Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Ask BikePortland: I was hit; should I file a police report?

Posted by on December 16th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Just got this email from reader Maria M. in Portland:

Last night during the pouring rain and darkness I was hit while on my bike. I wasn’t hurt but my front wheel was damaged. I was at the Marriott on Naito crossing over to the park when a car turned into me. I had the green light and was in the crosswalk with the walk signal. The guy who hit me pulled over. We exchanged info. and the very kind valet guys at the Marriott gave me their info as witnesses. Mostly, I was in shock.

Should I file a police report? Should I ask him to pay for damages to my bike?

[See our answer and share yours below the jump.]

Story continues below


Great question. With no injuries and with a cooperative party in the other vehicle, I doubt the police would be too eager to file a report on this. However, I don’t think it would hurt to try.

And yes. Definitely ask the guy to pay for damages if you feel it was his fault (which it sounds like it was).

The DMV should also be notified. We need as many bike-related collisions as possible to be accounted for in official records. PBOT uses DMV data to make many important engineering decisions, and currently that data woefully under-represents bicycle-involved collisions.

I’m not an expert on these issues, do others have wisdom/experiences to add?

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • BJ December 16, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    I learned the hard way that you should always file a police report after an accident. Depending on the cost to repair/replace what ever is damaged you may be better off just eating it, but I think that the more cyclists that file police reports after accidents, the better it will help us gather data and advocate for better enforcement and education.

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  • Steven Vance December 16, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    If not for collecting damages, a report should be filed for purposes of data collection and analysis.

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  • amos December 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t have much advise to offer but I’m eager to see what others say. I witnessed the aftermath of another bike-car collision yesterday (I think everyone ended up alright) and was curious what how to handle or advise on a situation like that.

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  • jim December 16, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Were you traveling at “walking speed”? If you were riding at a normal riding speed while in a crosswalk than YOU were at fault. If I were you I would just move on and count this as a learning experiance. If you were in fact traveling at a walking speed than perhaps you may have a case.
    Also- did you have a headlight and a tailight?

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  • Steve December 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Did the guy driving know your wheel was damaged right away? You should expect him to at least cover that cost and definitely fill out an accident report with DMV.

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  • Matt December 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    First, I hope you and your bike recover. Seek medical attention (physical therapy, etc) if anything seems off. Don’t be afraid to see a medical provider, and track your time, pain and related expenses in a journal.

    Second, heck yes you should file a police report. Regardless if they investigate or not, if this ends up being anything greater with injury or further damages, you’ll need that on your side. Plus, as noted in the article, it’s greater good is to track the accident rate at certain intersections.

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  • Nick V December 16, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I was run off the road in 2003 by a lady who was in town to visit her daughter. Hurt my shoulder and ribs pretty badly but she drove me home, gave me her number, and told me to let her know what the damages were. I called her about a week later and she told me that, after discussing it with her husband, since her car never made contact with me. she was not responsible for my injuries and damage.

    She hung up before I could respond and I’ve never been so angry.

    Long story short – I got a great bike-rights lawyer, we had the police track her down at her home in Chicago, and her insurance company had to pay me a total of ten grand.

    YES. File a police report. The guy who hit you might change his tune. Protect yourself!!!!!

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  • John Lascurettes December 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I was told by PPD that they will not take a police report unless there is an ambulance-worthy injury. This after I was flipped over a car turning right that ran a red from a side street.

    Still, report it to DMV. Also, you could consider citizen prosecution, but it’s tough unless you have a preponderance of evidence (and witnesses). See:

    As far as collection go, insurance companies are the best route to take. Don’t expect much though unless your wheel is more expensive than his deductible.

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  • jim December 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you were not hurt, someone up above is watching out for you.

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  • Esther December 16, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    ray thomas has plenty of advice on situations like this

    Jonathan-somewhere in the sidebar you guys should ink to the page of articles. Or maybe on your bicycle law page.

