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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I had my first motorcycle accident in 8 years of riding!

It was on a busy three lane road. I was riding on the right side of the middle lane. I was protecting my lane from all the stopped cars I saw in the right lane ahead (in case one of them decided to pop out). Then suddenly an SUV swerves into my lane from the left as though he was trying to avoid something.

I couldn't swerve into the right lane because I didn't have enough space to avoid rear ending the stopped car. And there was no way I was going to let that SUV come into contact with me! So I brake hard, braced for impact and let my bike slide on the side of the stopped car. As I lost control I hit the rear corner of the second stopped car. Then I fell to the left as the bike toppled over to the right. The SUV drove off. No witnesses stopped. And I doubt those stopped cars saw anything that happened.

And all this happened within a couple seconds. The impact happened at about 20mph. I've avoided many accidents before but this one caught me off guard. I know I probably didn't make the best move. What would you guys have done in this situation?

As for damages:
Both the headlights and the bracket need replacement. The gauge cluster is cracked. The left mirror broke off with the bracket. The ride side handlebar end is damaged. The engine covers on the right side is scratched up as well. Also my rear brake pedal broke off. One last thing is the scratch on the right passenger footpeg.

As for me, I'm getting checked up by a doctor today to make sure nothing is cracked. I had my Alpinestar jacket which saved my right arm from injury. I didn't have my matching riding pants which could have prevented the bruises on my right leg. My chest has bruises from hitting the gas tank and flying forward.

I consider myself very, very, very lucky. You guys be careful out there!
What's the best dealership in Southern California for collision repair?
Any advice is appreciated!

 

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Hope you will be OK.. but trying to answer question "what to do in such situation":
Had somewhat similar experience when the guy looked at me, then pulled right in front of me like I was invisible. He said that he didn't notice me (6'2", 200lbs in hi-viz red jacket), that he was loooking at the traffic light behind me.
But to the point: first question that cop asked me was "did you make a contact with the car entering your right of way". If not, it is your fault - this is considered that you just lost control of the bike. So what to do in such situation? Always stay closer to the guy that is moving, it is possible that you both act to avoid accident. If this is however going to happen, better get glancing blow from him - then there is no question whose fault it was.
As described, it looks like your insurance will be paying for your bike and damage to these 2 cars. But it seems like you're alright - wish you luck, you'll get on bike soon enough.
 

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Hope you will be OK.. but trying to answer question "what to do in such situation":
Had somewhat similar experience when the guy looked at me, then pulled right in front of me like I was invisible. He said that he didn't notice me (6'2", 200lbs in hi-viz red jacket), that he was loooking at the traffic light behind me.
But to the point: first question that cop asked me was "did you make a contact with the car entering your right of way". If not, it is your fault - this is considered that you just lost control of the bike. So what to do in such situation? Always stay closer to the guy that is moving, it is possible that you both act to avoid accident. If this is however going to happen, better get glancing blow from him - then there is no question whose fault it was.
As described, it looks like your insurance will be paying for your bike and damage to these 2 cars. But it seems like you're alright - wish you luck, you'll get on bike soon enough.
I can't speak for Georgia law, but you comment about who's at fault is a little misleading and would not be true in most states and I would venture a guess that a more thorough polling of authorities in Georgia would say that it doesn't apply there as well.

Causing an accident, whether or not you actually hit another car, is still causing an accident. I've investigated accidents similar to this and cited drivers for causing a crash even though they didn't hit anyone themselves. Haven't had one kicked back yet. Based on the story here, you have an SUV driver who made an illegal lane change. This would be considered the cause of the accident.

Where it gets squirrely is in the fact that the motorcyclist didn't have any witnesses or license plate for the truck. Then it becomes a "he said - she said" sort of problem.

F-Dog
Deputy Sheriff in Oregon
 

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Here in Wisconsin its an unsafe lane deviation by the SUV, the driver gets cited not you. Granted you or someone else would have to get the plate or have a witness verify the story.

