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Cyclist hit by police car, NEEDS HELP!

May 21, 2010
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Hi folks,

In early Dec. 2009 I was near the end of a late afternoon road bike ride just after dusk (in New England, USA) when I was involved in a nasty accident with a car. Unfortunately, the insurance companies and the legal system are not meting out JUSTICE in this matter (mainly because I was riding a bike).

Every day we are out on the roads risking life and limb trying to stay healthy, exercise and have a little fun (or commuting to work, etc.) on our bicycles. We try to stay to the right of the road and keep safe from the often indifferent and/or hostile motorists out on the roads with us. I know every cyclist reading this right now knows exactly what I am talking about.

PLEASE FELLOW CYCLISTS, I NEED HELP...

I had both front and rear bike lights turned on and was doing nothing other than riding home in a most standard, legal and normal fashion on my road bike. Unfortunately, a cop had stopped to speak with another cop. One cop was in a police paddy-wagon parked on the shoulder, parallel to the roadway and facing me with headlights on. This was on a typically very quiet residential street with sparse traffic and no streetlights at that spot. I need to ride through the neighborhood on this street to get to my home.

Cop #2 was in a typical police cruiser-sedan and parked herself RIGHT SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROADWAY, straddling both lanes, put her car in park, and for reasons unknown to this day, turned off all of her lights including headlights, tail-lights, everything. She parked about 4 or 5 feet from the driver side of the police truck, parallel to the roadway and facing the other way, again this was just after dark and she had absolutely no lights lit of any kind (totally illegal behavior for a motor vehicle on a roadway at night).

Because the police car had no lights on, and because of the glare from the police truck headlights facing me, and also because bike lights are pretty weak, I did not see the police car until the last second before I smashed into it's rear and bounced off the rear windshield.

Through some miracle I was not knocked unconscious. I stood up and was looking at the rear end of a totally unlit white sedan parked smack in the middle of the roadway (!?:confused::mad:) and I realized that this was a police car! I shouted out, "Hey, you don't have any lights on!" and then I saw tail-lights or possibly brake lights turn on and the cop asked me if I was okay.

Long story short, I have retained an attorney and am trying to get my hometown to admit liability for this accident and pay my damages which total about $10,000 for a totally destroyed high-end road bike, medical bills, and attorney fees, etc. It is only a miracle that I suffered no serious lasting injuries from this. Had the police car been a police SUV with a straight, vertical planed rear-end, I could easily, very easily have snapped my neck and been killed.

Both cops have lied about what happened. Presumably because they don't want a black mark on their records and they know there were no other witnesses. If you know much about cops, you know they lie to cover their asses in various situations, it's almost standard practice, most unfortunately.

The insurance company for the town of the police department has denied liability. They say I was probably keeping my head down for aerodynamics and not looking at the road, which is not true and totally ludicrous for a cyclist riding very cautiously just after dusk.

Guys, I was VERY SHOCKED AND DISAPPOINTED to see how bicyclists are treated by the legal system and insurance companies when these kinds of accidents happen. If you are reading this and a cyclist, at the very least, keep this in mind and be even extra careful on your rides, guys, it is simply outrageous and SHOCKING how we are treated like second class citizens, more like 8th class citizens!:mad:

Part of the problem is I don't have a lot of medical bills and dollars in claims for an attorney to "go after" (they prefer cases worth $30,000 and up), and the defendant is a municipality who are harder and more expensive to sue successfully than an individual "Joe Citizen". Had I been riding in a car and hit the cop, I'm sure the insurance claim would have been settled in my favor in less than a week, but since I was riding a bike, the police department didn't even couldn't an accident investigation of any kind!:mad:

Dear readers, I have to ask you all, do you know anyone who can help me? If there is no organization in existence to help cyclists defend themselves and litigate successfully in these matters, I think it's time that we establish one.

I will not walk away from this case. This is so totally OUTRAGEOUS and not right. I ask you for any help or suggestions you can provide.

BTW, it should be obvious, this is not a joking matter but rather a very serious matter, please refrain from posting any humorous or silly comments in this thread. Put yourself in my (Sidi) shoes...Thanks.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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Do you have medical insurance? New bike and some additional costs are pocket change. Call Bob Mionski and get a cycling specific attn. If your insurance paid for your medical expenses you are not able to get that money the company has to sue to be repaid. Your version of the story sounds reasonable most companies I have dealt with don't blink an eye if all you want is to be made whole..if you are looking for lots of lost wages and pain and suffering the legal system is your only option. I was hit 2 years ago, bike,clothing,transportation costs,lost wages all paid with no court date in less than 20 days once I agreed to settle. I don't know if my insurance company ever tried to get the money back that they had to pay for my medical.
 
