Friday, July 29, 2011

Ticketed for Riding Outside A Bike Lane? Not in Ohio.

Here's a humorous but poignant video from a New York rider who was ticketed for not riding in the bike lane when it was available.

First, I'm impressed at his mad stunt-man skills.

Still, it makes for a fun, though somewhat frustrating viewing. The problems we have with the few bike lanes here in Columbus (trash build-up, lack of knowledge about how to operate in or near them from both cyclists AND motorists) don't even compare to the problems they have in the Big Apple.

People, not speed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Accidents While Sidewalk Riding: Who's At Fault?

Riding on the sidewalk - never a good idea.
I got an interesting question from David today - unfortunately I was away from my computer when he asked the question so I couldn't respond to him personally. But it's a situation that I think deserves a post, so here goes.

David's question (and it was in Google Chat so it was informal):
Hey Jamie my names David, I had a bit of a situation about a month ago and now its coming back on me pretty hard, and I was wondering if you had any insight. I was getting off of the olentangy bike trail onto third ave up near grandview and stayed on the sidewalk for a block before I got out into the road (traffic was flowing at a solid pace) I know now that I'm not supposed to ride on the sidewalk ever, but as I was pulling into the road a woman pulled out of the OSU Cancer research center and COMPLETELY blocked the crosswalk. having now where to go i t-boned her, and now, long story short, I'm being pursued to pay some ludicrous amount to fix her door.   
Is there anything you can think of that might be of some help to me? they told me i was going to have to shell out $1000 and now it seems like they want me to pay the whole thing! (almost $2500!) I'm a college student and i'm already just getting by as it is. As far as everything else goes, i was following the law. i had reflectors and lights. it just seems like she was just as at fault, considering the fact that she was all the way out past where she was supposed to stop.
Interesting question, and I'm going to restate it as I understand what was going on here:

  1. David was on the sidewalk to begin with, but was pulling out onto the road.  
  2. A motorist pulled their car out too far, and blocked the crosswalk.  This leads me to understand that David was in the crosswalk and was trying to pull onto 3rd Avenue. 
As much as I hate to say it, David was in the wrong here for his part.  Although it's enforced about as much as texting while driving, sidewalk riding is illegal, and David admittedly was doing that.  

However, what I don't know is whether he should be held responsible for the entire amount as the driver in this case was blocking the crosswalk, which, if I understand correctly is legally considered an extension of the sidewalk.  It seems to me, as a strictly non-lawyer type, that both parties are at fault here.  I don't know how that applies to financial responsibility for a collision, though.  

If anyone with legal experience has an idea of how this should be handled, I'd love to hear it!  

Note: along with the comments here, we've got an interesting conversation going with this on Google+. 

People, not speed.