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So much happening in this and both could argue that the other is at fault for the wreck.

Not staying behind after the crash is poor form though.

I'd have to agree that the rider who went down is at fault. He easily could have passed the other rider from a position closer to the centerline of the road, thus making his presence felt by the rider in front of him. The rider who fell attempted to slide right by a rider in front of him -- a rider he did not know. WTF? Passing a rider you do not know in such a way is just an invitation for this to happen, and it was totally unnecessary. Additionally, the other rider actually signaled his move prior to making it, and the rider who fell didn't properly respond to the signal. The rider who fell had all the time in the world to give the rider in front of him room to make his signaled move. Really unfortunate for this to happen. The other two riders who go down after the first rider should be upset with the first rider, not the rider who signaled his move. Just my opinion.

Agree with Jesse & Jerry. Poor form not to stop but I'm not certain I could lay all the blame onto the cyclist cutting into the pace line.

First off forming and riding pace lines is not for the faint of heart unless you are okay with eating asphalt from time to time. So there is an assumption of risk here is there not?

I think pace line training should only be done within pre-organized riding groups where everybody is on the same level. You would never see pro cyclists riding pace lines with rank amateurs. Too much to lose. I don't know how "organized" the typical bike shop ride ever is.

Once on the road an organized training group should try to discourage ad hoc riders of unknown virtue from joining on.

Towards that end when passing "weekend freds" pass well to the right (3 feet) after giving verbal warning. Minimize the opportunity for an unknown rider to slide into the group.

The rider in question clearly signaled that he was moving over. Perhaps to join the pace line but riders also need to move to avoid sudden obstacles in the road.

If the pace line had given and maintained a 3 foot berth this misunderstanding might not have resulted in a crash.

Pretty typical "Cat VI" behavior, from my experience.

There are more details on the DC Bike Forum which implicate the rider cutting in more than the video. You can read about it [URL="http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?7461-Help-ID-this-guy-caused-a-bike-crash-sending-2-to-hospital"]here[/URL]

If a car were involved in a crash--even if not the driver's fault--and left, that would be a hit and run. The cyclist knew he caused the crash and rode on anyway. That's not just "poor form;" that's a crime (or should be).


Making the analogy to driving in traffic, one cannot just put on the turn signal and move left into the next lane. It is always the responsibility of the car making the move (passing, changing lanes, etc.) to make certain it is safe to do so first. Likewise with this cyclist. Since he is making the move, it is his responsibility to make certain it is safe to do so. He did not.

I just don't know. There's a pretty short duration between the turn signal and then the turn. Was it enough time for the person who fell to react? Perhaps. Maybe the person who fell was riding too aggressively or maybe he just wasn't paying attention for a split second. If it's the former, I wouldn't blame the signaler. At any rate, I would never ride this close to this many people, so I'll leave it to you experts.

The location of blame is only a small part of this story. People on the roads, and especially the paths or trails or whatever they are, need to lighten the F up, remember they are out there for a little exercise and fresh air, and be nice to each other. There can be no excuse for riding away from a crash like that.

SteveO brings up an interesting point. When participating in a sport/recreational activity at what point do we personally assume all the inherent risks of that activity?

In football we don't summon the police after every play and arrest the opposing team for assault.

In baseball fights have been know to breakout from time to time. Do the police come charging on the field?

Okay - those are examples of professional sports. But what about a pickup basketball game. Say you are fouled making a layup and fall - breaking your ankle. Should the fouling player be legally/financially responsible?

Shouldn't one personally assume the risk to themselves for playing in the first place?

Looking at the video second by second here is what i see.

Rider 1 is the one who falls - lets call him Team Kit.
Rider 2 is the one who cuts into the pace line causing the fall - lets call him Fred.

At 0:44 Fred signals his intention to enter the pace line and it even sounds like he says moving right.

At this point is looks like Team Kits front wheel may be just overlapping Fred's back wheel.

Team Kit sees the signal and he eases up.

0:46 But rather than KEEPING HIS LINE and accelerating onto the back wheel of the camera bike Fred makes a radical lateral move across the front of Team Kit (you can see the lean in Fred's bike) causing the collision and taking Team Kit down.

Back in the day when I did a lot of group riding we would have called out Fred as being "squirrelly" and none of us would have gotten within 10 feet of him.

The video shows there was no reason for Fred to make a move to the right. There appears to be no oncoming obstruction such as slower rider being passed.

All in all it was very poor pace line skills exhibited by Fred.

I used to fly and when a group of pilots got together to fly formation one always had a ground briefing first and the roles and responsiblities were gone over so that everybody understood them. It would have been inconceivable for some random pilot to then join up on the formation in the air.