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  • Esther December 16, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    He also has an article about accidents that result in property damage

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  • t0m December 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Police report? Probably not. Insurance claim? Definitely! I was car doored 3 years ago. Felt OK at the time, but 2 days later realized my back and arm were tweaked and they never got better. A simple claim to the driver’s insurance would have protected my right for medical claims later.

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  • Esther December 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    The only thing I wonder is if, since the area including front avenue bicycles are prohibited from being on sidewalks- if being in the crosswalk counts.

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  • Bob Loblaw December 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Jonathan.

    I, too, had questions about speed and lights.

    Also, and this is directed at the dozens of attorneys following the comments RSS feed whilst simultaneously billing their clients, to wit: would riding in this particular crosswalk fall under the Thou Shalt Not Ride on Downtown Sidewalks law?

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  • jim December 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    How fast were you going?
    Did you have a light front and back?

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  • Jim O'Horo December 16, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Glad to hear you weren’t hurt.

    I assume that the information exchange included her insurance info. If not, contact him ASAP to get that. You’ll need it to file a claim.

    You should also notify your insurance company/agent of the collision. In this crazy legal environment there’s nothing to prevent him from filing a claim against you. sounds like he won’t get anything, but you’ll always look better to your own insurance company if you are the first to notify them.

    BTW, since walking speed is almost tipover speed anyway, when using a crosswalk I get off the bike and walk it. That way there’s no doubt that I’m following pedestrian rules.

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  • Vinny December 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    As long as you were not injured and there was less than $1,500 in damage then the driver is not required to report this to the DMV. As a non-driver, you can always file an accident report. Make it very clear that the crash does not meet minimum reporting criteria otherwise you could end up in a bureaucratic mess. More info available on the DMV’s website:

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  • K'Tesh December 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    It is a requirement *BY LAW* that you file a report with the DMV within 3 business days after a collision.

    Also, injuries often don’t show up until the shock wears off. Keep a journal of your situation. Especially if you end up seeing a Doctor.

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  • Chris December 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    A friend had some similar concerns about near misses and how problem spots get reported and identified. It seems to me that typically major re-engineering of problem intersections has been in reaction to high profile accidents. I don’t know that this Naito cross-walk is a real problem spot for me and others but would their reporting the problem help persuade city government to focus on safer crossings in our bicycle infrastructure? Perhaps this is a far to general question.

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  • Patty Freeman December 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm


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  • Gabirel McGovern December 16, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Last spring a car made a left hand turn in front of me from the opposite lane and I collided with the vehicle at speed. Luckily I was not seriously injured.

    At the time, it looked like only my front rim was damaged. However, I took it to river city for an estimate and they informed me that the fork and frame had potential damage and needed to be replaced. Luckily, the drivers insurance was a breeze to work with sent me out a check (2009 price for a similar bike!) the next week.

    Should the driver’s insurance pay for the damage – Yes! Would you even think twice about this if they had hit your car?

    I did not file a report – so no advice there.

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  • OnTheRoad December 16, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    # 13

    The southern boundary for not riding on the downtown sidewalks used to be SW Jefferson.

    The Marriott is south of that.

    Waterfront park is also excluded from this prohibition.

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  • J. Free December 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    A few random scenarios from my own experiences might help to put this into perspective. All of them in one post would be too long, but in addition to the other answers about providing better data, there are also some reasons why even what seems like an amicable situation might require more accountability.

    Scenario one:

    Years ago, a van backed over me in Minnesota during the winter. The driver was backing up from an intersection to make way for a fire truck that was attempting to turn. As I saw the vehicle backing up, I tried to back up on my mountain bike, but the van had no rearview mirror, and didn’t see me. I was able to almost get out of the way, but his rear tire pinned me, and ran over my fork, front wheel, and my foot.

    Ironically, one of the firemen alerted the driver, who then drove forward to, running over me a second time. The driver seemed apologetic enough, and at the time, I didn’t believe I was suffering any serious injuries, so I was willing to settle privately. The only damage I noticed was that my front wheel had been warped pretty good, and he offered to replace it.