As for what I would do, I try to stay out of peoples blind spot and never ride side by side. Granted the person might have been passing you and there was nothing you could do. I've had too many close calls with large trucks nearly running me off the road. Accelerate past or slow down. Always drive defensively.

Hope you get better soon
 

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Thank the lord your are alive. That's always a good day. Flying dog Is right. But u have to have be able to identify driver of unit x is in order to make a claim or suit against them. Sometimes you luck out any all kinds of people stick around to give help and sometimes eberyone leave you bleeding on the ground.
 

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Sorry to hear about your accident. The dealer in Brea gets good reviews. Might also want to check with Cohen Motorsports in Placentia. He just did work on my 02 and was very reasonable and insightful.
 

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Hate to hijack the thread, but let me reply once more.
F-Dog, you're right, in theory it should work this way. In real life, however, it doesn't.
There are two wrong assumptions on your part: that the cop will be sympathetic to the biker and that the other party will be willing to incriminate him/herself. You're bike riding LEO and probably skewed to be more understanding of such traffic situations. For most cops bikers in any case are presumed guilty, those speeding, stunting and generally crazy individuals who should be banned from public roads for sake of general safety. Check publications (MCN articles, news, long list of examples provided by AMA etc) for evidence. And what the cop says by his ticket allocation is the on the spot sentencing, court is just the ritual dance to make collection of fine into ceremony. In my case first question was about the contact with the other vehicle, the next - how far the car entered my lane, specifically it was that deeper then half the lane width. All was leading to establish if I could have avoided the car, and if possibly my lack of skill was at fault. Didn't work, the car driver misread question and confirmed that he entered more than half deep into lane.
Your other assumption is is that the driver, even if he stops to check on fallen biker, will be willing to take the blame. Typical scenario is that he/she would say "I tried to change lanes and suddenly this crazy biker came flying past me, lost control and fallen to ground". So you will have situation of "he said - she said" and outcome depends on predisposition of the LEO - see above.
In the ideal world rules cited by you do work, cops are impartial and faithfully uphold the law, and courts are to serve justice, not to collect money for county. Now back to reality.
 

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Bohdan, your right. No matter what, when you are in an accident you are at the mercy of the officer and the witness' and/or the other party. Cops just like the easy way out and that is to blame whoever did the hitting and/or use the old standard of going too fast for conditions. This can include just doing 1 mph on a dry road. :eek:

I had an accident with my S3 at the end of January and cannot remeber anything but two small fractions of time. I can't even remember getting on Speedy. The report was crap and it caused more questions than it cleared up. I just found out that two officers were on the scene questioning the two witness' but only one wrote up the report. I truly believe one of the witness' caused my accident by making a right turn into my lane. I believe I avoided him but made a mistake of accelerating while trying to brake and then lost control and went down.

The officers were part of the SFPD traffic division and should have made a thorough report. I have complained to the city and am still waiting for their findings. No matter what the complaint will be in the officers jacket until he retires. I wish I could remember anthing else about my missing three hours but can't so I am most likely SOL in this FUBAR situation.
 

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Sorry about your accident and glad your ok. Hopefully you won't have to spend too much to get your bike on the road again. I was able to repair my bike under the radar after my spill for hardly anything. New handle bar, clutch lever, stator cover, bar end. I removed the rear foot pegs. good luck!
 

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It's even worse if the person who hit you is a good looking blond ex-stripper and the cop filling out the report is young ( and dirty, just like his older brothers ) and under the impression that how he fills out the report doesn't really matter because "no fault ins. will take care of it"

Except no fault ins. doesn't apply to motorcycles in NYS.

So despite said ex-stripper saying to the cop and the ambulance driver "I'm so sorry, I didn't even see him" you have a hell of a time proving your case. The police report, whether correct or not, is the single most important document since it constitutes "expert testimony". In NY at least no contact apparently means no fault.
Hate to say that Bohdan pretty much nailed the sad reality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you all for the encouraging words!
And don't apologize for the "hijack." It's good discussion for future reference.

