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  1. #1
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    Damage from Boston Potholes...

    Yesterday afternoon I was coming down Pond St. toward Jamaica Plain (part of the city of Boston) on my road bike at about 25 mph and hit a nasty pothole that was about 4-6" deep with a straight edge at the back of it. It was riding in the middle of the right shoulder on a fairly narrow stretch of the road and was being passed by car at the time, didn't see it with much time to spare, tried in vain to bunny hop it, and completely cracked my front rim and went over the handlebars. I landed on my left side and scraped up my face (I was wearing a helmet), arms, hands, wrecked my eyeglasses, watch, etc. The girl who was passing me was nice enough to stop and give me a lift home.

    Today I went for a walk up there and took a bunch of pictures of the pothole. I also did some research last night on the web and found the city of boston has a process and form for filing for reimbursement for damages from potholes. Related to this I read through some of Bob Mionske's legally speaking columns on velonews.com, and at least in the state of Michigan, statues covering damage caused by potholes were shown in court to apply also to bicycles.

    Has anyone tried this procedure in Boston (or anywhere else) of trying to obtain compensation? I really would like to avoid anything to do with lawyers and litigation and hopefully the process is pretty straightforward, any advice would be appreciated. One of the confusing aspects of the form is that it may require estimates for damage incurred, which for most people would be for an automobile and an estimate would be easily obtained at an auto shop, but I'm not sure if bike shops are set up for giving estimates for accident damage, are they? thanks.

  2. #2
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    Good you`re in one piece yourself! I don`t have any experience regarding the compensation matter but I`d suggest you contact one of the bigger bike stores (international bicycle center for instance) and ask them wht they think. I just spent two weeks cycling in the Netherlands and the contrast with the roads here (in Boston) couldn`t be bigger. Not keeping a close watch on the road here can indeed be suicidal. Good luck and safe riding.
    Cheers
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  3. #3
    mdc
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    I had the same thing (kinda) happen to my car in Newport RI a few years back. A monster pothole took out 2 tires, rims and hubcaps. I filled out the claim form, got estimates and received a check about 3 months later. Any bike shop should be able to write up an estimate for the wheel, but you may also want to add in for any other gear that was wrecked or damaged as well (shorts torn, helmet, gloves etc.). Most likely the city will pay you based on actual cash value ( replacement cost minus depreciation) so definately add up anything and everything that was damaged. I am sure they would rather pay for some damaged bike gear than get sued for serious physical injury.......

  4. #4
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    Ouch!

    Sorry to hear about your crash, but glad to hear you're okay.

    I've had my fair share of run-ins with potholes/bad roads in Boston. One bit of information I can offer, which might be of help to you, is car and insurance related. A few years back my car was hit by a city vehicle. I learned that the city of Boston is self-insured, which just means they pay out all claims themselves, rather than through an insurance company. It works nicely for them and badly for you, since in this regard they're not required to pay a claim within the legal limit of (I think it was) 30 days. I sent them three damage estimates, waited for their representative to look at my car and confirm it was indeed damaged, and after 3 months, repeated calls (yes, I was as polite as I could be under the circumstances), and much aggravation, they finally offered me a low-ball sum. They basically told me to accept it or go take it up with small-claims court. If the damage sum is under a certain amount, you'd file a claim in small-claims court; no lawyer, etc. is needed. This might expedite the payment of your claim, as the city is a mind-bendingly slow bureaucracy. I was massively pissed, so I wound up writing series of irate letters... and moved out of the ^@&#%&$ city. That's right, if you own a car in the city of Boston your annual Excise tax is levied for the roads. Nice joke, huh?

    I don't know if this helps you in repairing your bike damage, but dealing with the city hall of Boston is a bear. You might try consulting the nice folks at www.massbike.org for specific advice on dealing with reimbursement for bike damage, and ask their help with regards to the best (and least agrivating) way to proceed.

    Also, any reputible bike shop will provide you with a written estimate of the cost of repairs. You should include the cost of replacing your helmet, glasses, etc. The people at Wheelworks in either Belmont or Somerville, and International Bike in Brighton, are top-notch, and I'm sure wouldn't mind helping you out.

    Please post what information you discover in dealing with this issue. I, and others in the area I'm sure, would appreciate knowing the outcome.

    Best of luck, and hope you heal up quickly.

  5. #5
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    thanks everybody who wrote in with their ideas, i took lots of pictures of the offending pothole, my scrapes, and damaged stuff, and need to go down to city hall next week to expedite the process in person. i've read several books on boston/massachusetts politics and have lived in the city for 8 years, so I am unfortunately all too acquainted with the disfunctional nature of this city on the hill. I had my car stolen 3 times and broken into a few more times in that period and every time have been met with at best indifference when filing police reports. pretty much any felony short of murder here isn't taken seriously, and they can't even solve 95% of those cases. we could go on forever about this and the abysmal accomidations made for bikes in this city (I fondly recall my first dooring riding on the suicidal hyde park ave. last summer) so i'll let the forum get back to nicer things like trails and such and will post an update if and when i resolve this with the city.

  6. #6
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    Ahh... so you mean I'm not the only one with righteous rage at the city?

    You're right, it can be commented on without end, better to focus on the fun stuff. Best of luck resolving things, and please do post the outcome when you can.

    Mr. P.

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