    We exchanged numbers, and he asked that I please only call him at home, since he was driving a company van, and was afraid his boss would give him trouble if he found out. I agreed, and then for weeks, he dodged my phone calls. During that time, I noticed I was beginning to limp, and learned I had sprained my ankle, so I wasn’t riding for a bit anyway.

    After I found out about the sprained ankle, I finally called his job, and he suddenly showed up at my house – not with a check, but with a cheap replacement wheel that wouldn’t have been worth putting on a Huffy. That, and he started complaining about me calling him at his job.

    At that point, I was informed by police that it was too late to file a report. When my foot was better, I went to the shop to buy a new rim, etc, and then discovered that my fork had a hairline crack. Turned out to be a rather expensive “accident” after all, and my efforts to be nice about it went largely unrewarded. You never know.

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  • peejay December 16, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    The driver’s deductible has nothing to do with it. The insurance company pays you for damages its customer did to you, full stop. Deductibles are for for people making claims against their own insurance company. The bigger the deductible, the lower the rate: it’s a market decision. You don’t get to choose the insurance company that a driver who hits you uses, so they cannot make you pay the deductible.

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  • peejay December 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Also, I read that it’s a great idea to photograph your bruises or any other injuries. A nice big bloody photo of a knee or an elbow looks great to a jury.

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  • bobcycle December 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Many of PDX East/West avenues that end at Naito offer a left turn lane and a right turn lane only options and do not account for bikes wanting to go straight to access Waterfront Park areas. This is a shortcoming that needs to be addressed by Plat City DOT, maybe BTA can lobby for us. I usually take the left turn lane staying to the right of the lane but going straight. Hmmmm… wonder if that move is legal?

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  • Jen December 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I’m sorry you got hit and hope you and your bike are ok – but as to a police report I’m pretty sure we are supposed to walk our bikes in a crosswalk…is this true?

    It is very difficult for drivers to see cyclists and pedestrians when it is dark and especially when it is rainy. Windows and mirrors fog up, our lights may not be as bright in the rain – I couldn’t even count how many folks I saw riding around during yesterday’s commute with no lights and dark clothing (I’m not saying you were one of them- I was over in Lloyd Ctr area)

    Please….fellow bikers, pedestrians and drivers – be extra careful this time of year! And wear lots of lights or lighter/reflective clothing. It could save your life.

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  • John December 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Yes, File a police report. The two people i know who got hit didn’t and ended up having recurring medical issues that cost more what they agreed to with the driver.

    Avoid biking on the sidewalk when ever possible, its not safe.

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  • Barney December 16, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I was doored awhile back on Broadway. The young guy who doored me admitted he didn’t check his mirror before opening his door into the bike lane and insisted that he wanted to “make it right”. I felt okay (despite flying off my bike and landing on my elbow and knee), so we exchanged info with the understanding that he would pay for damages to my bike. He corresponded regularly with me until I sent him the bill of $150 (really quite reasonable considering he could’ve doored someone with a $3,000 bike and it would’ve been much more), and he suddenly disappeared. Several attempts at contact and one guilt-tripping letter later, I had to give up on him and eat the repairs myself. I also got lucky that I didn’t have any lasting injuries. I’m not sure what the proper protocol is, but I would say the maximum effort to protect yourself legally will yield the best results. I wouldn’t trust anybody to voluntarily stick to their word after my dooring experience.

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  • nahbois December 16, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    It is my understanding that if there was property damage you HAVE TO FILE an accident report with the DMV. I did it with my bicycle accident. And yes you should also file a claim with his insurance. Get your bike fixed, that’s what insurance is for.

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  • Steve B. December 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    My experience is also that police will not write a report for an accident unless you’re getting picked up by an ambulance.

    It’s super lame and this lack of proper accountability for dooring, right-hooking, and other crashes MUST CHANGE. We can build all the infrastructure we want, but if we’re not taking these incidents seriously, there’s no way we’re going to get 25% of Portlanders on bikes.

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  • J. Free December 16, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Just as an aside, from someone who has not driven an automobile since nearly being killed by one 1999, and is quite lucky to be able to ride a bicycle these days, much less walk….