I was lucky to have a sheriff deputy come to the scene to block traffic while I was still dazed on the asphalt. He immediately called his colleagues to do a proper report. The deputies interviewed everybody and concluded that I wasn't the cause of the accident. They even warned me the insurance companies might see it a different way. I currently have a lawyer helping me sort this out.

After a checkup, it doesn't seem like anything is fractured. I just have a bruised ribcage from hitting the tank & taking out one of the mirrors. My whole right side is sore and bruised. I think my injuries were reduced by wearing the proper gear--especially my gloves! Seeing how bad one of my fingers is banged up, I'm sure I would have lost it if it weren't for my padded gloves!

South Bay Triumph was literally on the same block as the accident. Seeing how good their reputation is, I might take it to them for the repairs. I also like the guys at Brea too (and it's closer to my house).

For now, I'm back in the cage and thankful to still be well enough to work!
 

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Bohdan, your right. No matter what, when you are in an accident you are at the mercy of the officer and the witness' and/or the other party. Cops just like the easy way out and that is to blame whoever did the hitting and/or use the old standard of going too fast for conditions. This can include just doing 1 mph on a dry road. :eek:

I had an accident with my S3 at the end of January and cannot remeber anything but two small fractions of time. I can't even remember getting on Speedy. The report was crap and it caused more questions than it cleared up. I just found out that two officers were on the scene questioning the two witness' but only one wrote up the report. I truly believe one of the witness' caused my accident by making a right turn into my lane. I believe I avoided him but made a mistake of accelerating while trying to brake and then lost control and went down.

The officers were part of the SFPD traffic division and should have made a thorough report. I have complained to the city and am still waiting for their findings. No matter what the complaint will be in the officers jacket until he retires. I wish I could remember anthing else about my missing three hours but can't so I am most likely SOL in this FUBAR situation.
It's standard procedure for one officer to compile an accident report. Your assumption that both should have written a report is just that an assumption. Given that you don't remember anything that happened, its clear (and unfortunate) that you can't possibly have anything informed to say about the incident. I would be interested in hearing what you thought the officer should have done.

Made the mistake of accelerating instead of braking??? :eek: Motorcycling isn't for dilettantes, the only way to learn how to react to these type of incidents is to practice and become proficient.

Regarding the officer's service jacket; Only "sustained" complaints are kept. Police departments are wise to the common practice of making complaints about an officer as a way of getting back at them for finding you at fault. It's an unfortunate fact of life that people lie to the police as surely as the sun rises in the east. That's not saying that you are lying, but given that you don't actually remember anything that happened, how do you know that the officer didn't do what they were supposed to do? Are there other witnesses that you know about, other evidence to be examined? My guess is that this one will end up in the round file due to your being unable to present any evidence that what you said is true...remember, " wish I could remember anthing else about my missing three hours but can't".

Beyond that, here's to hoping you've made a full recovery. I've only had one trip to the hospital for a motorcycle crash and that was 27 years ago when a very large dog ran from between two cars. I didn't even have time to think about it before I was on the ground. Now I go slower in neighborhoods with cars parked at the curb and always think about that dog.

F-Dog
 

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Hate to hijack the thread, but let me reply once more.
F-Dog, you're right, in theory it should work this way. In real life, however, it doesn't.
There are two wrong assumptions on your part: that the cop will be sympathetic to the biker and that the other party will be willing to incriminate him/herself. You're bike riding LEO and probably skewed to be more understanding of such traffic situations. For most cops bikers in any case are presumed guilty, those speeding, stunting and generally crazy individuals who should be banned from public roads for sake of general safety. Check publications (MCN articles, news, long list of examples provided by AMA etc) for evidence. And what the cop says by his ticket allocation is the on the spot sentencing, court is just the ritual dance to make collection of fine into ceremony. In my case first question was about the contact with the other vehicle, the next - how far the car entered my lane, specifically it was that deeper then half the lane width. All was leading to establish if I could have avoided the car, and if possibly my lack of skill was at fault. Didn't work, the car driver misread question and confirmed that he entered more than half deep into lane.
Your other assumption is is that the driver, even if he stops to check on fallen biker, will be willing to take the blame. Typical scenario is that he/she would say "I tried to change lanes and suddenly this crazy biker came flying past me, lost control and fallen to ground". So you will have situation of "he said - she said" and outcome depends on predisposition of the LEO - see above.
In the ideal world rules cited by you do work, cops are impartial and faithfully uphold the law, and courts are to serve justice, not to collect money for county. Now back to reality.
B-

The facts is that it does work this way, not in theory, not every time, but in the vast majority of cases.

