Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
thirdcrank
Posts: 29041
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Jul 2020, 9:24pm

I've no doubt that there's a duty on the driver to stop and give the specified details. The stop bit is pretty much absolute and it's implied that stopping includes remaining long enough to give the details. Reporting to the police within 24 hours etc., is not a simple alternative to doing so at the scene. However, the giving details bit must depend on circumstances.

Let's think of some scenarios

Driver is unconscious in a public ambulance on way to A&E. Common sense dictates etc.
Driver is less-seriously injured but needs to get first aid. Depends on circumstances
Driver feels shaken so seeks treatment in nearby licensed premises consuming two medicinal double brandies. Mmm.

The third example points to one of the most common reasons for scarpering after a crash viz and to wit (legal small talk there) fear of the breathalyser. As an aside, I presume that the fact that the driver was seen soon after by the police means alcohol was not involved here.

I can think of some circumstances where it would be reasonable for a driver not to hang around, one obvious one being the fear of violence.

Brief summaries of decided cases are not always applicable, in that they always depend on the specific facts.

I've dug out this for Lee v Knapp:-

https://dullbonline.wordpress.com/2017/ ... 2-q-b-442/

The managing director of a company drove a van round the block to demonstrate to an employee that it was easy to handle, but by colliding with a parked car demonstrated something else. Anyway, he went back inside the factory and when the owner of the parked car returned having been alerted by the noise of the crash, he was supplied details by the company's transport manager. The police attended and the driver was reported and prosecuted under the then RTA 1960. Following conviction at the magistrates' court, the conviction was reviewed by the Queen's Bench Division by way of case stated and upheld. The judgment seems to take it for granted that stop meant stop and remain and AIUI, the main point of the judgment was that the driver had a personal responsibility to provide the specified information which could not be delegated.

And here's the waggle room:-

... the phrase ―the driver of the motor vehicle shall stop‖ is properly to be construed as meaning that the driver of the motor vehicle shall stop it and remain where he has stopped it for such a period of time as in the prevailing circumstances, having regard in particular to the character of the road or place in which the accident happened ....
(My emphasis.)


FWIW, that case dates from a time when the police routinely attended all crashes of which they were aware and generally prosecuted somebody.

I know that first hand as tomorrow is the 53rd anniversary of my swearing to serve our Sovereign Lady the Queen in the Office of Constable and today is the 23rd anniversary of my retirement. There have been a lot of changes in that half century or so and the near-collapse of traffic enforcement is one.

irc
Posts: 4755
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby irc » 13 Jul 2020, 9:32pm

thirdcrank wrote:I know that first hand as tomorrow is the 53rd anniversary of my swearing to serve our Sovereign Lady the Queen in the Office of Constable and today is the 23rd anniversary of my retirement. There have been a lot of changes in that half century or so and the near-collapse of traffic enforcement is one.


The clock keeps ticking doesn't it? 40 and 10 for me.

thirdcrank
Posts: 29041
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby thirdcrank » 13 Jul 2020, 9:49pm

irc wrote: ... The clock keeps ticking doesn't it? 40 and 10 for me.


Mine ticks faster with every passing day.

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 10:40am

Cowsham wrote:If the driver said you swerved in front of him why didn't he want your details since you ( as he claims ) damaged the front of his car? Or has he taken your details?

The other thing to watch out for is that this could have been a young kant out for a drive in his mammy's car who just happens to be a police woman ( as happened to a friend of mine -- the police closed ranks and that was that )

No, he didn't take my details (He probably stopped for < 1 minute, during which time I was on the phone to the police 999 handler).

He was obviously coached (by a lawyer? Police officer?) before he gave his statement since he had all of the answers prepared to escape justice. He claimed in his statement (1) He didn't stop because I was angry* and (2) he was on his way home to report this. Of course neither of those were things he mentioned when he was pulled over, but a week later when he gave his statement he was prepared.

* This is true, of course, I was angry - I had been interntionally rammed. But I certainly wasn't being violent or threatening. He is / was a huge weapon of a man (18st+) and I'm a lithe cyclist with no upper body strength :D In fact I was loudly telling him and anyone else who was listening that he had just assaulted me, partly for my own protection when he got out of the car. At the point he drove away I was speaking to a police call handler so they have the details on call recording.

+ The car belonged to a relative (not a spouse) who was in the car with him.

+ I don't know who he is / what friends he has in positions of power.

+ I don't have any reason to suspect alcohol was involved. I don't know if he was breathalysed at the scene (I think it's standard practice now?).

I'm going to ask the question that nobody else here (as far I'm aware) has asked - Was the driver actually insured to drive the car? Have the Police confirmed this, or are they just dropping any Criminal charges 'because insurance will deal with it'.

I don't know for sure but his insurer have confirmed that the vehicle was insured and they are acting on behalf of the driver. So I presume so. Otherwise they would have just denied any interest in the matter. Presumably though if he was driving while uninsured he would have been prosecuted separately (Although at this point I could believe anything :roll: )?

