A cyclist riding the Custis Trail on Aug 10 attempted to cross the street when they had the green light. A car turned in front of them and the cyclist collided with the car. So...
police followed [the cyclist's] ambulance to the hospital, asked him to write a written statement, and then handed him a warning as soon as he had finished the statement. The warning was for failing to “obey a highway sign.”
There is, of course, no highway sign there. The officer told him that the painted stop sign on the pavement was the "highway sign" in question. The MUTCD does not appear to cover how to treat the word "STOP" painted on the pavement. By the way, pictured at bottom is the stop sign as of 9/2/11 (it may have still been there on Aug 10th)
The police officer also told him that
he was considered a “cyclist” while on the trail, but became a “vehicle” when he entered the intersection, and thus did not have the right-of-way to oncoming traffic.
Which is wrong, because he's always a cyclist - even in the road - and he was actually on the trail, even though he was in the road. Do pedestrians crossing in an identical way become vehicles when they cross?
The cyclist says he later found out that the driver who turned in front of him was not issued any sort of citation. As a result, not only will he be financially responsible for his own bills — the hospital bill for his hand, arm and shoulder injuries, plus the replacement cost of the $2,000 carbon fiber bike — but he may be held responsible for damage to the driver’s vehicle.
“That leaves me holding the bag. I have no recourse whatsoever,” he said. “Drivers have carte blanche.”
Not true. Just because you are cited by the police officer does not mean you will lose a lawsuit or can't win one. The police are not judges. Judges are judges (you can look that up). And If the cop didn't see the accident, the police report won't even come into evidence, as it is all hearsay. So sue away my friend.
Photo by PedroGringo