Mar 16, 2009
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fatandfast said:
Do you have medical insurance? New bike and some additional costs are pocket change. Call Bob Mionski and get a cycling specific attn. If your insurance paid for your medical expenses you are not able to get that money the company has to sue to be repaid. Your version of the story sounds reasonable most companies I have dealt with don't blink an eye if all you want is to be made whole..if you are looking for lots of lost wages and pain and suffering the legal system is your only option. I was hit 2 years ago, bike,clothing,transportation costs,lost wages all paid with no court date in less than 20 days once I agreed to settle. I don't know if my insurance company ever tried to get the money back that they had to pay for my medical.

http://www.bicyclelaw.com/
 
Aug 3, 2009
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If you have homeowners insurance, they may cover your bike or a portion of it. If at first they reject you, escalate.

I doesn't sound like that is what you are looking for, but keep it in mind. You probably only have a year from the accident to get paid for a claim.

Glad to hear your physically OK.
 
Aug 11, 2009
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Glad to hear you weren't hurt any worse. I've seen a rider get doored by a cop in NYC and then have the cop yell at the cyclist for not being careful.

What State were you in when the accident happened? And is that the same State that you live in? If you were in MA, check out MassBike; I think they have some links to personal injury attorneys who are happy to advocate for road cyclists. Good luck.

You're unlikely to ever get the cops to change their story, so just making as much noise as possible in your community might be the best you can do in the end. In any event, you should be able to get names and badge numbers and then try to broadcast from there.
 
Jul 6, 2009
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pedaling squares said:
What a strange way to ask for assistance.

not really they are generally insecure bad people who were either the bully or the bullied earlier in life and want to keep it going or get revenge sad little people. hey you want to help people in a courageous way be a paramedic or firefighter screw cops cowards thats what they are i have known a few. hope you get taken care of in your lawsuit to bad they cannot admit fault for there wrong doings but thats no shock.:mad:
 
Jul 23, 2009
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forty four said:
not really they are generally insecure bad people who were either the bully or the bullied earlier in life and want to keep it going or get revenge sad little people.
Well you must have had some bad experiences. Mine have been different. Too bad you guys generalize like that, I believe there are plenty of good cops out there. Anyway, I thought the OP might have received some good advice from any forum members who are police officers about how to address his concerns about the officers not being honest. They might have had some experience investigating car vs bike collisions and know of some good case law. But it's doubtful he'll get that kind of help after calling them all liars.
 
I would think there would be attorneys who would take this case. You should not deal directly with the insurance company. Have the attorney deal with them.

Did the insurance firm send an adjuster to inspect your damaged bike, etc.? Make sure you have photos of your bike, your clothes, everything. Photograph the location.

If your claim is $10,000, you can take this to small claims court as well. It's cheap to file a claim, and you will likely get this settled. I take it you do not have insurance, otherwise your insurance firm would either pay this or get the town's insurance company to pay this asap.

In any case, I'd document everything, then either get your attorney to get his a$$ in gear or file in small-claims court.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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There are pleanty of Lawyers who will work pro bono no win no fee talk to them If you have a case they will grab it it bread and butter for them.

Dont try by your self you will only stuff it up. The Lawyers get a big fat fee but you will also get your money.
Dontb let them get away with it. act now while you can remember it all.

Every square inch of skin is worth $1,000.
 
Well, this article isn't exactly related, but it may give those from outside the US some insight into what's going on there law/prison/police wise.

http://www.thestar.com/news/insight/article/845073--america-capital-of-punishment

I don't think this poor guy is going to get anywhere with this...the cards are stacked against him. Maybe he could get some insurance money...but that might be wishful thinking.

I hope you get some satisfaction out of this...sounds crappy to go through.
 
May 14, 2010
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pedaling squares said:
What a strange way to ask for assistance.

What's so strange about it? Cops make a regular practice of lying. That's exactly why OJ went unconvicted - because of all the pointless lies the cops told in his case. (Look it up.)

pedaling squares said:
Well you must have had some bad experiences. Mine have been different. Too bad you guys generalize like that, I believe there are plenty of good cops out there. Anyway, I thought the OP might have received some good advice from any forum members who are police officers about how to address his concerns about the officers not being honest.

Well, why don't you give him some, then?

pedaling squares said:
They might have had some experience investigating car vs bike collisions and know of some good case law.

When it comes to knowing case law, he'd be better off relying on convicts than cops. But why rely on either side of the coin when he can (and should) simply rely on a qualified and very aggressive attorney?
 
