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wanglung
06-16-2011, 09:10 AM
Hi everyone,

Is it normal not having a police report for an accident?

It happened at around 3:10 pm of 6/13, I was riding northward on the left side sidewalk of Redland Road passing the entrance of Metro Station with pedestrian green light, I was hit by a car going out on the right turn lane. I fell down and had some minor scratches and generally ok, half of my bike was under the front of the car. 911 was called by the driver and a fire engine was there in less than 30 seconds, great job of these Montgomery firefighters. I felt fine and signed a release from for not going to the hospital then we were all waiting for the police to finish all this mess and I could go home.

Two policemen came about 10~15 minutes later and strange things started happening, the police let the driver go first then arguing with a lady witness, she said 'she did not see when it happened but she did see half of my bike was under the car and me lying down on the ground but one of the policeman said you did not see it at the time and seems to me he just try to get rid of her. For me, the police did not ask me what happened, not even my name then ask everyone to leave.

2 days later I called the police station and asking for a police report for this accident and been told that there is not even a police report number, all they can give me is an event number 110181882, the officer for this accident can only be reached Saturday to Tuesday.

There do have some conversations between me and the Police,
1) they told me that riding on the sidewalk is illegal, which is not true for the Montgomery County and
2) I was on the wrong side of the sidewalk. I should riding on the right side of of the sidewalk, the same as the traffic flow, this I don't know if true. I try to Google it by did not get any. What I think is that you are on the pedestrian sidewalk, you should behave like a pedestrian and yield to them. Which side of sidewalk does not matter. Any idea?

So my translation is that, you are lucky that we, police did not give you a ticket. Just go away. I was hit by a car on the pedestrian crossing with pedestrian green light then the driver just went away without a ticket, not even a police report? So back to my first line:

Is it normal not having a police report for an accident?

I am thinking of fighting this, like one of my friend talked to me, 'you don't want this happen to your kids, bad cop or bad driver getting away'

All the ideas are greatly appreciated.

Wanglung

StopMeansStop
06-16-2011, 10:30 AM
First of all, the police was trying to determine if the witness actually WITNESSESED the accident. Not the aftermath.

Second, if if you were in the crosswalk with a green pedestrian light, the you probably had right of way. I'm saying probably because I don't know if being in the saddle has any bearing. Assuming it doesn't, then as long as you were in the crosswalk area, it shouldn't matter if you were in the left or right portion of the crosswalk.

If the above were true, I would try to contact the driver and get them to pay for your bike repair. They might be happy to do this and avoid having their insurance find out about this incident.

txgoonie
06-16-2011, 07:22 PM
What is going on lately!? I got crunched on my way to work in Crystal City. I was riding through an intersection exactly where I should have been and a car coming toward me from the other direction didn't see me and took a left turn right into me. She claimed the sun was in her eyes, which is plausible, but I'm more of the mind that texting/inattention was to blame. I do feel I'm getting a bit of a runaround with Arlington Police, but things are still in motion, so I'll withhold judgment for now.

Greenbelt
06-16-2011, 08:58 PM
I guess one of the first rules of driving should maybe be "If you can't see where you're going, you shouldn't!"

I spoke with a neighbor the other day who said he just broke a string of 8 years commuting without a crash -- he got left crossed on Taylor street in NE DC.

wanglung
06-17-2011, 07:22 AM
First of all, the police was trying to determine if the witness actually WITNESSESED the accident. Not the aftermath.

Second, if if you were in the crosswalk with a green pedestrian light, the you probably had right of way. I'm saying probably because I don't know if being in the saddle has any bearing. Assuming it doesn't, then as long as you were in the crosswalk area, it shouldn't matter if you were in the left or right portion of the crosswalk.

If the above were true, I would try to contact the driver and get them to pay for your bike repair. They might be happy to do this and avoid having their insurance find out about this incident.

Thank you very much for the advice. The problem from what I saw was that these 2 policemen, no one take a note or even write anything down. I had a bit of suspicion that one of the policeman is an acquaintance with the driver.

I had a bit of after shock at the time and did not think clearly so I think a police report might help me to clarify, can I ride on the sidewalk in both directions or I have to follow the traffic flow, what if there is only one sidewalk on the wrong side?

DismalScientist
06-17-2011, 08:51 AM
I think it is legal to ride on the sidewalk. That being said, studies suggest that riding on the sidewalk (and other segregated facilities) is more dangerous than riding on the road in the direction of traffic.

Joe Chapline
06-17-2011, 09:01 AM
In most places, riding on the sidewalk is legal, and I've never heard of any rule restricting which direction you can ride (or walk) on a sidewalk.

Jsnyd
06-17-2011, 09:09 AM
There is a post about sidewalk and street riding. You may want to check it out. A lot of good info and insight to the usual decisions made by daily bikers. Generally you want to use the street or bike path whenever possible but in some cases when there is a safety issue do what is best for yourself, yielding to pedestrians if you choose the sidewalk.