    Isn’t a little weird to talk so much about insurance being there to protect us, given that so many people who claim to be such avid bicycle advocates seem to be adamantly opposed to licensing and insurance for our own two-wheeled mode of transportation?

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  • Anonymous December 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    I was hit by a left-turning car a couple of years ago. Fortunately, I had only minor bruises and minor bike damage. However, I was completely shaken up and I did miss some time at work.

    The driver and I exchanged information and his insurance company contacted me a day or two later. He must have reported the incident to his insurer. His insurance company was very helpful and reimbursed me for my missed work time and repair costs. So if nothing else, definitely contact the driver’s insurance company to get them to cover your damages (that’s the point of insurance!).

    I also tried to report the incident to the police and had no luck. They didn’t care and wouldn’t help. I picked up an accident reporting form at the DMV but it’s car-centric and the check boxes and questions just didn’t work. So I ended up recycling the form.

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  • Roland Couture December 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    It’s prudent to file the police report simply to document what happened. “Just in case.” But I would strive to bypass the insurance in this. First call the driver, relate to him directly in the fashion of “human beings,” and ask if they’d be willing to replace your wheel. What are we talking, $40, $80? Sounds like this guy has a heart/conscience and will probably be more than happy to do it. You’re also offering him the chance to avoid a claim against his insurance and a possible rate hike, which is something he should appreciate.

    If he’s uncooperative, or if medical issues show up, then it’s insurance time. Whether you obeyed the law is irrelevant for insurance purposes, because unless things have changed in Oregon since I got hit, it’s a “no fault” state, meaning any cyclist or pedestrian hit by a car can make a claim against the driver’s insurance whether they were at fault in the accident or not. Their insurance should pay for any property damage or medical expenses. You still could be cited for any infractions though.

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  • craig December 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    I got hit. I got paid.

    POLICE? It won’t hurt, but it probably won’t help, unless you were seriously injured, hit-and-run (if they didn’t cooperate and exchange info, it’s a hit-and-run), or damages exceed some amount that I don’t know.


    CALL AN ATTORNEY? Heck yes, if you know you were right. Ray Thomas is the man (See Esther’s earlier post)

    DMV? Yes. That’s what the police AND his insurance company told me to do. File the “OREGON TRAFFIC ACCIDENT AND INSURANCE REPORT”. The web page is here and the form itself is here


    In June I was t-boned, more or less, in a residential intersection by a car running a stop sign. I didn’t feel hurt right away, and within about 10 seconds I snapped a photo of his front end and license plate with him behind the wheel. This is why God created camera phones.

    While he exited his car and started apologizing, I responded politely as I continued photographing my smashed bike, the intersection controls, a close-up of his front end, etc.

    When he offered to exchange info, he let me to PHOTOGRAPH his driver’s license and his insurance card, and even offered his business card. He was a nice guy. I also wrote his details, in case of a problem with the photos.

    I then went and wrote a way overly detailed account of everything that had happened. I emailed that to the guy (along with my photos) and invited him to respond, which he did not.

    He preferred to settle it privately, but was agreeable about going the insurance route.

    In my claim I included the day I took off of work to deal with all of these details (police, DMV, insurance, repair estimate), and they compensated me for it–they called it “mental suffering” instead of “time off work”.

    I took my bike to the Community Cycling Center for a damage/repair estimate and included that estimate, plus the cost for the CCC to do the inspection, in my claim as well, and they compensated me for it.

    I had a check from his insurance carrier–FARMERS–in about a week.

    I didn’t engage an attorney. This guy who hit me IS an attorney, with a transportation arm of a local governing body, and he knew I was going to win the day in any circumstance–I think the photos were my main security.

    “jim” is right. Using the crosswalk legally requires that you use it like a pedestrian, i.e. at walking speed, whether you’re riding or walking.

    Reply to my post if you’d like more details.

