Elmira long-distance cyclist Bill Fischer brought my attention to a great post by a Washington, D.C., cyclist (and Police Officer!) who vividly describes her personal experience with being intentionally bumped by a car and then dealing with the frustrations of pursuing the criminal prosecution of the dangerous driver.
The post is very interesting reading and instructive to all cyclists, so I strongly urge my readers to read the post before reading any further.
Once you have read the post, consider my comments below:
YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY BOTH THE CAR AND THE DRIVER
I loved this quote: “It’s great that you memorized the license plate number – but we don’t arrest cars, we arrest drivers.”
Cyclists often forget that not only is it important that they try to get the license plate and other identifying information regarding the car (i.e., color, make, model), but they also need to try to get a description of the driver– male or female, race, hair color, etc.
YOU NEED TO BE WILLING TO ASSIST THE POLICE
Another good quote: “I would need to go there to see if I could positively identify the vehicle and driver.”
JUST BECAUSE YOU WEREN’T IN A BIKE LANE DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE AT FAULT
And a final quote: “No, there was no ‘bike lane’ – not that it mattered at al ….” Many people, including cyclists and even the police, mistakenly assume that somehow they are at fault if they get injured while riding in any area that is not a designated bike lane. Although I have written several posts about this before, let me be absolutely clear:
IN N.Y., CYCLISTS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO RIDE IN BIKE LANES. CYCLISTS HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS TO USE THE ROADS AS CARS.
‘Nuff said. Ride safely.
James B. Reed
NY & PA Bicycle Accident Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)