Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy

Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby plugmeister » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:14 pm

Hi all,

I did a bit of a search but didn't find any similar topics, so apologies if this has already been addressed in other posts.

I was involved in an accident (in QLD) recently with a car that did a u-turn (without indicating) directly in front of a group of approx 15 cyclists. I was at the front of the group and hit the car with my bike, but luckily was not seriously injured. My bike also survived with some minor damage. Not so lucky was another member of the group who needed arm surgery and also copped some bike damage.

So far the (so called) driver of the car has not been charged or even copped a ticket. The third party insurance is yet to attribute blame (it takes up to 6 months here), and the driver is refusing to pay damages for the bike because "At no point did my motor vehicle ever come in contact with her or her bike. In fact i believe that the damage was caused by other bicycles using the road that morning. I believe that her injury and damage to her bicycle would of have been avoided if more attention was paid by the group of cyclists by leaving sufficient braking distance between bicycles as is required by vehicles using the roadway."

Does anyone know if this is a valid argument in QLD in this situation? i.e. if a bike does not physically hit the car, can the bike in front of that rider be deemed to be "at fault". In this case the vehicle pulled out when the group was < 10m away (riding at approx 30kmh) and is was carnage as the bikes tried to avoid the car.

At the moment, the cost of damage to the bike does not really justify paying for legal advice, but if the third party insurance takes the same stance, then it may become a tad expensive. If anyone can provide some guidance it would be much appreciated. I'd be happy to provide more info if required.

Cheers,

Plug
plugmeister
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 2:47 pm

by BNA » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:31 pm

BNA
 

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby AndrewBurns » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:31 pm

Have a look at this thread: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=53777

Essentially the same situation. Riders riding in close formation are forced to avoid collision with driver doing something stupid, rider goes down and is injured without ever actually contacting car. Police come and charge rider instead of driver. Rider contests the infringement notice in court and not only wins but costs are assigned to the police. This only happened because the rider was able to produce an expert in court who convinced the judge that bunch riding was not only safe but an essential cycling skill and there was video evidence that was given to police within 24 hours of the accident but had clearly not been considered.

Despite the fact that the rider in that situation won I can't say that it would be a sure thing and it's despicable how poorly the laws work in this circumstance.
Image
AndrewBurns
 
Posts: 992
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:36 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby maestro » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:51 pm

plugmeister wrote:Does anyone know if this is a valid argument in QLD in this situation? i.e. if a bike does not physically hit the car, can the bike in front of that rider be deemed to be "at fault". In this case the vehicle pulled out when the group was < 10m away (riding at approx 30kmh) and is was carnage as the bikes tried to avoid the car.


This could bit a tough one, and will depend on the details.

Firstly, if you are traveling behind another vehicle and they hit the brakes for *any* reason (and come to a stop solely by using their brakes, i.e. without hitting anything) then you would be in the wrong if you ran up the back of them.

If the vehicle in front hit something that moved into their path (i.e stopped faster than would normally be possible using the brakes) then it is *possible* that you may be able to claim that it was not your fault, especially if what they hit was moving in the opposite direction.

If you are struck from the side by someone reasonably trying to swerve to avoid an obstruction, then you should be able to claim that it was not your fault. It would depend on the circumstances as to whether you would have to pursue payment from the vehicle that swerved, or the vehicle that caused the obstruction.

The insurance company will blindly push their client's side of the story for as long as it suits them. I have been on the other side of this where I had an accident where the other driver and several witnesses all blamed me. I told the insurance company this and they told me that their job is to pursue it from my point of view. It turned out that the other driver and all the witnesses had no idea what the traffic rules were, and the insurance company was able to recover the money from the other driver.

They will prick it out as long as possible unless it is obvious to them that they will have to pay. You will either need to give up, or be ready to expend significant effort in order to follow it through. Don't bother starting a complaint unless you are prepared to call their bluff repeatedly.