Sorry to hear about your situation. Sounds like your reporting officer didn't want to deal with the paperwork and tried to sweep you under the rug. I'd be angry too.

wanglung
06-17-2011, 10:15 AM
Thank you again for all these replies. I prefer the sidewalk because I am an old guy, 50+, just biking to be a bit faster than walking, I always yields to pedestrians and sometimes I biking with my teenage kid, put her on the road with a bike will increase 10 times of my heart beat :)

I am thinking about submitting a complaint to the Internal Affairs of police department.Jsnyd, "sweep you under the rug" is exactly how I felt, taxpayer should not be treated like this.

Silver
06-18-2011, 09:26 AM
Hello Wanglung,

I ride in Montgomery County too, mostly around Rockville Pike. I've been using the sidewalks a lot (forum thread: http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?794-Newbie-in-Rockville-should-I-get-off-the-sidewalk). I looked it up, and riding on the sidewalk is legal in MoCo. I wonder why the police said it was illegal, then told you you should have been on the right-hand sidewalk. I've seen a lot of reports lately of police not knowing the laws pertaining to bicycles, but this is the first I've heard in Montgomery County. I don't understand why they wouldn't file a police report for a collision in the road. If it were in a parking lot that would be one thing, but in the road? I think you'd be justified in filing a complaint. I'll be interested to hear what happens.

wanglung
06-20-2011, 11:13 AM
Hi Silver,

Thank you for the support, I read your thread and the information are very helpful.

I was following StopmeansStop's advice to contact the driver and asking for fixing up my bike, he said that the police told him that he is not liable for the accident so he is not going to do anything, I thanked him and hang up the phone politely.

Next I prepared my complaint form and faxed it to the Interal Affairs of Montgomery Police department, I should get a reply in about a week.

What I think is that an accident happened, I got hurt with a broken bike, if I was wrong like go through a red light, why I did not get a ticket? 911 was called, 2 policemen was there and there is no police report?

I am learning a lesson here and I will stay cool and try to process this as civilized as possible, at lease I am ok and can talk, complain about it out loud.

RESTONTODC
06-20-2011, 11:56 AM
I was following StopmeansStop's advice to contact the driver and asking for fixing up my bike, he said that the police told him that he is not liable for the accident so he is not going to do anything, I thanked him and hang up the phone politely.


Wanglung, I'm sorry this happens to you. I don't much about the law but can the police decide the who is liable for it? If you got hut, you might need an attorney for it.

I got in the car accident about 6 years ago in DC. The other driver was clearly at fault. I called the police but they didn't do anything other asked us to exchange information.

After it, the other driver and his insurance didn't admit the fault or they didn't want pay for it and I was hurt. So I got an attorney for it, it looks more than 2 years but the mediator decided other driver was at fault. They have to pay all the medical costs, car damage, and attorney fees.

The best part was I don't deal with them. The attorney did all the work.

CCrew
06-20-2011, 12:03 PM
I'm not trying to come across harsh here, so please don't take it as such.

MD, and VA have a clause known as "contributory negligence". It basically means that both parties have fault in the accident, and in the case of insurance it means that both parties are left to repair their own damages. I suspect that that's in place here which is why both parties escaped without a ticket. I seriously doubt that the cops are friends with the driver, or that any discrimination is occurring, or anything else is at play other than somehow, some way both parties were deemed at fault or possibly even you were deemed at fault and the cops chose not to write a ticket.

Sidewalks, crosswalks and the like are a BAD place to ride. You had every legal right to ride in the street. The fact that you chose not to could *potentially* be argued as negligence on your part.

Personally I'd lick my wounds, fix the bike and move on.

wanglung
06-20-2011, 12:48 PM
Hi CCrew,

Thank you for the information, what I am wondering about is that, isn't that the job of a police to write a report with the facts and if either party want to settle it in a court, they can have some facts base on the police report.

Another one is I really like to know if there is such a law, rule or regulations that when you are riding on a sidewalk which is legal by Montgomery county code sec. 31-5, do I have to follow the flow of traffic on the right side of the sidewalk?

Of course I can move on and I will move on, but as a father, I should do all I can to help, what if my kid is the next one facing this situation?

DismalScientist
06-20-2011, 02:37 PM
I don't think it matters which direction you are going on the sidewalk; it is legal, albeit inadvisable. I would imagine that it would be somewhat safer in the direction of traffic as drivers looking for other cars are more likely to see you on the sidewalk if you are coming in the same direction as cross traffic.

CCrew
06-20-2011, 03:38 PM
Hi CCrew,

Thank you for the information, what I am wondering about is that, isn't that the job of a police to write a report with the facts and if either party want to settle it in a court, they can have some facts base on the police report.