Maybe aggressive group training rides should do so as well? Clearly Fred would have benefited.

I think if he'd merely moved over into the pace line, that would be fine. The bike behind probably expected him to move over that far, but not to cross the line entirely. Not a totally unreasonable assumption, though it was still leaving a pretty small safety margin. The action of the rider who shot all the way across was distinctly unsafe, though.

There is a safety briefing before this ride, every week. Fred was not a part of the ride, he was just another cyclist on beech drive.
HE WAS NOT A PART OF THE RIDE.
He was refusing to allow the ride to pass him.

@Brooks

I'm glad to hear that this ride has a pre-ride briefing.

Over at DC Bike Forum it sounds like Fred was buzzing the pace line.

Maybe training rides should have specific measures to discourage "lone wolf" participation - such as calling for a brief 2 minute group stop to drive the wolf away.

It appears to this untrained eye that the cyclist who crashed half-wheeled the camera bike at about 00:37. Briefly, but still..

Did the cyclist who fell notify police?

Some comments miss the point, IMO. Accidents happen, for many reasons. The issue here is that a cyclist was involved in a an accident that [apparently] resulted in injury. This means he is required to stop. In most jurisdictions, an accident resulting in injury is supposed to be reported to the police and a report filed. Whether Fred caused the accident or not, he broke the law by leaving the scene. That should be the issue here. Just as with the hit and run involving the SUV cited earlier on this blog, fault can be determined after the fact.

On a bike or in a motor vehicle, if you are involved in an accident, you stop, check on others involved, call and wait for police if there are injuries.

One thing I don't see mentioned here (noting it doesn't absolve the rider to stop for the crash) is whether the pace line overcame the "Fred" from behind. If that's the case he may have felt trapped and decided he needed to get out, resulting in the sloppy exit. Again, he should have stopped, but this demonstrates the risk of having many different types of users in a limited space like Beach Drive. It's not the MUP, but Beach Drive is still a crowded place with people walking with all manner of slop, cyclists of all skill levels and lots of other crazy scenes.

@Kolo +1
This crash was reported to the Park Police, who came to the scene and have a copy of the video.

Following up on Brooks, the Forum also reported that "Fred" made a snide remark to the leader as he rode by, indicating that he was aware he had caused a crash and didn't care.

Re: the sports analogy. If someone is injured while playing a sport, the person who caused the injury does not just run away. Regardless of how it happened or whose fault it might be. Everything else about this video is secondary to the fact that "Fred" knew he caused a crash and cavalierly rode away.

Fred had a mirror on his helmet so he knew exactly where the bike over his left shoulder was. His line change is so abrupt, it was done to send a message. He meant to do exactly what he did.

Well, this is going to read snotty, but I take the mirror as prima facie evidence that Fred did NOT have the situational awareness necessary for pack riding. Moreover, now that you point it out, it is a reasonable conjecture that he was been misled by the elongation of space produced by a convex mirror.

Still a dick, however.

Had these been two cars, the second (guy who fell) car would have been at fault. Why was he following so closely?

The guy clearly signaled, gave it 2 or 3 seconds and moved over. The second biker was clearly being too aggressive.

Simon, I disagree. The car moving over always has the responsibility to do so when the way is clear. Same with cyclists. When I taught defensive driving, the textbook said not to move over if you can't see in your rearview mirror both of the headlights of the car you're moving in front of. If you can't see them both, then there isn't enough room.

Fred moved over when there wasn't enough room. Now, we could say that Kit should have backed off when he saw the signal, but that he didn't, doesn't make it Kit's fault.

@Simon
Imagine being on the beltway. You cannot put on your blinker and just move into the next lane, striking the car that is already there. That would be your fault.
You have to wait until it is clear. Sometimes cars slow down to let you in and sometimes they speed up because they are impatient. Doesn't matter; you have to wait until it's clear.

To be honest, I'm not sure that the offending cyclist thought he did anything wrong.

Man, I hate crashing.

C7 - You might be right. Fred may not have thought he was at fault. But so what? He must have known a crash occurred.

When out riding and you see a cyclist standing beside his bike on the side of the road, don't you slow down and ask if he/she is OK? You often do the same with a motorist stopped in the shoulder wit ha flat or with the hood up.

Fred ain't riding in the Tour-de-France. He is not going to lose his chance at the yellow jersey because he stopped to inquire after the health of a cyclist that he might have caused to crash. IMO, Fred is the arrogant cyclist that motorists cite when damning us all...

Nah. I bet Fred just rides like he drives his 3-series...with his bike on the back seat.

What is the injured going to do when he learns the identity of the the other rider?

I sure hope he apologizes for being careless by boxing in the rider in front and ignoring the very obvious hand signal.