It helps enormously to have the Police investigate and find the driver at fault. I believe that an investigation is compulsory whenever there have been injuries. Please make sure that this is reported to the cops as an accident where significant injuries were incurred and insist that they follow it through accordingly (asking questions about claiming from their compulsory third party insurance can prod the cops in this regard).

The number of witnesses will help, as long as all the cyclists give reports that don't contradict each other.

Don't wait to get started... The sooner you bring it to the cops attention that people intend to pursue for injuries, the more likely you are of getting them to investigate and find favourably in their report (insurance companies pay the police for a copy of their accident reports, I had one where the insurance refused to pay because the cop who attended the scene took extended leave soon after the accident. As soon as the cop came back, they got their report and I got my money).

Good luck, and keep at it.
maestro
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:06 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby Percrime » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:00 pm

If you hit the car.. even if you were sliding on your ass at the time.. its clearly his fault. You have 20 witnesses. You ought to be ok.
Percrime
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby plugmeister » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:31 pm

Thanks for the replies, I can provide some more info.

I was the only bike to hit the car as I called "carrrrrrrr!!!!!". I did the obligatory somersault onto the road and then got up relatevely unscathed to see a sea of bikes all over the road behind me, although I do recall a bike doing a roll on my left as I was somersaulting.....

It was an organised club ride and the injured person is my 14YO daughter. She swerved to avoid a collision with the car/other bikes and hit the road hard with her left arm and smashed her humerus in nine places in the process, so she didnt really collide with anything but the road due to the fact that the vehicle had pulled out unexpectedly.

My attempts to contact the police have been ignored so far (not returning my calls), so I will continue to try and get a resolution via the QLD police. I assume the third party insurance company (Allianz) must also be waiting for the police to finalise the matter before they "attribute blame" so it sounds like I need to push the cops as much as I can......
plugmeister
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby herzog » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:34 pm

Probably worth fronting up to the cop shop in person.
User avatar
herzog
 
Posts: 1429
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:50 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby biftek » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:36 pm

think of it as in terms of a cars involved in an accident , ther showtime rolls down the hill, the only cars that are directly involved are the two that intially were involved in the accident , everyone else has to seek payment from the vehicle in front or behind

edit just read the latest post
stuff with the phone calls , phone calls get you no where quick fast , they will spew any crap over the phone , go down to the cop shop and talk to somewhere there ,
biftek
 
Posts: 475
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 7:57 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby Oxford » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:40 pm

find the sticky in my name and use the template, write to a police commissioner for the region where the accident happened seeking action and attention to the matter. leaves a nice paper trail and someone has to take responsibility for investigating the matter.
Life is not about waiting for the rain to pass.....it's about learning to dance (or ride) in the rain.
- anonymous
Oxford
 
Posts: 4506
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:49 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby manlyman » Sun Sep 02, 2012 9:39 pm

I'm sorry to hear about your daughter. I sincerely hope she recovers soon.

As medical attention was required this in a major motor vehicle accident and requires mandatory investigation by the QPS from the District if occurred in. My advice would be to contact Police Link and report the matter for an investigation to be commenced.

If you have reported the matter and you are unhappy with the investigation/customer, Oxford is right, I would right the complaint to the Commissioner of Police. This will cause things to move very quickly. Any complaint of inaction or lack of customer service needs to be in writing.

In the Australian Road Rules a vehicle is a motor vehicle and bike. The same rules, albeit some exceptions. Obviously the motor vehicle was initially at fault for the u-turn without safety. It sounds as if your Daughter was trying to avoid an accident. However, there may be some grey area. Cyclists are like motor vehicles as they have to keep a safe distance and if you collide into the rear of another vehicle you are at fault. However this seems different and the motor vehicle turned suddenly into your pack and she was avoiding to hit the car. You may want to conduct some further research on the Road Rules on-line. Alternatively, ask to speak to someone form your local traffic branch in the QPS and they should be more than happy to point you in the right direction with some advice.