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  • Aaron December 16, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    ALWAYS file a report AND report to DMV

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  • X December 16, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    My advice is to do everything you could – file accident report at DMV, file a claim with the driver’s insurance, take pictures of your injuries, etc. It doesn’t hurt to do all of those things but if you didn’t do it, you might regret later. As far as injury goes, the pain might not kick in until later, you can then see a chiropractor/physical therapist.

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  • beth h December 16, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    # 32 wrote:
    >>Isn’t a little weird to talk so much about insurance being there to protect us, given that so many people who claim to be such avid bicycle advocates seem to be adamantly opposed to licensing and insurance for our own two-wheeled mode of transportation?

    Well, maybe. But this is the world we live in. Insurance is simply another mode of exchange in a marketplace economy where EVERYthing is assigned a value of some sort.

    And yes, I hope this woman calls a lawyer and files a report, even with a police department which is clearly not interested in car-bike collisions unless the CAR is damaged. Crazy world.

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  • SImon December 16, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    This guy seems willing to cooperate. If you not injured just ask him to pay to fix your bike. Why are people on here posting on how you can turn this into some financial windfall? The guy messed up, he admitted it. I bet he will pay to make it right without cops and insurance companies getting involved. Use this as a last resort. Who knows maybe you make a new friend by “accident”.

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  • Paul Johnson December 16, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    All accidents on the public right of way must be reported as soon as possible. Being a cyclist or a pedestrian does not absolve you of this requirement. I guess common sense isn’t common anymore…

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  • Insurance Man December 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    If you had to register and insure your bicycle you could make one phone call to your insurance company and the matter would get fixed.

    Bicyclists have no insurance to pay damages. If a bicyclist hits a ped and the ped is injured they have to sue the cyclist if they want $. guess what the uninsured cyclist is broke and the ped gets nothing. But the broke auto drivers insurance company has to pay out policy maximum limits. This is why insurance costs so much because everyone plays by different rules based on the status of their insurance policy.

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  • Common Sense Man December 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Insurance Man,
    I know you are trolling an I should resist…

    “one phone call to your insurance company and the matter would get fixed”
    You can. Anyone can choose to get personal injury insurance if they want.

    “If a bicyclist hits a ped and the ped is injured they have to sue the cyclist”
    Just like if a pedestrian injure a pedestrian – or, do you want to require insurance for walking as well? the difference here is that cyclist and pedestrians are not operating thousand pound vehicles where the slightest mistake can cause injury. Yes, I know bicycle-pedestrian and even pedestrian-pedestrian fatalities happen. However, neither are a leading cause of death, or injury.

    Don’t even get me started on “broke auto drivers insurance company”…

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  • jim December 16, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    We still want to know.
    How fast were you going in the crosswalk?
    Did you have a headlight?
    Did you have a tailight?
    This may or may not be the drivers fault

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  • Michael R December 16, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Roland #34

    Why bypass the insurance company? That’s what they’re there for.

    As others have related once a driver finds out how much the damage costs their cooperative attitude frequently takes a flier. On the other hand the costs for bike repair are very cheap to a car insurance company.

    Why do you assume the wheel is so cheap?

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  • Kyle December 16, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    I had a very similar situation over a year ago. I was going slowly enough across a crosswalk that when the car (never looking to their right as they took a right) bumped into me, I was able to hop off and land on my feet. The lady gave me her number and said she’d pay for it. I called the next day and told her the damage (only $60) and she proceeded to tell me that she’d talked to a cop and the cop had said that I had been in the wrong because bikes are not allowed in crosswalks and that she had come to a complete stop and looked both ways (which she didn’t). I didn’t know any better but didn’t care that much because she said she’d still send me a check.

    I started getting scared that maybe she wouldn’t, so I looked into the law and called a cop and both said she was completely in the wrong. Luckily I got my check and I was fine, but you never know. She could have changed her mind. I would say file a report!

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  • chris December 16, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    sorry to hear you were hit.

    where you crossing on clay, or columbia?

    I unfortunately have to drive (too many miles) into downtown each day, and I see near misses on clay at naito at least once a week.

