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How does only one run a red light when they were both going in the same direction? Easy, the truck was in front of the cyclist having already gotten through the light before the red.

Your own witness account from above "truck turned westbound on U St. into the cyclist’s path"..."Into the cycles path" indicates the truck was there before the cyclist was.

There was a lot of harranguing over at PoP yesterday but the general consesnsus of the eye withnesses who wrote there was that truck was turning right onto U, and bike (which was behind the truck at the time) rode up between the truck and the curb (not very smart regardless of whether the truck was turning or not as 11th at that intersection has no bike lane and is pretty narrow) and hit the truck as it turned. The witnesses couldn't say whether or not the truck had signaled the turn.

There sounds like there was a lot of "fail" to go around this accident, to be shared between both the truck driver and biker, but considering the cyclist got run over by the rear axles of the truck it is hard to deny that the truck was already "there" and the bike ran into it.

This is all back of the envelope:

1. Average person makes about 1000 car trips per year

2. 300M people in the US

3. Somewhere around 300 Billion car trips a year?

4. car Accidents in the US: About 6 million car accidents, 3 million injuries, and 40K deaths.

5. car accident rate: about a .002% accidents rate?

6. There have been more than 17 "accidents" on bikeshare -- they are only reporting accidents serious enough to report. So the best analogue is perhaps the "injury rate which is .001 percent?

7. Bikeshare rate: about .001%

Conclusion: running very similar to cars based on the Number of Trips.

Crushed pelvis is a very serious injury. Not life-threatening, but a long, difficult and painful recovery and potentially chronic health effects. Good luck to the cyclist.

Hope he gets well soon. Sounds like it's possible he fucked up and tried to clear the intersection as the light went from yellow to red, assuming the truck was going straight. Instead the truck was turning right from a leftward position in the lane. (This is why trucks have mudflaps that say "This vehicle makes wide turns.")

Assuming this is mostly the cyclist's fault, stuff happens. Pedestrians step off curbs and get flattened by buses. People in cars fail to see oncoming traffic and get t-boned.

Hopefully we won't see calls for "enhanced safety laws" aimed at CaBi in particular or cyclists in general.

Regardless of who was deemed at fault by the police, the descriptions of this crash make is seem like the truck must have been going fairly fast if it couldn't come to a stop right away. I'd like to hear the cyclist's version of the crash too. I sometimes think the police blame victims in crashes, whether pedestrians or cyclists or other drivers, because that way there's less paperwork.

@Greenbelt,

? What are you talking about? The cyclist hit the flatbed near its rear wheels, halfway back from the cab and got run over. The trucker was flagged down, down the street beause it was a large truck and he didn't know he had run over anyone.

And police blame whomever is at fault, pedestrian, driver or cyclist. In a situation like this where the cyclist was at fault it is imperative that there be a determination clearly delineating blame, otherwise the drivers insurance company gets taken to the bank.

One wonders why the law is so one sided with cyclists. When the cyclist decides he wants to filter up between lines of cars at a redlight and leaves a 3 foot scratch through to the metal along the side of my car, or comes shooting out of a cross street against the light and t-bones my back door requiring thousands of dollars in repair (both of these things have happened to me in the past 5 years in DC) there is no legal mechanism with which to force the cyclist to pay, even if the police show up and issue a ticket in your favor. The only thing a driver gets out of a cyclis-at-fault accident are headaches, inconvenence, lost money and increased insurance premiums.

God forbid the roles are reversed where the driver is at fault... cyclists demanding the drivers insurance cover their bike repairs, medical treatment etc.

After watching the news reports and reading what accounts are posted on PoP, it sounds like a right hook where the driver attempted to overtake the cyclist. One of the witnesses was in a car directly behind the truck so they knew which direction the truck was turning - but they couldn't see where the cyclist was going. My wager is that the truck driver tried to speed around the bike thinking it would clear it in time for the turn. Drivers perceive us as extremely slow, even if the speed differential is less than 5mph. The security guard was right there where the collision happened, and someone claims he said it was the driver's fault because he simply turned right into the cyclist.

My question now, is how did the police determine a ticket was necessary for the cyclist and not the driver? When do police reports become available to the public?

The driver didn't know he had run over a CaBi and rider? I used to drive light trucks -- believe me, you know when you hit something at little as two or three inches high -- most flatbeds have a very stiff suspension and you feel the shock directly throughout the whole vehicle. And running over a bike and cyclist is rather different than an insurance dispute over a paint scratch or parking dent, both of which are impossible to avoid in DC or most any city. The sides of my Corolla are dinged front to back from careless SUV/pickup door openers (you can tell by the height). But I don't try to make that annoyance the equivalent of running over someone. Some perspective please.

"police blame whomever is at fault"

Anti-cyclist bias by the police is a very common and well-documented problem. http://www.bicyclelaw.com/blog/index.cfm/2009/9/28/An-Exercise-In-Absurdity

In this case it appears that the police came to a conclusion without interviewing the cyclist. Also, right-hook collisions are a leading cause of injury among cyclists. The cyclist may have already been next to the truck (and assuming the truck was going straight) when the truck driver initiated the turn. See http://bicyclesafe.com/ for a description of common collision scenarios (numbers 5 and 6 seem relevant here).