If you disagree with the insurance company what about the Small Claims Tribunal through QCAT? It covers damaged caused by a motor vehicle to property. If you go that far you just represent yourself and say what happened etc. However they aways promote the party getting together, mediating and coming to an agreement. I don't think it is worth legal costs unless your daughter is seriously injured (fingers crossed).

http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/about-qcat/p ... s-overview
manlyman
 
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:28 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby zero » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:21 pm

The police process doesn't stop you from sending a letter of demand for the costs, nor does it stop you from hiring legal advice and getting them to get a claim made against the drivers CTP. Personal and property injury claims are based on negligence, not on whether or not the driver is charged with a criminal offence.

Being charged and convicted just simplifies your task somewhat.

If your daughter was travelling sufficiently close to not avoid the mess, then the driver has also failed to give way to her - one only has to watch overtaking accident videos between drivers to see quite a few drivers hit the dirt and roll over etc, without actually being struck by the at-fault party (which is why video rolling on a ride or in a car is not a bad thing for improving the odds of you being compensated for others foolishness when it harms you).

For the medical bills at least, what the driver thinks or wants to do, or the economic circumstances of the driver, really shouldn't matter much, thats what the CTP system is for - and its the insurer that winds up in court (usually trying to keep their driver off the stand).
zero
 
Posts: 2579
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:54 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby human909 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:14 am

Legally, getting the costs medical and property paid for by the car should be straight forward.

It is quite clear that the car driver failed in their duty of care and due to their negligence caused the damage.
human909
 
Posts: 4192
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby cp123 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:18 am

9 places? man - her arm must've looked like a bowl of cornflakes. :| i hope ms plugdaughter is on the mend.
cp123
 
Posts: 897
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:50 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby tallywhacker » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:10 am

in WA this applies

32. U turns generally
(1) A driver shall not commence a U turn unless —
(a) the turn can be made with safety and without interfering with the movement of other traffic; and
(b) the driver has a clear view of any approaching traffic.
Points: 2 Modified penalty: 2 PU
(2) A driver making a U turn shall give way to all vehicles and pedestrians.
Points: 3 Modified penalty: 2 PU
(3) A driver making a U turn shall commence the U turn —
(a) if the carriageway where the driver is turning has a dividing line or median strip — from the lane nearest, or as near as practicable, to the dividing line or median strip; or
(b) in any other case — from the left of the centre of the carriageway.
Points: 2 Modified penalty: 2 PU
Ever since the vasectomy...I mostly ride fixed.
User avatar
tallywhacker
 
Posts: 1588
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:21 pm
Location: on the road

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby jules21 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:47 pm

plugmeister - take the driver to court. you don't need a lawyer for such a simple case. it would help if you had independent witnesses, but your fellow cyclists would still help.

as others have noted, remember that you aren't taking action against the driver for breaking the road rules, but for negligence causing damages to you/your daughter/others. if there were a whole stack of bikes on the ground - it sounds to me like there may have been quite a lot of property damage. bikes are very fragile and highly tuned pieces of equipment.. the damage may not even be apparent until later, after riding a bit. 15 bikes, that could add up to quite a bit...
Image
User avatar
jules21
 
Posts: 8376
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:14 pm
Location: somewhere out in the melbourne rain

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby plugmeister » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:43 pm

Thanks for all the comments and feedback. Recovery is slow, but making progress (impressive scar as well). I'll definitely head down to the local Police Station to get things moving while I wait for the CTP claim to be resolved (probably try and push that a bit as well).

As for my daughters bike damage, it looks like QCAT is the best option these given the stance being taken by the motorist.

Thanks again, much appreciated.

I'll keep you posted....

Plug.
plugmeister
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed May 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby AndyTheMan » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:53 pm

In the Australian Road Rules a vehicle is a motor vehicle and bike. The same rules, albeit some exceptions. Obviously the motor vehicle was initially at fault for the u-turn without safety. It sounds as if your Daughter was trying to avoid an accident. However, there may be some grey area. Cyclists are like motor vehicles as they have to keep a safe distance and if you collide into the rear of another vehicle you are at fault.


I read this thread a few hours ago and the stance taken by the motorist bemuses me.