    There is no crosswalk on the north side of clay, and about 10,000 commuters waiting to turn right onto naito from the freeway with a green right hand turn arrow.

    people on bikes think they can zoom across naito and nearly get clobbered because of this all the time!. I guess I should call PDOT.

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  • jim December 17, 2009 at 1:36 am

    I would think PDOT should welcome your input as good valuable constructive input that they should have an open ear to. Definately worth a shot.

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  • Mike December 17, 2009 at 2:56 am

    I would like to reiterate other people’s comments that if you were going faster than “walking speed” in the crosswalk you are legally at fault. You are also at fault if you did not have appropriate lighting.

    I don’t know what the circumstances were, but that’s something to seriously think about.

    That said, I would make an effort to make sure it gets officially reported since I have a feeling there are many more bike-car accidents then are reported in the official statistics. For example, when I got hit I didn’t report it, or even get the guys insurance information, and I’ve regretted it.

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  • chrehn December 17, 2009 at 6:38 am

    I agree that you should file a police report. It is the first step in legally protecting yourself and everyone else involved. For better or worse, we do live in a “legal” world.
    Also, remember that it is natural to be in shock after an accident, and we don’t always make perfect decisions in that condition.
    Good Luck.

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  • Ptld December 17, 2009 at 6:58 am

    The same thing happened to me (at a different intersection). I called the ladies insurance to file a claim which resulted in my bike being fixed by them. They also paid for my trip to the hospital. I didnt file a report with the police but should of at the time. That is my two cents.

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  • ben December 17, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Also you make a record for any other cyclists who get nailed by this person who hit.

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  • Anonymous December 17, 2009 at 7:59 am

    I got hit from behind a couple years ago and it was the driver fault. No damage to me but bent my back tire. We called the po9lice and filed with her insurance, who offered to pay.

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  • Brent December 17, 2009 at 8:27 am

    While riding my bicycle this past Labor Day, I was rear-ended by a car. I got the driver’s insurance information, ID, etc. I put my claim for damages to her insurance company, and after a fault-determining process, I was paid without problems. In the process, I discovered that my car insurance company (State Farm) also covers me while on a bicycle. In effect, the insurer treats bicycles the same as cars. I never bothered to file a police report, as I’m not sure what goal it would achieve.

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  • Kt December 17, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Insurance Man, #41, you are incorrect.

    Or maybe that’s the way your company works.

    I talked to my insurance agent when I started riding more and more, and he told me that my car insurance covers me when I am riding my bike. I asked him specifically about what I’m covered with when I’m a rider, and that’s what he said.

    Maybe my insurance company is one of the nice ones.

    And, as Common Sense Man has pointed out, you can get personal injury insurance.

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  • Paul Johnson December 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Remember, if you don’t report a driver that hits you to authorities, DMV will NOT record the fact that the driver hit a bicyclist. In other words, as far as the law is concerned, you were never hit. You owe it to the next guy to report ALL bad drivers.

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  • graveldan December 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    File the report, not so much for any legal reason but for documenting the encounter. Your incident may be the one that gets that intersection’s problem addressed

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  • Joe Rowe December 17, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Yes. Go to a police station and demand to file a report ASAP. You owe it to the potential next victim of this driver. AND… I’ve been burned by not filing a report, the driver who at first accepted total blame later gave false info and denied blame. The cops said I should have filed a report regardless.

    and YES, also report it on the close call system, which is also for impacts!!!

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  • SAG December 17, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Simon – #39

    I do not see anyone encouraging this person to seek a “windfall” of income from this accident.

    People are encouraging her to cover her grounds and make sure her injury and damage is taken care of.

    Sure this guy seems nice and if that is the case up to the payment for damages and injury great – but people have sited situations where time and again drivers have shrugged their responsibility and not come forward with the due compensation.

    She is best to cover all possibilities and hopefully it can be easily settled and she is rightfully compensated but she needs to be ready to take quick action.

    If there is a timeline on DMV/Police reports then now is the time to take care of those reports so that she has the documentation to follow up if need presents.

