SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

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Geoff.D
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SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Geoff.D » 2 Sep 2014, 3:47pm

So, at 8.15am today, there I was lying in the back of an ambulance, strapped to an inflated body board with a neck barce completing my immobility. And a nice policeman gets in. At least, I think he was nice because his voice was OK, but I couldn't actually turn to make visual contact. He wanted to give me some reassurance.

I'd been calmly riding up the steady 6%, one mile, straight slope out of my village. Wide road. Rural. SE direction. Medium traffic. The top was in sight, where I turn off onto the lanes. And then......bang!! I'm hit from behind on the right shoulder by a wing mirror travelling at (as reported later) 40mph. In itself that might not have been a problem, but the fact that it was attached to a car at the time did explain why I made the mental note to myself - "Oh ........" - as I slid up the road amid pieces of said mirror. The car stopped some 50m up the road and the driver ran back saying "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I couldn't see a thing. The sun was in my eyes"

The reassurance that the policeman wanted to give me was two fold. In the first instance the driver didn't mean it and was quite upset, and he'd put her details in my pannier so that I could contact her to say I was OK if I wanted to. Secondly, the sun had been in her eyes, and that had been corroborated by the driver behind her. My reply was that I didn't for a minute think that the driver had meant it, but that the sun was in her eyes was no excuse at all. At which point, he did say "Of course".

On reflection, this seems to me both a SMIDSY by the driver and (in a more subtle way) by the police officer. There was no indication from him that, if she couldn't see after driving into the sun for a mile, then she was driving beyond the safe limits of the current conditions. There seems to be a transference of responsibility from the driver to the "act of God" that is the sun. For both of them the tacit principle seems that the car takes precedence, and it was just unfortunate that I happened to be there at the same time as the sun was shining.

Despite being fully conscious and having full recollection of all the events, I've not been asked to make a statement.

Or am I being naive? Or do I still have adrenilin coursing through my veins at the thought of the consequences to me of her being 10 cm further to the left? Or am I just miffed at having spent £26 on a taxi? Or am I worried how this event will affect my non-cyclist partner's confidence, when we've just started riding a semi-recumbent tandem together?

I'm OK. The sun's shining. I'll be stiff tomorrow, but I'm still here. But (for the first time in 65 years) my vulnerability as a cyclist feels real.

Rant over. Back to listening to Yorkshire disposing of Lancashire in their march towards the title!!

Mark1978
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Mark1978 » 2 Sep 2014, 3:53pm

http://road.cc/content/news/110363-jail ... ed-cyclist this driver was jailed for it.
However there have also been many cases where "the sun was in my eyes" has been accepted as a valid defence.

beardy
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby beardy » 2 Sep 2014, 3:56pm

For both of them the tacit principle seems that the car takes precedence, and it was just unfortunate that I happened to be there at the same time as the sun was shining.


Unfortunately that view will be shared by any Judge this goes before or any Jury but that is irrelevant as the CPS will ensure they are not bothered by the case because they think that is what the Jury will think.
That is if the Police even bother the CPS with it.

Bonefishblues
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Bonefishblues » 2 Sep 2014, 3:57pm

That's bizarre - "I couldn't see a thing" is akin to driving with your eyes closed. Certainly not driving to the conditions.

I'm sure there are always occasions where we get a momentary shaft of bright sunlight which dazzles us whilst driving but presumably this being a long straight and constant hill she's continued to drive up in this "unseeing" state for some distance.

Yes, you have every right to be angry about this. Others will know better than me how to escalate this, should you wish.

...and I'm glad you're (broadly) OK, BTW :)

Geoff.D
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Geoff.D » 2 Sep 2014, 4:01pm

PS

Just had a call from the police officer. He wanted to know if I was OK ( kind). He wanted to tell me that he'd do the paperwork tomorrow and send me all the driver's details (businesslike). He wanted to know if I'd found my bike where hiss colleague had left it (solicitous). But then he wanted to know how to describe the bike (a recumbent) and made the statement that it seemed not to have suffered any damage and was still in a road worthy condition. He asked if I agreed with that (to which I said I hadn't looked yet).

Any thoughts anyone?

Mark1978
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Joined: 17 Jul 2012, 8:47am
Location: Chester-le-Street, County Durham

Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Mark1978 » 2 Sep 2014, 4:05pm

Geoff.D wrote:PS

Just had a call from the police officer. He wanted to know if I was OK ( kind). He wanted to tell me that he'd do the paperwork tomorrow and send me all the driver's details (businesslike). He wanted to know if I'd found my bike where hiss colleague had left it (solicitous). But then he wanted to know how to describe the bike (a recumbent) and made the statement that it seemed not to have suffered any damage and was still in a road worthy condition. He asked if I agreed with that (to which I said I hadn't looked yet).

Any thoughts anyone?


Yes; contact legal representation. Are you covered through CTC, British Cycling etc?

sore thumb
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby sore thumb » 2 Sep 2014, 4:57pm

Geoff.D wrote:PS

Just had a call from the police officer. He wanted to know if I was OK ( kind). He wanted to tell me that he'd do the paperwork tomorrow and send me all the driver's details (businesslike). He wanted to know if I'd found my bike where hiss colleague had left it (solicitous). But then he wanted to know how to describe the bike (a recumbent) and made the statement that it seemed not to have suffered any damage and was still in a road worthy condition. He asked if I agreed with that (to which I said I hadn't looked yet).

Any thoughts anyone?



Yes, don't say anything without getting legal advise.

As others have said CTC, british cycling.