Jdsk
Posts: 1242
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby Jdsk » 14 Jul 2020, 11:39am

superficial wrote:He was obviously coached (by a lawyer? Police officer?) before he gave his statement since he had all of the answers prepared to escape justice. He claimed in his statement (1) He didn't stop because I was angry* and (2) he was on his way home to report this. Of course neither of those were things he mentioned when he was pulled over, but a week later when he gave his statement he was prepared.

Have you seen this statement?

superficial wrote:Anyway, despite my evidence (the call to the police, the damage to my bike, the damage to THE FRONT OF his car, my version of events), his insurer have accepted his version of events entirely that I cut in front of him.

How do you know this?

Thanks

Jonathan

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 12:08pm

Jdsk wrote:Have you seen this statement?
No, but the police officers have told me what it contains. A lawyer can access this, apparently, for a fee. I believe the county courts can also request copies of the statement. However I've been told I cannot have a copy ("data protection").

Essentially, he apparently told the police he just didn't see me in front of him. This seemingly absolved him of any criminal culpability (vs my claim that it was intentional).

Of course, he told the insurer a different tale of how I cut into his lane and he saw me do it but was powerless to avoid it.

Both are completely untrue, but the fact that they differ tells its own story.

How do you know this?

I called the insurers, asked them to pay for my bike. They have written a letter to me explaining their stance which states "You have come from the left and cut into our insured's lane. We have no offer's [sic]to make at this time."

I know that his insurer have not requested the police statements, or the photographs of damage to his car. They haven't tried hard to establish any facts, perhaps they're just chancing it. The grammatical errors in the letter irritated me - Presumably they left a junior clerk in charge of fobbing me off.
Last edited by superficial on 14 Jul 2020, 12:10pm, edited 1 time in total.

tim-b
Posts: 1419
Joined: 10 Oct 2009, 8:20am

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby tim-b » 14 Jul 2020, 12:09pm

Hi
The car belonged to a relative (not a spouse) who was in the car with him

Do you know that the driver during the collision was the same driver as when the police stopped the car?
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

Jdsk
Posts: 1242
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby Jdsk » 14 Jul 2020, 12:11pm

superficial wrote:I called the insurers, asked them to pay for my bike. They have written a letter to me explaining their stance which states "You have come from the left and cut into our insured's lane. We have no offer's [sic]to make at this time."

How did they identify the incident in that letter?

Jonathan

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 12:12pm

tim-b wrote:Hi
The car belonged to a relative (not a spouse) who was in the car with him

Do you know that the driver during the collision was the same as the driver when the police stopped the car?
Regards
tim-b

No, but from speaking to the police it does not sound as though they did a swap. Without giving away too much, there was a significant age difference which makes this obvious.

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 12:13pm

Jdsk wrote:How did they identify the incident in that letter?

I reported it to them several days after it happened. He had not reported the accident to them (he has a contractual duty to report any collision to his insurer).

Jdsk
Posts: 1242
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby Jdsk » 14 Jul 2020, 12:17pm

superficial wrote:
Jdsk wrote:How did they identify the incident in that letter?

I reported it to them several days after it happened. He had not reported the accident to them (he has a contractual duty to report any collision to his insurer).

When you wrote to them you had the registration number of the vehicle... and what other information?

And when they replied how did they identify the incident? What was in your letter... and a name or address of the driver or the registered keeper?

Jonathan

Postboxer
Posts: 1650
Joined: 24 Jul 2013, 5:19pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby Postboxer » 14 Jul 2020, 12:59pm

So are his insurers saying that you undertook him then swerved in front, or he was overtaking you and you swerved in front? Could you tell exactly where on his vehicle it had hit you?

Also, how wide is the road where the collision occurred, could you post a link to google maps, do you know where he was stopped? If you ever find his address you could check it's on his way home. Funny how he was stopped by police on his way home to report it but then failed to report it to his insurer. There's too much insurance fraud in this country. Failing to report to insurers should see the insurance cancelled and a ban from obtaining insurance in my opinion.

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 2:31pm

Postboxer wrote:So are his insurers saying that you undertook him then swerved in front, or he was overtaking you and you swerved in front?

They are saying that I moved in front of him. They haven't given it that much thought.

For a bit more detail:
I've been riding bikes my whole life and commuting primarily on bike for the last 15 years. I do thousands of miles a year. I've had one other major incident (100% fault other driver's fault, no quibble). I've definitely developed a fairly finely-tuned 6th sense for avoiding accidents.

I don't get angry at drivers, but I suppose I am 'assertive'. I think that an important part of being a cyclist is asserting your right to be on the roads and not simply being a meek apologetic inconvenience that makes themselves invisible. Partly this is so drivers see cyclists as other road users and that has the knock-on effect that other less confident people can ride without (so much) fear.