If we imagine that there were no cyclists involved, only cars....so lets say 10 cars are following each other.

One of the motorists undertakes a u-turn, the car immediately following hits the turning car... but 3 cars back, another car runs off the road and hits a tree. Are we seriously saying that the car that did the u-turn is not to blame for this car hitting a tree, because the car that ran off the road should have left sufficient room to stop?

Do you need to leave sufficient room to stop for someone that may, or may not, undertake a dangerous u-turn?

So on my way home on the main road today, if I do a u-turn, and another car runs off the road to avoid a collision, I'm not to blame because the other car didn't actually come into contact with mine?


OR LETS SPIN IT AROUND...

There is a cyclist.... the cyclist is cruising along in traffic and then makes a sudden turn. He is hit by the car immediatley following him, doing some damage to the car....but 2 cars behind that one, another car veers off the road and into a post.... Cyclist not to blame? The car which is 2 or 3 cars back is entirely responsible?

I really want to know that outcome of this, cause I could have plenty of fun causing accidents, but not being responsible unless another vehicle actually comes into contact with mine!!

Surely, whether or not a vehicle comes into contact with the person making an illegal manouvre is not the test for responsibility...
AndyTheMan
 
Posts: 259
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:52 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby diggler » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:01 am

My 2 cents worth.

If they were all cars, the driver made a dangerous u turn and didn't give you any chance to react, so he is obviously liable for your damages. The following cars should have left enough gap so they could slow down and avoid a collision. These following cars would be liable for the damage they cause.

The complicating factor is that these are bicycles. The expert in that other case said it is safer to ride as a pack. Very interesting. Does that mean different rules apply to bicycles? Is a pack of cyclists like 1 big vehicle? I'd like to think it was, but I'm not sure the law sees it that way. I think the law sees them as seperate vehicles.
That's what a fool does. I'm invincible, I'm paying money ... uh ... The girl's happy, she's got no money, I got my rocks off. How good is this?
diggler
 
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby BLABBER » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:41 am

Your insurance should cover this,let the insurance companies fight over it-after you have been paid out.
You do have insurance dont you ?
BLABBER
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:03 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby skull » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:21 am

BLABBER wrote:Your insurance should cover this,let the insurance companies fight over it-after you have been paid out.
You do have insurance dont you ?

Funny you ask,

I do as do most cyclists who race under a CA license or some other sort of cycling body.
User avatar
skull
 
Posts: 1592
Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2007 9:48 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby human909 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:52 am

diggler wrote:My 2 cents worth.

If they were all cars, the driver made a dangerous u turn and didn't give you any chance to react, so he is obviously liable for your damages. The following cars should have left enough gap so they could slow down and avoid a collision. These following cars would be liable for the damage they cause.

The complicating factor is that these are bicycles. The expert in that other case said it is safer to ride as a pack. Very interesting. Does that mean different rules apply to bicycles? Is a pack of cyclists like 1 big vehicle? I'd like to think it was, but I'm not sure the law sees it that way. I think the law sees them as seperate vehicles.


When it comes to a civil case the law does not necessarily depend on road rules.
human909
 
Posts: 4192
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:48 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby diggler » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:29 am

human909 wrote:
diggler wrote:My 2 cents worth.

If they were all cars, the driver made a dangerous u turn and didn't give you any chance to react, so he is obviously liable for your damages. The following cars should have left enough gap so they could slow down and avoid a collision. These following cars would be liable for the damage they cause.

The complicating factor is that these are bicycles. The expert in that other case said it is safer to ride as a pack. Very interesting. Does that mean different rules apply to bicycles? Is a pack of cyclists like 1 big vehicle? I'd like to think it was, but I'm not sure the law sees it that way. I think the law sees them as seperate vehicles.


When it comes to a civil case the law does not necessarily depend on road rules.