Don't be fobbed off or forced to say anything. I was with british cycling and the other insurers tried a few times to ask me to revise my statement (for some reason). I refused to make any changes in my original statement.

If the sun is that bad that you can't see someone in the road then you should stop. I would say it's an admission of guilt to keep on driving at speed when you can't see anything.

What do you do? Just hope you don't hit something?
I bet if they were going round a bend when the sun was in their eyes that they would manage to stay on the road.

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Spinners
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Spinners » 2 Sep 2014, 5:04pm

Hi Geoff.D - sorry to hear about your 'SMIDSY' but really glad you're not hurt too bad. I hope the legal side goes smoothly for you.

I lost a very dear friend to a 'the sun was in my eyes' incident and a second clubmate took such a wallop that it left him disabled - both on the same hill but on different ends of the day.
Cycling UK Life Member
PBP Ancien (2007)

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gaz
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby gaz » 2 Sep 2014, 6:53pm

Sorry to hear of your SMIDSY, hope you recover swiftly.

There are two issue:

Compensation for injury, pain, suffering and any damage to your bike; get legal advice and assistance.

Prosecution of the driver. If you would like to see that happen read here and keep on top of the police. There is a very definite timescale that must be worked to for a Notice of Intended Prosecution to be issued, the clock's already ticking.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

Geoff.D
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Geoff.D » 2 Sep 2014, 7:12pm

Thanks for your replies, folks. And for the good wishes.

I hadn't initially thought of going any further with this, other than recompense for financial loss. However, the response from the police seems to be to minimalise the outcomes and, thereby, justify drawing a line under it as "one of those things", or "knock for knock". Perhaps it's early days for me to make that assumption, and I should wait to see how it pans out.

However, there definitely is a principle here and a challenge to the presumption in favour of the car might be worth making. Progress withn the "Safer Cycling" project depends on equality. I'll sleep on it. (assuming the bruises, swellings and lacerations allow me to find a sleeping position!!)

beardy
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby beardy » 2 Sep 2014, 7:20pm

It is only in respect of the criminal prosecution that you are going to get no help from the Police.

As far as your compensation is concerned that would appear to be in the bag, all you need to fight over is how much and how soon. It certainly isnt a knock for knock, it is clearly her liability, she just isnt likely to be punished for criminal behaviour.

Unless she suddenly realises that "you swerved out in front of her" which will be very hard to argue now because she has already told a Police Officer that she didnt see you.

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661-Pete
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby 661-Pete » 2 Sep 2014, 8:03pm

Ouch! Glad you're not badly hurt but it must have shaken you up a good deal. And hope the bike's OK (yep that's what we all say)!

"Sun in my eyes" should be no defence against Careless Driving. Either the driver could see where she was going, or she couldn't. If she couldn't, even with sun visor down, she should have slowed to a speed at which she could have seen what was in front of her and stopped or taken avoiding action in time. There is no excuse. End of argument. If it does come to Court, she might plead sun in her eyes as a mitigating circumstance, but that's for the magistrate to decide. Not the police.

I'm not about to badger you, but we all need the precedent to be there: if motorists are able to plead immunity because "the sun was in their eyes" then where would we be? Along a stretch of my homeward ride, this evening, the sun was very much in my eyes, and I had to go carefully even on the bike, shielding my eyes as best I could. Therefore it might well have been in the eyes of any following motorist (whether below the visor line, I couldn't say). But luckily all my following motorists were being sensible.

Every place on Earth (apart from the Polar regions) experiences one sunrise and one sunset every day, so there are bound to be two periods every day when the sun is low in the sky. It all depends on the weather, the landscape, and which way you are facing. So as I said, no excuse.
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
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--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

reohn2
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby reohn2 » 2 Sep 2014, 8:56pm

GeoffD
I can't add anything to the advise already been offered,only to say sorry to read about the incident and say hope you get well soon :)
-----------------------------------------------------------

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Mick F
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Mick F » 2 Sep 2014, 9:18pm

Yes, get well soon, and it's good to know that you're up and able to recount the story.

Sun in the eyes is a problem we all have to cope with, but sometimes it can come quickly and suddenly. The problem car drivers have is that they are aware of vehicles behind them, and to stop suddenly may result in being hit up the back because they too can't see. Perhaps that may be her defence? Not a good defence of course, but still a defence.
Mick F. Cornwall

Geoff.D
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Re: SMIDSY........is alive and well and living near you

Postby Geoff.D » 3 Sep 2014, 5:27pm

Again, thanks for the good wishes. I'm OK, and not suffering the stiffness I expected. The most awkward/painful spot is the gravel rash/lacerations on my right hip/buttock. Makes me even more amazed at how the TdF riders pick themselves up time and again after having slid down the road.

Anyhow, I've been back to the site today and taken some photos and measurements. There is a clear sight line of 250m before the point of impact. If the driver had been unsighted for (at least) that distance, I would have thought she would have been able to slow adequately, with due regard to traffic behind. Afterall, how do we cope with pedestrians stepping onto a zebra crossing, quite legally, at a distance of 250m. To remain unsighted for that length of time (about 11 secs at the reported 40mph) seems to me to be quite careless.

Had she been intermittently unsighted, then what's she doing not seeing me?

I've decided that I'm not particularly interested in a personal injury claim, but that I will claim for financial loss. However, I'll get in touch with the CTC for advice as to proceeding with a challenge should there be no further action from the authorities. The advice may well be that it's not worth pursuing in pragmatic terms. But, it may be worth it in order to make the point. I'll keep the forum posted.