Another one is I really like to know if there is such a law, rule or regulations that when you are riding on a sidewalk which is legal by Montgomery county code sec. 31-5, do I have to follow the flow of traffic on the right side of the sidewalk?

Of course I can move on and I will move on, but as a father, I should do all I can to help, what if my kid is the next one facing this situation?

I don't know what the current stare of police reports are in MontCo, but I know where I am they won;'t write one for less than $2k in property damage or unless there's personal injury involved. You signed off on an injury, thereby absolving the PI portion of it. I can say had you not done that there was almost sure to be a report.

As far as the kids, I have three. They've all been raised to know that they have the same rights as a car on roads. Keep in mind what may be legal (ie: riding on a sidewalk) isn't always the smartest thing to do.

wanglung
06-21-2011, 07:22 AM
Thank you all again for these advices given. I am continuing cooling down and just treating this issue as some kind of paper work to deal with it. Actually I rode my bike to work today again.

I thought of a joke last night:
The driver said: Oh s**t, I hit a person on the pedestrian crossing!
Luckily, this guy was on a bike, I am not liable for this.

DaveK
06-21-2011, 08:19 AM
Thank you all again for these advices given. I am continuing cooling down and just treating this issue as some kind of paper work to deal with it. Actually I rode my bike to work today again.

I thought of a joke last night:
The driver said: Oh s**t, I hit a person on the pedestrian crossing!
Luckily, this guy was on a bike, I am not liable for this.

If you want to legally murder someone in MD, just run them over with a car. Not joking. Of the last several cyclists who have been hit and killed I don't think a single driver has been given anything more severe than a couple-hundred dollar fine. It's ridiculous. Thankfully MD just passed a law making it easier for prosecutors to charge these drivers with a crime.

wanglung
06-22-2011, 07:30 AM
Hi Davek,

Thank you.
It's good to know about this and thanks to a lot of concerned citizens that the MD law is improving.

And to RestonToDC,
Thank you for sharing your experience, after a few days of thinking and thinking from the driver and insurance's point of view, their denying of fault is just logical, after all, there is no punishment for doing it and if they can get away with it with even just a little chance, the better.

So I learned a lesson here, behave as a civilized person, it's good for all including me but never forget to apply rule of jungle because it's everywhere.

RESTONTODC
06-22-2011, 10:31 AM
Wanglung,

I think you made a good decision. Hopefully, you didn't hurt badly. May be just scratches.

In my case, my medical bills were more than 30K and my head was hurt for weeks. My doctor send me ER when I learned the CAT SCAN and MRI cost a fortune.

Ride soon.

Rick

DaveK
06-22-2011, 11:20 AM
Act like everyone is trying to kill you. In their own way, texting or reading the paper or (god forbid) putting on make up, they are all trying to kill you.

CCrew
06-22-2011, 11:26 AM
Act like everyone is trying to kill you. In their own way, texting or reading the paper or (god forbid) putting on make up, they are all trying to kill you.

Shame is that statement would be kinda funny if it weren't so durned true!

RESTONTODC
06-22-2011, 12:41 PM
Act like everyone is trying to kill you. In their own way, texting or reading the paper or (god forbid) putting on make up, they are all trying to kill you.

That's why they called "Defensive riding"

Greenbelt
06-22-2011, 12:56 PM
This morning, I almost got run down by a car (I didn't see the driver) who attempted to pass a line of traffic on the right by speeding through the bike lane at about 60 miles per hour. This was on Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt. I didn't have time to fish my camera out to get a picture. He (or she) had to get the Greenbelt metro, you see, which was a couple hundred yards farther up. Probably late for an important meeting or something. And nearly killing a couple cyclists and hitting another car was incidental to the extreme importance of gaining a couple car lengths going into the parking lot.

These sort of drivers really don't care about killing others. After all, it's just an accident, right?

acc
06-22-2011, 06:00 PM
Whew, glad you are ok, glad the other cyclists are ok.
ann

Greenbelt
06-22-2011, 07:34 PM
Yeah, I sent another letter to the mayor asking for traffic calming and better speed enforcement -- Cherrywood lane connects most of Greenbelt with the Anacostia Tributary trails. It has bike lanes, but the road design is pretty awful and leads to speeding and reckless turns coming in to and out of the Greenbelt Metro and also near Beltway Plaza mall. You'd think our progressive city could do a better job taking control of that road and creating a safe corridor for riders to get to the trails.

ronwalf
06-22-2011, 07:58 PM
Other than people right-turning into the metro, I rarely have problems on Cherrywood Lane. Not that it couldn't use a road diet, though.

At its widest, if you ripped out the unused parking and the painted median, it could fit at least four lanes of traffic plus bike lanes. I.e., a tremendous waste of asphalt. If it was the width of Crescent Rd, I don't think anyone would suffer.