Oct 29, 2009
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" If you know much about cops, you know they lie to cover their asses in various situations, it's almost standard practice, most unfortunately."

I know a lot of cops and it's nowhere near "Standard Practice". You sound like someone who has gotten one to many speeding tickets. Also, if the car you hit was stradling the white line, that could also mean you weren't riding far enough to the right side of the road. You still would have had half of an entire lane to miss the car had you been riding as far to the right as possible, which is typically the law.

Don't know what the law is for police cars in the road with no lights on...

Sorry you had a brutal accident, that is no fun. Nor is being out 10 grand. I was hit by a car not too long ago and my $6,000 bike was destroyed. Fortunately, the woman who hit me recognized it was her fault and wrote me a check the next day.
 
Jul 23, 2009
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Maxiton said:
What's so strange about it? Cops make a regular practice of lying. That's exactly why OJ went unconvicted - because of all the pointless lies the cops told in his case. (Look it up.)

Well, why don't you give him some, then?

When it comes to knowing case law, he'd be better off relying on convicts than cops. But why rely on either side of the coin when he can (and should) simply rely on a qualified and very aggressive attorney?

Oh come on Maxiton. The OJ case is your basis for all things about all cops? Surely you have a better story than that. All cops are bullies and liars. And all lawyers are cheats. And all politicians are thieves. And all priests are pedophiles. These generalizations are rightly vilified when they're pointed at some targets (all women are... all homosexuals are... all Frenchmen are... all aborigines are...) and they're just as stupid when they're directed at the state and its agents.

I think the OP can use advice from anyone in the police/justice system and it's pointless to insult some of those people. Equally pointless to rely on cons, mind you. From his story it sounds like he has a rightful claim (police car parked in the roadway after dusk with lights off) although it struck me there might be some shared liability there given the scant details I read.
 
Jul 3, 2010
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Pedalin Squares is the only person who makes any sense on this entire thread.

I get the feeling most of you guys have had nothing but bad experiances. The only reason I say that is because I've had nothing but good experiances with police officers and you need to respect them no matter what. When you have your house broken into and your bike is possibly going to get stolen who's going to show up not a fire fighter or a paramedic a cop will. And even the in the "heroic" situations you know who the first responders are? Not fire fighters or paramedics. Cops are always first on scene. Grow up with your He was mean to me so ill be mean to him right back mentality.
 
May 9, 2009
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pedaling squares said:
Oh come on Maxiton. The OJ case is your basis for all things about all cops? Surely you have a better story than that. All cops are bullies and liars. And all lawyers are cheats. And all politicians are thieves. And all priests are pedophiles. These generalizations are rightly vilified when they're pointed at some targets (all women are... all homosexuals are... all Frenchmen are... all aborigines are...) and they're just as stupid when they're directed at the state and its agents.

I think the OP can use advice from anyone in the police/justice system and it's pointless to insult some of those people. Equally pointless to rely on cons, mind you. From his story it sounds like he has a rightful claim (police car parked in the roadway after dusk with lights off) although it struck me there might be some shared liability there given the scant details I read.

He had a fair point. Cops DO lie. Not all, but plenty do. Read the OP again, and you'll see that that after he hit the car, the cop then turned the lights on. That way, when the ambulance shows up, the cops can say that they had the lights on the whole time.

Sorry, but since you warn us not to use generalizations when talking about cops, that arguments should go the other way. My bad attitude for cops doesn't come from getting tickets (I haven't gotten one in over 30 years), but because of my negative interactions with them. Here's an example of how they used a generalization against me: I almost got run over by a crazy aggressive driver blowing through my neighborhood. I was riding 100 percent legal. I got the license plate of the car, called the cops, and when they showed up, they started blaming me. First thing the cop says was "last week I saw some biker blow through an intersection -- you guys need to obey the traffic law." I asked him -- "if you saw some racial minority robbing a liquor store, would you think all minorities rob liquor stores"? Stupid cop was applying his stereotypes to me, and you're telling us not to apply our stereotypes to them?

The fact is: cops lie all the time. Not every cop, every time, but it's common. If you don't realize that, then you are denying the obvious. They also have the arrogance to NEVER EVER admit that they are wrong, such as leaving a car parked in the middle of a dark street with no lights on. In their minds they are perfect and will lie to preserve that image.
 
xFrankyBx said:
Pedalin Squares is the only person who makes any sense on this entire thread.

I get the feeling most of you guys have had nothing but bad experiances. The only reason I say that is because I've had nothing but good experiances with police officers and you need to respect them no matter what. When you have your house broken into and your bike is possibly going to get stolen who's going to show up not a fire fighter or a paramedic a cop will. And even the in the "heroic" situations you know who the first responders are? Not fire fighters or paramedics. Cops are always first on scene. Grow up with your He was mean to me so ill be mean to him right back mentality.