....otherwise the drivers insurance company gets taken to the bank.

I don't think you realize how exceedingly rare this is. It is very difficult for a cyclist to win a case.

there is no legal mechanism with which to force the cyclist to pay

Can't you take them to court, just like a cyclist would with a driver?

And police blame whomever is at fault, pedestrian, driver or cyclist.

I disagree. Accident investigations, such as they are, are often done sloppily and hurriedly by ill-trained personnel. DC has a major accident investigations unit but it maybe they are only called in when there is a death. And we've seen the product of their work!

In a situation like this where the cyclist was at fault

A little judgmental aren't you given that you couldn't know ANY of the pertinent facts.

is imperative that there be a determination clearly delineating blame, otherwise the drivers insurance company gets taken to the bank.

Not in DC, MD or VA. We're in the land of contributary negligence.

One wonders why the law is so one sided with cyclists.

We're living in the same universe aren't we???? See above.

When the cyclist decides he wants to filter up ...

Sorry about that. I was in a hurry :)

I thought WABA had reached an understanding with MPD that a ticket would not be issued to a cyclist until the investigating officer had at least had spoken with them.

@Michael,

Some of the news reports state the cyclist was issued a ticket for running a red light. I too saw the comment on PoP that indicated it might have been a right-hook.

Often in accidents people don't' really witness them. What the see is the immediate aftermath and the brain constructs a sequence of events that may or may not be right.

As of a couple hours ago MPD had not issued the police report, though WABA will continue to follow up and review the report once it is released. We have testified repeatedly of the importance of MPD interviewing the cyclist before finalizing the report and hope that the cyclist's statement will be included here.

Unfortunately, we don't know the facts here. I was asked by reporters to explain the details of a variety of different crash types based on what each had been told took place.

For now, we are awaiting the police report to see what's asserted by whom and any other details. Nearly all the information out there right now is either speculation or contradicted by other information. So we are waiting to see what is included in the official report.

I can't decide who's the bigger victim: N with the scratched door or the cyclist with the crushed pelvis.

I've heard N's side of the story, but unlike the police, I'll wait to hear from the cyclist before I make such an important determination.

Was the truck driver wearing a helmet?

Crickey7 - Yes, I'd like to know this too because it's so important to the case that it should be mentioned in the news headline ;).

Was the cyclist arrogant?

More importantly, was the cyclist wearing Lycra?

I thought WABA had reached an understanding with MPD that a ticket would not be issued to a cyclist until the investigating officer had at least had spoken with them.

Want to flag JeffB's comment. What's the story here?

@oboe,
See Shane's immediate comment after mine.

Still - issuing a ticket before talking to the cyclist seems premature to me and smacks of the bias problem we are trying to deal with.

Like has been said before, due to past incidents with MPD issuing tickets to cyclists and pedestrians while they are in ambulances unconscious or in comas, I have approximately zero confidence in MPD's ability to assess blame in a bike/ped incident without video.

@Dave,
I agree completely, and will even stretch this beyond MPD's jurisdiction. The inability for police to properly cite accidents that involve pedestrians or cyclist is a nationwide issue. When the injured are taken away, all a driver has to do to not be cited is be polite and not intoxicated as evidenced recently in this San Fran accident.

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/02/24/after-outcry-sfpd-to-cite-driver-who-ran-over-man-in-tenderloin/

It wasn't until video was released to the public, and public outrage followed, that the police decided to cite the driver.

I still don't understand how the police could issue a ticket for running a red light when there were conflicting accounts of this crash.

Do they have some sort of discretion about who they want to believe and who they don't?

At the very least, the truck driver most likely was not using his turn signal, which is illegal, too. I highly doubt the cyclist would have moved into the intersection from behind or beside the truck if he had seen a turn signal.

Was that question asked of the eyewitnesses, or the truck driver himself?

"NBC's is the most sensational in my mind)."

That's just the style of the inimitable Pat Collins. (a national treasure, I tell ya) He's does the same schtick whether it's a multiple homicide or someone giving away free lemonade.

+1 on Pat Collins. He would read a recipe for boiled eggs in a very dramatic fashion. I'm not putting him down. Merely pointing it out.

As for the injury rate, a DDOT representative said that he is only aware of one other CaBi accident that resulted in serious injury. The other crashes merely resulted in damage to the bike, giving an injury rate of approx. 1 for every 800,000 rides. That's pretty good.

Given how much press this accident has received, I'd be surprised if there were a lot of other serious CaBi accidents that went unreported.

WABA should lobby for a new law if MPD doesn't get it. It could work for any victim regardless of whether they're a cyclist, pedestrian or passenger in a vehicle.

"Tickets or citations shall not be issued to anyone involved in a crash while incapacitated. Incapacitated shall mean unconscious, comatose, undergoing on scene medical triage, being medically transported or undergoing a medical procedure."

Throw in some sort of section that requires the getting statements from the injured before issuance of citation, etc.

That should trump any MPD regulation, interpretation or bullshit.

It's mind boggling that such humane fairness and decency has to be legislated.

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