hit somebody with your car and you don’t have insurance, the State should immediately impound it and auction it off to pay for the damages you caused.

KimJSCP
Guest
KimJSCP

I do remember an offer in previous comments for a repair or replacement of the bike and a new helmet.

http://bikeportland.org/2009/03/04/lovejoy-crash-victim-says-shes-miraculously-fine/

mabsf 0n 3/4 at 10:52

I just lost my job and am not able to do much, but I really hope mabsf can come through for her and that we all do what we can.

TofuTodd
Guest
TofuTodd

just FYI, not all homeless are the people you see on the street sleeping on doorsteps. A significant portion stay in shelters, have cellphones (how else do you expect return calls after interviews) and yes, have cars. You can be homeless and have a job.

And as a lesson for others in Asha’s postion, if you are ok after an accident and you don’t have health insurance, deny care, deny care, deny care. In today’s ociety people see medical care as a “service” however it comes at extreme cost. When I broke my arm skiing and had to have emergency surgery, i felt no pain and felt fine. The medic insist i take oxygen on the ride, I say no, I feel fine, they insist, I say ok, what do I get? a $250 bill for oxygen on top of the $2.5k 20 minute ride. I could have taken a taxi to the hospital. Do not get in an ambulance if you know you are ok.

Rixtir
Guest
Rixtir

TT, I know your advice is meant to be helpful, but it’s bad advice, Following a collision, many cyclists think they’re OK, only to find out after the adrenaline wears off that they’re not OK. Following a collision, you can’t make medical decisions based on how you feel, because your body could very well be lying to you.

Furthermore, in the immediate aftermath of a collision, you’re not likely to know if the driver is insured or uninsured. If the injured cyclist follows your advice and denies care, denies care, denies care, the injured cyclist has no medical record of injuries received to provide to the driver’s insurance company, if the driver does have insurance. And at the insurance company, that lack of a medical record translates into “deny payment, deny payment, deny payment” for any subsequent medical care, let alone pain and suffering. At a minimum, it is absolutely necessary to see a doctor, even if you think you’re OK. If the doctor says you’re OK, you’ve got a relatively small medical bill to pay (assuming the driver has no insurance). If the doctor finds injuries, it’s important to have a record of that, and of your treatment, in case the driver does have insurance.

TofuTodd
Guest
TofuTodd

rixter, i somewhat agree, and should have focused my point: do not ride in an ambulance unless you have life threatning injuries. Surgery to address internal bleeding just hours after a collision would not be denyed payment just because you weren’t rushed off to the hopistal from the scene of the accident. The police report is ample documentation. If you feel fine, ride your bike, take the bus, or allow the cop to drop you off at the ER so you can get checked out. At least that way you only have the ER bill to pay (which is what, $450 now days?) plus any diagnostic tests.

You’re right, adrenaline is rushing after an accident and you are overwheled with people telling you what to do, sign this, do that. You need to try to slow things down and not make rush decesions.

Now, I have no idea if asha rode in an ambulance. I don’t know how much the bills are for. Also, these bills she is getting in the mail I’m sure are retail sticker price and can be neogiated much lower. They bill you the same amount they expect the insurance ocmpany to pay, not a student to pay. My advice to Asha is to ignore the amounts on the bills, give them 2-3 months to all come in, and then start negotiating.

TofuTodd
Guest
TofuTodd

Also, i recognize the fact following a collision, many cyclists think they’re OK, only to find out after the adrenaline wears off that they’re not OK. I don’ tthink that is reason for everyone involved in a collision to go see a Dr.

Seeing a Dr in this same state won’t necessiarly change things. The doc will ask how you feel. You say fine. The Dr. then pushes on your abodmen, spine, etc, trying to get a reaction from you. You either hurt or you don’t. If it hurts, he may order a CT or MRI. But the Dr mostly has to go on what you feel. So you’re going to expereince the same feelings whether the Dr is standing there or not. Now if you get home and pee red, yeah, probably time to go see the doc.

TofuTodd
Guest
TofuTodd

sorry for the spew, but the bottom line is:

if the driver can’t produce proof of insurance and you aren’t insured, just be cautious about how much “care” you let others give you. you will be billed.

beth h
Guest

While the lack of affordable health insurance in this country is criminal and we should all have access to services, refusing treatment because you’re broke could be a fatal mistake.

In 2000 I was rushed to the ER with severe abdominal pain that had come on without warning; one minute I was fine, the next minute I was on the ground writhing in agony and barely able to breathe. Tests showed that I was in need of emergency surgery to stem an internal rupture in progress. I had major abdominal surgery the next morning and spent ten days in the hospital.

If I had refused care I would have died that night.

I had no health insurance and could not pay the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In the end I was forced to file a medical bankruptcy. Choosing between a black mark on my credit record and the rest of my life was easy, and frankly it’s a choice I’d make again.

TT, please be really, really careful about offering medical advice at this forum. People can take it the wrong way, at great personal cost.

TofuTodd
Guest
TofuTodd

Beth, you missed my point entirely, you were in intense pain, of course you should have gone to the ER! I was suggesting if you were hit by a car, and were shaken, scraped, and bruised, but otherwise felt fine, AND NEITHER OF YOU ARE INSURED, i would be reluctant to ride in an ambulance to go see a doc. that is all.

Yes, if you are ” on the ground writhing in agony and barely able to breathe” after a collision, by all means go see a dr!!!

matt picio
Guest

Krampus (#10) – “Homeless” does not equal “unemployed”. A lot of homeless people work, not necessarily for a living wage. Without insurance costs or a car payment, gas itself doesn’t cost a lot. It costs less than food.

Seager (#14) – Even if Asha doesn’t have auto insurance, she could file a claim if she has homeowner’s or renter’s insurance – it would cover medical expenses and damage to the bike up to the limits of her policy. A deductible might apply. Your renters / homeowner’s insurance covers all of your personal property, even if you’re not in the home when it happens.

bob
Guest
bob

hi,what does this kind lady need in terms of a bike,lock/cable n helmet?what other cycling related things could she use to get her back riding?…….thank you…………Bob

Aka
Guest
Aka

Is it forbidden to drive without an insurance? Then why isn’t the authorities paying for the insurance as they should have arrested that person before he hit her.

I am glad she is alright.