Cops are called to accidents to investigate them. Sometimes there isn't enough evidence to make a definitive "beyond a reasonable doubt" finding. In those cases, it stops there. CSI isn't real, you don't always get the bad guy or solve the case.

To say that because the cops didn't cite the "guilty" party because they were lazy, corrupt, didn't like you, or for any other reason is simply opinion on your part based on...what? The AMA, MCN or personal negative experience none of which are particularly unbiased. The MCN in particular is an entertainment source, not the New York Times.

All I can say is this; in my 20 years as a police officer I've seen a lot of very well done crash investigations that still didn't meet the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. All too often there are just to many pieces of the puzzle missing, leaving you with a very well educated guess but little more. I've also seen a few investigations that didn't meet the highest levels of professionalism. That too is sad and embarrassing and fortunately they are in a very small minority.

F-Dog
 

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It's standard procedure for one officer to compile an accident report. Your assumption that both should have written a report is just that an assumption. Given that you don't remember anything that happened, its clear (and unfortunate) that you can't possibly have anything informed to say about the incident. I would be interested in hearing what you thought the officer should have done.

Made the mistake of accelerating instead of braking??? :eek: Motorcycling isn't for dilettantes, the only way to learn how to react to these type of incidents is to practice and become proficient.

Regarding the officer's service jacket; Only "sustained" complaints are kept. Police departments are wise to the common practice of making complaints about an officer as a way of getting back at them for finding you at fault. It's an unfortunate fact of life that people lie to the police as surely as the sun rises in the east. That's not saying that you are lying, but given that you don't actually remember anything that happened, how do you know that the officer didn't do what they were supposed to do? Are there other witnesses that you know about, other evidence to be examined? My guess is that this one will end up in the round file due to your being unable to present any evidence that what you said is true...remember, " wish I could remember anthing else about my missing three hours but can't".

Beyond that, here's to hoping you've made a full recovery. I've only had one trip to the hospital for a motorcycle crash and that was 27 years ago when a very large dog ran from between two cars. I didn't even have time to think about it before I was on the ground. Now I go slower in neighborhoods with cars parked at the curb and always think about that dog.

F-Dog
The two witness statements contradict each other. One witness states where they were before and after they saw me. That statement is about eight lines in the report. The second witness makes statements contradictory to the first witness statements and is lacking a lot of information as to where they were prior and during. Their statement was only three lines of the report.

I do remember being at the intersection before the intersection where the accident happened. I also remeber going from one side of the street to the other at about a 45 degree angle with the bars shaking back and forth. When you take the officers statement about my final location along with that memory you would notice that I must have made a maneuver just before I finished going through the intersection. This all happened on a four lane, one-way street.

How would Joe blow know that a report is compiled if there is no mention of it? Where do you have the right to call me an amateur? Do you know what my skill level is? You are so perfect that you never made a mistake in during your life? The people involved in accidents and their insurance companies have to rely on the accident reports that are written by these officers. The officers should take care when they report on an accident with injuries.

Did the officer even make an attempt to read the statements before leaving the scene to identify the inconsistencies? Apparently, no. I would have been better off to hit the car to know what happened.

Is it normal for the reporting officer to sign off and approve their own report? Apparently it is. This keeps someone else who is not directly involved from questioning the report.

Per the OCC investigator, no one complains about accident reports. So they have read or spoken with both witness’s (took three moths for the second one to respond), the officer that wrote the report, paramedic reports, two sets of hospital reports, and the dispatch reports.