    So no seeking/encouraging windfall or gouging just covering the bases!

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  • Ayleen December 17, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    How about that timing… I’m filling out an accident report right now as a result of being struck from behind by a car last night. But these forms suck – they’re geared toward a motor vehicles and surely don’t make it easy for people riding bikes to complete the form accurately. Under “your vehicle” there is no spot to list a bicycle.

    Anyone out there have experience with these forms?

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  • Kevin H December 17, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    You do not need to be going “walking speed” while in a crosswalk. However, you need to enter the crosswalk at a “walking speed”. Once you are in the crosswalk, speed does not matter.

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  • Paul Johnson December 17, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Ayleen, you don’t know the year, make and model of your bicycle? Mine’s a ’98 Gary Fisher Wahoo.

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  • Maria December 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    As the cyclist who was hit, I appreciate all the tidbits and tips. For me, the challenge was to get back on my bike and not let the shock shatter my confidence for being an all-weather cyclist. The community of cyclists and commuters inspires me to keep pedaling.

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  • X December 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Go to the DMV and they’ll help you with the form, that’s what I did.

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  • Denny M. December 17, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    You might want to check local ordinances first. Here locally, as is the case in many communities, it is illegal to ride a bike in a crosswalk, period! You must ride in either the bike lane or traffic lane as you are also considered a vehicle. If in the crosswalk, you must be dismounted and walk your bike across. This is just another of many reasons why motorists get irritated with cyclists. Same for the individuals who ride against the traffic or on the wrong side of the road. And no, I too ride a trike, a Lightfoot Courier since my stroke left me with balance issues. I just believe in being a law-abiding cyclist.

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  • Faux Porteur December 17, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I was hit by a car in 2000 and I went down to my local precinct to pick up the forms. If you call the police and “demand” they take a report, you probably won’t get anywhere. Just go down to the precinct and fill out the forms. Not too complicated. Better safe than sorry. You get to draw pictures on it and everything.

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  • wsbob December 18, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Kevin H #60, I think the comment you made was essentially correct:

    “You do not need to be going “walking speed” while in a crosswalk. However, you need to enter the crosswalk at a “walking speed”. Once you are in the crosswalk, speed does not matter.”.

    I read the law yesterday, and found it a bit confusing. It does seem to imply though that a person riding a bicycle, having once entered a crosswalk at a walking speed, is legally able to accelerate to and travel across it at a faster speed.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t think I’ll be traveling very fast in the crosswalk on the bike if there’s cars anywhere near. The risk of those big critters not seeing and being able to stop for a fast moving bike in the crosswalk is just too much.

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  • jim December 18, 2009 at 10:33 am

    riding a bide through a crosswalk at riding spead would not give a driver amble time to react to such an action, he would have to lock up his breakes and be lucky not to hit the bike. It would be almost as if someone were running a red light

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  • craig December 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Denny M #64 “Here locally, as is the case in many communities, it is illegal to ride a bike in a crosswalk, period!”

    Where are you? Here locally–in Oregon–bikes ride in crosswalks[ORS 814.410]:

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  • Pete December 19, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Insurance Man (#41): My auto insurance company, Safeco, covers me while I’m bicycling. My former “broke” auto insurance company just got $85 Billion of my and my grandchildren’s tax dollars, and we don’t get a proxy vote on our shares. I think our ancestors referred to that as “taxation without representation.”

    Maria, I am glad to hear you are OK. Stay in the saddle, stay safe, and build your confidence to ride where you are seen. Sometimes that means riding in the street (“taking the lane”), often that means making sure you are never passing to the right of a motorist’s blind spot (when they are moving or about to). That includes crosswalks.

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  • jim December 21, 2009 at 1:11 am

    since she dodged the question I assume she had no headlight or tailight. she didn’t say how fast she was riding in the crosswalk either?

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  • […] Based on the large number of helpful responses to a reader's request for help back in December, I thought I'd make this a more regular feature. I'll try to do an "Ask […]

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