Excellent post! The real issue is negligence and this does not necessarily correlate with whether or not you follow the road rules.
That's what a fool does. I'm invincible, I'm paying money ... uh ... The girl's happy, she's got no money, I got my rocks off. How good is this?
diggler
 
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby Percrime » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:31 am

We actually had a variation on this accident the other week. Freeway. Left turn lane is full of traffic. Our hero stops dead in left lane alongside left turn lane. Woman in barina brakes... swerves to dodge him. Semi behind brakes.... swerves .. bounces off my subaru.. runs over woman in barina. Our hero looks around at the noise...pootles off.
Percrime
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:41 am

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby Kenzo » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:44 am

BLABBER wrote:Your insurance should cover this,let the insurance companies fight over it-after you have been paid out.
You do have insurance dont you ?


Bicycle insurance - specifically damage caused by a bicycle to person or property is covered under a person's general contents insurance - no special insurance required - none at all. It's called public liability. Same if you drop your mobile phone off a bridge and it hits/injures someone below or smashes through a car window causing a freeway pile-up - it is covered by your contents insurance should they claim against you... within limits of course - up to 10 or 20 million dollars.

However - cover for the damage to the bicycle itself is hard to find at a reasonable price.
This is the issue here - not the damage to the third party.
User avatar
Kenzo
 
Posts: 1679
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:13 am
Location: Daisy Hill / Brisbane, Southside FTW

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby diggler » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:11 pm

Kenzo wrote:
BLABBER wrote:Your insurance should cover this,let the insurance companies fight over it-after you have been paid out.
You do have insurance dont you ?


Bicycle insurance - specifically damage caused by a bicycle to person or property is covered under a person's general contents insurance - no special insurance required - none at all. It's called public liability. Same if you drop your mobile phone off a bridge and it hits/injures someone below or smashes through a car window causing a freeway pile-up - it is covered by your contents insurance should they claim against you... within limits of course - up to 10 or 20 million dollars.

However - cover for the damage to the bicycle itself is hard to find at a reasonable price.
This is the issue here - not the damage to the third party.


I'm a little confused by this. Are you suing against the motorists public liability insurance?

I don't have public liability insurance so you can't assume everybody does.
That's what a fool does. I'm invincible, I'm paying money ... uh ... The girl's happy, she's got no money, I got my rocks off. How good is this?
diggler
 
Posts: 431
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:23 pm

Re: Law relating to accident involving a group of cyclist

Postby Kenzo » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:25 pm

diggler wrote:
Kenzo wrote:Bicycle insurance - specifically damage caused by a bicycle to person or property is covered under a person's general contents insurance - no special insurance required - none at all. It's called public liability. Same if you drop your mobile phone off a bridge and it hits/injures someone below or smashes through a car window causing a freeway pile-up - it is covered by your contents insurance should they claim against you... within limits of course - up to 10 or 20 million dollars.

However - cover for the damage to the bicycle itself is hard to find at a reasonable price.
This is the issue here - not the damage to the third party.


I'm a little confused by this. Are you suing against the motorists public liability insurance?

No - you would be suing against the motorists Compulsory Third Party Insurance for the injury... and trying to claim against the car driver's *general car insurance for the damage to the bikes

diggler wrote:I don't have public liability insurance so you can't assume everybody does.

Then you sir or ma'am - are taking an incalculable risk on your lifestyle, your family's lifestyle and the life of anyone you may injure - especially if you cause a permanent disability to the person you hurt. Just either get contents insurance OR join BNSW, Bicycle Vic or BQ or whatever org in your state - liability is included .. that's all it takes...

*general = either Comprehensive Insurance or Third Party Property Insurance. If the car driver has no insurance whatsoever - then a heap of lawyers get involved if the driver wants to fight it.
User avatar
Kenzo
 
Posts: 1679
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:13 am
Location: Daisy Hill / Brisbane, Southside FTW

Next

Return to Cycling Safety and Advocacy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Support BNA
Click for online shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Cycling Express Cycling Express
Ebay Ebay AU
ProBikeKit ProBikeKit UK
Evans Cycles Evans Cycles UK
JensonUSA Jenson USA
JensonUSA Competitive Cyclist