Pathway crash - who pays?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pathway crash - who pays?

    Last night on my commute home a 10 year old girl in the oncoming lane made a left hand turn literally 5 feet ahead of me. She was with her grandfather, grandmother, and brother. I was going about half speed because I had a bad headwind and I was trying to save a bit of gas in the tank for a mountain ride with my daughter when I got home. We collided almost head on. She got a bloody nose and was banged up pretty bad. I messed up my leg and may have got a slight concussion. My Bell Super 2 is pretty beaten up and my brake lever/shifter on my beloved 2005 custom c-cross bike got bent, scraped and a plastic piece broke off of it.

    I exchanged info with the grandfather and told him i would be in touch about the damages.

    I took my bike to my LBS. To get a new brake lever/shifter will be costly. My buddy there straightened the lever as best as he could and while it is still bent a bit, it seems to be functional. My helmet is probably ok, as I slid on it, more than any kind of blunt force impact.

    The little girl afterwards apologized over and over, and was crying, with a bloody nose and other abrasions.

    I decided to just let it go. I texted the grandfather and told him I would deal with my bike and helmet. He told me he spent the night going over biking safety with her. I had visions of that little girl paying her grandfather back out of her allowance for the rest of the summer, and couldn't deal with that.

    The whole thing sucks really bad, but I don't feel right taking money from the grandfather.

    Any of you guys been in a similar situation?

  2. #2
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    Glad no one was hurt badly. There's no way I would have taken money over this either.

  3. #3
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    Accidents happen unfortunately. Obviously the little girl didn't know better yet and learned a tough lesson. You're a good person for letting it go. I'd say it was the only way to go on this one.

    Now if the girl had been an adult who should have known better, it might be a different story. I guess it would depend on the interaction after the collision in that scenario.

    Glad no one was seriously injured.

  4. #4
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    Yikes, glad no one was hurt worse. I had a coworker who did Ironman competitions who told me he came across a scene on a popular pathway where a guy on a tri bike had crashed with a child on a bike, with them both scattered across the ground. He said someone had already called 911. I enjoy getting out now-and-then riding in some pathway traffic, I get a feeling of community. But kids and dogs can make it a bit scary. Nice of you to let the cost of the damage go; hard to fault a child. It does drive me crazy when you come across people who are just oblivious as to staying on the proper side of the path, I recently passed a young lady walking in the same direction I was traveling but way to the left, across the dashed line on the path, and of course she had earbuds in and didn't hear my call outs. I think I startled her a bit.
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  5. #5
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    You are a good person for letting it go. It's good you slowed down. I used to commute on a path that could get busy and when I came across families with little kids I would slow down to about 5MPH because you have to expect the unexpected with little kids. They are just too young to have situational awareness. Hope you get your bike fixed and your injuries help fast.

  6. #6
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    I was training for a tour and doing some fully loaded rides, which made it make sense to ride with the girlfriend and a couple of her friends.

    We got on a bike path and her friend turned into it without looking, directly in front of some guy. He locked it up and they avoided a crash, but he was understandably perturbed.

    I told her bike paths work exactly like roads, you have to yield to through traffic. "Oh, yeah that makes sense."

    Had to teach my GF the same thing about not passing other cyclists on the right!

    They're both very pragmatic and intelligent people, it's funny to me that these things did not come as common sense.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrallen View Post
    Accidents happen unfortunately. Obviously the little girl didn't know better yet and learned a tough lesson. You're a good person for letting it go. I'd say it was the only way to go on this one.

    Now if the girl had been an adult who should have known better, it might be a different story. I guess it would depend on the interaction after the collision in that scenario.

    Glad no one was seriously injured.
    I agree. Especially when it is a child because, well, they are after all still children and don't know better.

    It is the oblivious adults that rub me the wrong way.

    I too slow down anytime I see kids on or near the path, older adults too cuz they just don't hear as well. Yes, it is inconvenient, but a lot easier to live with than hurting someone badly.

    The newest irritant lately has been the e-bikes. The posted speed limit on our path is 15 mph. Some bikers, not to be named, are pushing around 20. The other day, one of those e-bikes passed me like I was standing still!!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    Yikes, glad no one was hurt worse. I had a coworker who did Ironman competitions who told me he came across a scene on a popular pathway where a guy on a tri bike had crashed with a child on a bike, with them both scattered across the ground. He said someone had already called 911. I enjoy getting out now-and-then riding in some pathway traffic, I get a feeling of community. But kids and dogs can make it a bit scary. Nice of you to let the cost of the damage go; hard to fault a child. It does drive me crazy when you come across people who are just oblivious as to staying on the proper side of the path, I recently passed a young lady walking in the same direction I was traveling but way to the left, across the dashed line on the path, and of course she had earbuds in and didn't hear my call outs. I think I startled her a bit.
    I'm not even sure you can blame the child in the crash scene with the triathlete. I did Ironman's for years and triathletes' reputation for terrible bike handling is well deserved as a group. Not all of them of course, but there is a large percentage of them that cause their own accidents. While I'm still friends with a lot of them, there are plenty of them I won't ride with for this reason.

    And earbuds! Seriously, they don't have to be so loud that you can't hear anything around you. Ok, ok. I'll stop ranting now. Sorry for the hijack.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrallen View Post
    I'm not even sure you can blame the child in the crash scene with the triathlete. I did Ironman's for years and triathletes' reputation for terrible bike handling is well deserved as a group. Not all of them of course, but there is a large percentage of them that cause their own accidents. While I'm still friends with a lot of them, there are plenty of them I won't ride with for this reason.

    And earbuds! Seriously, they don't have to be so loud that you can't hear anything around you. Ok, ok. I'll stop ranting now. Sorry for the hijack.
    Agreed, especially if they are riding on the aero bars.
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  10. #10
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    I'd wager if this ended up in court or arbitration they'd split fault. 70/30 or there abouts. If she was stationary or near at collision you may end up at 100% fault. Not a personal judgement, beleive me.

    I used to ride in NYC a lot. Saw tons of comical stuff on the paths in Central and Battery parks. Once my buddy and I came to an abrupt stop at a Y intersection with a stop sign in Battery park. A lady behind us clearly wasn't paying attention and wasn't ready for the shift in momentum. She comes sailing past us on a beach cruiser one hand on the handlebars one hand holding a cell phone to her ear. She makes these big swooping s-turn, surfed it right into the concrete. My buddy and I half amused make sure she's OK and what not. She gets up and starts to berate us. The whole time she's still on her phone & I swear she continued to hold the conversation mid crash. She would stop mid-berate and fill in the person on the other end of the line. My friend was dumbfounded, the proverbial deer in the headlights, as he was an out of towner visiting. Dog damn that was funny.
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  11. #11
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    Riding buddy broke his arm on a similar crash with a kid on a scooter... and that was on a public road. Kid was uninjured. Parents present but did not render aid.

    Back in the late 1990s, going maybe 10mph on a pathway on my MTB, a little kid wrestled free of her dad's hand and launched no-look across the path to see a bug or something on the far side. I managed to endo completely over top of her, bike staying behind and rider passing overhead. Good thing she was short. Her dad berated her for running off and left without asking if I was okay. I wasn't really okay, but I was more glad I hadn't flattened a kid.

    Now if it was the 56th off-leash dog I'd seen that day that took me down, I might feel differently about sharing responsibility. Ditto anyone with a motor.
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  12. #12
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    OP, sounds like you did the right thing. Well played.


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