+1 Couldn't have said it better myself.
 
May 9, 2009
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xFrankyBx said:
Pedalin Squares is the only person who makes any sense on this entire thread.

I get the feeling most of you guys have had nothing but bad experiances. The only reason I say that is because I've had nothing but good experiances with police officers and you need to respect them no matter what. When you have your house broken into and your bike is possibly going to get stolen who's going to show up...

Yes, I've had nothing but bad experiences with cops -- lying cops, lazy cops, cops with bias against cyclists, cops that hate everyone but cops, bullying thug cops, rude cops -- the list goes on.

When I've needed a cop, they haven't done their job. Didn't return phone calls, didn't follow up, didn't care. It's rare to meet a group of employees that are as unethical as cops. I'm a government employee myself, and if I treated people that bad, I'd be fired within the day. But cops hide behind their thin blue line and will never get each other in trouble.

Respect them? I'll respect them when they respect me. It's a two-way street.

But besides your blind defense of cops, do you have anything to add to the OP? Do you think he should just assume say that cops are always right since they are superheroes, and meekly go away?
 
Aug 11, 2009
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xFrankyBx said:
Pedalin Squares is the only person who makes any sense on this entire thread.

Please explain which parts of my post made 'no sense' so that I may do better next time. To refresh your memory, I:

-relayed a true story about a cop so as to commiserate with our present victim;

-suggested that the cops were unlikely to change their story after having formally presented one;

-asked where the accident occurred and where the victim is domiciled (these facts are also known as 'bases for jurisdiction'); and I

-suggested one resource where the victim might find a bicycle-friendly attorney.

Clearly I am too crazy to recognize my own madness. Please help.
 
Jul 14, 2009
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ergmonkey said:
Please explain which parts of my post made 'no sense' so that I may do better next time. To refresh your memory, I:

-relayed a true story about a cop so as to commiserate with our present victim;

-suggested that the cops were unlikely to change their story after having formally presented one;

-asked where the accident occurred and where the victim is domiciled (these facts are also known as 'bases for jurisdiction'); and I

-suggested one resource where the victim might find a bicycle-friendly attorney.

Clearly I am too crazy to recognize my own madness. Please help.

I am just a little shy of doing 260 miles a week all my rides start and end through the city..I ma that guy riding 4 feet from the parked car because of the door factor. The bike paths that have that "safety island/buffer" BS are also really scary doors of trucks and cars and people just stepping out in front of you..They should count the accidents that are caused by the new bike paths these things are a lawyers dream. In NYC if you see a cop car just assume that the door is going to open..you know how critical hot coffee is to crime fighting
 
May 21, 2010
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fatandfast said:
I was hit 2 years ago, bike,clothing,transportation costs,lost wages all paid with no court date in less than 20 days once I agreed to settle. I don't know if my insurance company ever tried to get the money back that they had to pay for my medical.

How did you get the other party's information. Did they actually stop and render assistance and talk to you? Prior to this, I'd never been in a bike-car accident (other than a very minor incident). The fear in the back of my mind always is that a motorist striking a cyclist or otherwise causing a cyclist to crash would be very likely to flee the scene. Do you think I need to give my fellow man a little more credit?

I find the idea that one could be seriously injured and never even know who was responsible appalling.

I did call Mionski. He had some kind words and good advice, mainly to keep knocking on law firm doors until I find a good attorney who will take the case on contingency (that's where the law firm pays the legal costs upfront, and you only have to pay at the end if your case is won in your favor).
 
May 21, 2010
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TopCarbon said:
so, what was the explanation the cops gave for being where they were, positioning of the cars, etc?

To this day there has been no explanation given whatsoever. It really shocks me that the police department did absolutely no accident investigation (as far as I know), and basically tried to quickly sweep the whole nasty affair under the rug as a very minor incident which was my fault since I was the one who struck the police car.:eek:
 
May 21, 2010
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ergmonkey said:
If you were in MA, check out MassBike; I think they have some links to personal injury attorneys who are happy to advocate for road cyclists. Good luck.

Yes, I intend to contact a good number of bicycle related non-profits and see if they can help me in any way. I will post the results here for all my fellow perineum-mashers to read.

ergmonkey said:
You're unlikely to ever get the cops to change their story, so just making as much noise as possible in your community might be the best you can do in the end.

Yes, there is a public relations sort of aspect to this case. However, one has to be careful how one goes about this. Will report here on those efforts as well.:cool:
 

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