So, to the incident: He was slower than I was at that point, and I was moving between queuing traffic for at least 200m before the junction. I moved across to position myself in front of him well before the junction (perhaps 40-50m back), then he tried a ridiculous close pass so I reached across and tapped his wing with my open palm to say 'too close mate'. He failed his overtake since he ran out of space between him and the car in front. I repositioned myself in the gap (between the car in front of him and his car) while both cars were stationary (In hindsight, this was not the smartest self-preserving move on my part, but I was playing the role of a rider with, y'know, a right to be in that space). The car in front moved forwards a few spaces, I stayed immediately behind that car until I stopped at the white line of the roundabout. Angry man beeps his horn at me, I turn back to face him, give him a gallic shrug (life's too short to get wound up at other people) then as I turn round to face forwards again, he drives into me, pushing me onto the roundabout.

There is absolutely no doubt that a) he had seen me (he beeped at me {FFE - family-friendly edit }!), b) I was positioned directly in front of him for some time, c) I was stationary at the time, and d) it was an intentional move on his part. FWIW, I don't know if he was trying to hurt me - he may have simply been trying to establish dominance by nudging me forwards. Perhaps he momentarily forgot he was driving a 2ton machine and had gammon-footed clutch control.

Could you tell exactly where on his vehicle it had hit you?

Yes, you could see the broken trim on the front centre portion of his bumper. I don't have photographs of that since he drove away, although apparently the police have recorded the damage. For some reasons, they did not take photographs of his car, but apparently he has shown them (but not his insurer) a photograph of the damage.

Also, how wide is the road where the collision occurred, could you post a link to google maps, do you know where he was stopped? If you ever find his address you could check it's on his way home.

I won't post a map if that's OK, I don't want to reveal all the details online. It's a two lane 40mph limit inner city dual carriageway. It splits into three lanes about 70-80m before a roundabout which has 4 other exits (at approximately 9, 12, 2, 4 O'clock from my approach). I was turning slight right (3rd exit / 2 O'clock) and I was (appropriately) using the middle lane. At rush hour, traffic is at a crawl. Even though it's a fairly steep uphill approach to the roundabout, I am always cycling faster than cars (still only ~10mph). At that time, often the traffic is static on the roundabout itself and I have to weave through. It's an awful junction, to be honest, but an unavoidable bottleneck for me (the rest of my commute is quite pleasant!).

That's a good point about the direction he was travelling in. I will check if / when I find his address. However, there are not very many junctions between the accident and where he was stopped so I think it's likely he was intending to travel in that direction. It's also quite unlikely he would have been able to turn off the road onto a side street to evade police, which may well have been his intention. Of course, he would not have been aware that the police were so close behind him, so just trying to scarper and get home seems like the most plausible explanation.

Funny how he was stopped by police on his way home to report it but then failed to report it to his insurer.

Yes, there are lots of aspects that are 'funny'. Failure to report to his insurer is, I believe, a contractual issue between him and his insurer. I.e. he is obliged to report it for their records and it potentially invalidates his insurance if he does not, but I don't think there is a legal duty to notify them within a certain time frame. Presumably his insurer could consider it to be fraud but as far as I know they don't plan to pursue him for that (why would they?).

When you wrote to them you had the registration number of the vehicle... and what other information?

And when they replied how did they identify the incident? What was in your letter... and a name or address of the driver or the registered keeper?

Quite soon after the incident, the police contacted me with the driver's name and DOB (?) and insurer. I already had his number plate. I contacted his insurer first by phone and then by email. I haven't written a physical letter to them (yet). They recorded the incident and then (apparently) spoke to the driver. In their letter they just refer to the 'incident' by date and a reference number.
Last edited by superficial on 14 Jul 2020, 2:34pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
Posts: 1242
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby Jdsk » 14 Jul 2020, 2:33pm

superficial wrote:
Postboxer wrote:So are his insurers saying that you undertook him then swerved in front, or he was overtaking you and you swerved in front?

They are saying that I moved in front of him. They haven't given it that much thought.

Could we have a look at a copy of that, please?

Thanks

Jonathan

superficial
Posts: 14
Joined: 10 Jul 2020, 9:04pm

Re: Hit from behind while commuting - advice please!

Postby superficial » 14 Jul 2020, 2:36pm

Could we have a look at a copy of that, please?

Sure:
Dear [Superficial],
We have spoken to the driver of our policy holder vehicle.
Their circumstances are as they were at the give way to the roundabout there was no room for another vehicle to be in front of them. When a space arrived to enter the roundabout they proceeded to move forward.
You had been to the left and proceeded to move into the path of our insured's vehicle and this is why the collision happened. On these circumstances we would say you were the proximate cause of the incident.
You have come from the left and cut into our insured's lane. We have no offer's to make at this time. Please send us your circumstances and any independent evidence to back your version of events.
Should you have any queries or require any additional information, please contact[Redacted]