The Sergeant who "compiled" the report was a 19-1/2 veteran who has been working traffic for a number of years. When he spoke to me in the trauma room he was rude making it seem as if he had already made his decision. I was asked one question and then he left. What do you remember? Kind of hard to remember an accident with a mild concussion.

I wish I could remember what happened but don’t I have been racking my brain for nine months to no avail.

Everyone, don't rely on the accident report and make sure to write down everything you remember in case you need it later or the report is missing important information.
 

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Tough choice

I don't know squat about the legal side of it, but in terms of what you could have done to avoid the crash, I would say not much. Obviously, not being in the position would be the best option, but it sounds like the SUV's movement was sudden and illogical (meaning their wasn't a line of traffic, a lane change, cars entering, etc... in front of him that would have indicated an possible move like that). If the only decision you had was to take the hit from the SUV or take the hit from the parked cars, I think you chose correctly. In six years of riding, I've been in only one motorcycle accident where I was able to avoid any injury, but I have saved my bacon in several high speed bicycle crashes and I usually made the same choice. Look for the closest exit away from the road and fling your body. I am hardly claiming to be an expert, but simply stating that I would have made the same choice. I suppose you could have tried to low side the bike and slide, but I have never done that and couldn't even begin to think about doing it on command in an emergency situation. Maybe some other posters can help with that idea.

PS- If some other posters are inclined to make fun of bicycle crashes as a shared experience, most of mine happened at a higher speed than this gentleman's accident(20mph). The main difference is the lack of heavy machinery to avoid and the amount of skin you lose. Try jumping off your bike at 30mph with your underwear on and that is about what a cycling crash is like.
 

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I don't really want to jump on the anti-cop bandwagon, but it is a generally accepted fact that ticketing is geared more toward producing revenue than ensuring public safety. I will also admit my bias: Living in Fayetteville NC for 5 years I've had 3 house breakins, a vandalism incident, a stolen motorcycle (which I personally tracked down and essentially stole back) and all I've gotten in that time was a speeding ticket. No resolution on any of the breakins, thefts, or vandalism. I found some of my own stolen belongings in pawn shops. No help from the police whatsoever.

In contrast to this, I was in a fender-bender in which the anti-lock breaks in my vehicle failed completely. My breaks locked up, turning the wheel did nothing to help, and I smoothly coasted about 100 meters on an oil and rain slicked road into the back of a car. The officer that arrived on scene agreed that there was noone really at fault for the accident but, and I quote: "I have to charge somebody with something."

In light of this, I have little to no use for law enforcement, highway or otherwise.

/rant.
 

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Being Force Fed a Crap Sandwich!

That sucks!

I can't count the exact number of times something broke on my car, but fortunately none of them resulted in an accident like the problem with your brakes. The sad part is not only do you end up with bent metal, but legally you are responsible because its your car and in our society "You break it - you buy it".

I will say that citing folks for accidents of this type is considered poor form by most of us. I have no problem citing for carelessness, or other behavior that directly resulted in someone getting hurt, but knowing that the insurance companies are going to hash it out anyway, I usually don't (or didn't, I fly a desk now days) cite for issues that fall into the "just one of those things" catagory.

F-Dog

I don't really want to jump on the anti-cop bandwagon, but it is a generally accepted fact that ticketing is geared more toward producing revenue than ensuring public safety. I will also admit my bias: Living in Fayetteville NC for 5 years I've had 3 house breakins, a vandalism incident, a stolen motorcycle (which I personally tracked down and essentially stole back) and all I've gotten in that time was a speeding ticket. No resolution on any of the breakins, thefts, or vandalism. I found some of my own stolen belongings in pawn shops. No help from the police whatsoever.

In contrast to this, I was in a fender-bender in which the anti-lock breaks in my vehicle failed completely. My breaks locked up, turning the wheel did nothing to help, and I smoothly coasted about 100 meters on an oil and rain slicked road into the back of a car. The officer that arrived on scene agreed that there was noone really at fault for the accident but, and I quote: "I have to charge somebody with something."

In light of this, I have little to no use for law enforcement, highway or otherwise.

/rant.
 
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