The golden rule of the bike path: "You are responsible for not hitting what is in front of you".

But the other rider wasn't in front of the downed rider. The other rider crossed the downed rider's path, swinging from his lane, across the downed rider's lane and into a third lane. Had he changed only one lane, there would have been no accident.

@Smedley: Definitely snotty. I like my mirror. I don't rely on it in group rides, but I still use it (as last wheel, I can give lots of "car back" warning; near the front, I can alert the lead if we've lost some of the group when we're "no drop"). Just like in the car, though, the mirror does not replace the head check before a maneuver.

My assessment is that Fred did wait until there was just enough room but didn't realize his speed would drop during the zig. Not stopping is just jerky.

Tom, maybe an apology from Kit is in order, but certainly his offenses (passing a cyclist? and not moving out of his way enough to allow for a rapid turn) are far less than crashing into someone and then riding away.

You are responsible for not hitting what is in front of you, IF that can be avoided. But I might argue that he could no more avoid hitting Fred then the cyclists behind him were able to avoid hitting Kit.

You are also responsible for not moving into another trail user - which is what Fred did. He chose a path that would lead his bike's back wheel through the front wheel of the cyclist behind him. Not doing that must be the Platinum rule.

Fred should have stopped and that's where I see his cycling and legal sin. But he signaled intentions beforehand--something 90% of folks don't do and he even did so three or four seconds in advance. Kit can ignore his signal, but does so tragically at his own peril. How fast or slow Fred moves over became irrelevant after he signaled he's moving over. And the pace line is irrelevant imo.

@T

If Fred was an accepted participant in the pace line (and Brooks above states he was not) then I see the fault as being almost entirely Fred's as his radical merge into the pace line was wrong.

Signal all you want but if you cut a radical angle across the front of the following riders a crash is almost certainly going to ensue.

But since Fred wasn't a participant in the pace line then, in hindsight, Team Kit should have approached and started to pass Fred while giving Fred more room.

At the start of the video we see Team Kit passing another rider - dark blue jersey - let's call him Blue.

Blue then checks behind, sees a large gap, and takes Kit's wheel. But as they approach Fred note where Blue is. He is now all the way over onto the centerline. Giving Fred lots of room. Also note that though he is the rider behind Team Kit he isn't taken out by the crash.

You can't completely prevent Fred's from causing crashes but a start would be to recognize who is and who isn't participating in the pace line and riding accordingly.

I do agree that the group came up on Fred and essentially surrounded him fairly closely, almost making him a part of their group without any say-so on his part. That approaches being inconsiderate.

That being said, the dramatic swerve is reckless. He could just as easily gone down himself in the collision.

This discussion encapsulates one of the major ambiguities about cycling and I think the absence of a motor vehicle in the incident is what makes it so clear. To wit, there are no real rules. This is wonderful and liberating, yet when someone acts in a clearly antisocial way, there is very little structure to fall back on.

I contrast this with my other sport, sailing. Every craft on the water, from a kayak to a tanker, is subject to explicit rules, which have the force of law and are observed to a surprising degree. Competition is governed by a 175 page rule book, complete with case law. Incidentally, rule 1 is help people in trouble, an rules 2 and 69 state, basically, "Don't be an asshole".

The other thing is it's Rock Creek Park. The place is always crowded on weekends. There is a reason I avoid area trails (and let's face it, Beach Drive/Rock Creek is a trail for all intents and purposes on weekends) on weekends. I just don't have the start and stop patience let alone dealing with people doing crazy stuff. So many people from the plucks of I pulled my bike out of the garage after 10 yrs this morning to I'm a cat 3 running a pace line that it's just not my cup of tea. but that's just me. I'll stick to my commuting.

Most groups I know don't do fast lines (and perhaps it was the tail end, but that was hardly a pace line) down Beach on the weekend for that very reason - crappy pavement and too many people spread across the road - runners, dog walkers, kids - it's just too risky to travel as a fast pack. That would be irresponsible of the Bike Rack to encourage that down that road.

As for rules - Rule #1 of a group ride: Protect Your Front Wheel. Overshadowed by Rule #1 of bike riding in general: Don't be a d**k.

Without knowing what was going on in front of the camera bike, it's idle speculation as to why Fred made the radical move he did. It could be that Fred's fragile ego didn't like getting passed by a group. It's also possible that they were approaching a group of runners or even slower moving cyclists. It doesn't absolve Fred of what he did - but crashes such as this are often the end result of a series of dominoes falling and it's hard to say "This was the reason" or "That was the reason."

Just a thought, but RCP is often in bad shape and I expect Freds to move to avoid potholes, debris, etc.

SJE Good thought. Looking at the video he moved over right before a curb side drain grate.

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