"Drivers rarely make mistakes"

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.

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Postby Deckie » 1 Dec 2007, 11:40am

I hope that was used in evidence


Postby bollo » 3 Dec 2007, 1:57pm

Wow, this is starting to get some coverage! As far as I'm concerned, I was just happy to walk away with very minor injuries.

If anyone wants to follow the narrative, I originally posted this on


Where this goes is up for discussion. As far as I'm aware, the driver was fully legal to drive and was breathised but not cautioned. As my injuries are minor, there's not much of a case for a PI claim. If I want to claim for the damage/write-off of the bike, then this will require some legwork on my part.

Like I said in 'the other place', this views like a road safety ad. If someone from the CTC wants to use it for that purpose, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for everyone's concern and advice. Its helped a lot. Sorry to join the board on such a downer.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 3 Dec 2007, 2:19pm

Hi Bollo, and Welcome to The Forum!

I've watched your vid over and over again, astonishing! I keep trying to put myself in the same situation, and wonder if I'd have been doing the same as you ......

You say on Cyclechat that the Volvo was indicating and that you were doing 15mph - quite a lick with all those parked vehicles. Should you have been further out to the right, well away from them? You also say that the blokes on the left hadn't seen you, there could have been other people in and out of the cars too.

It's SO easy to analyse situations with the live camera, and it's easy for me to comment, but I really don't know if I'd have been any different to you despite my comments!

One thing's for certain, the Volvo driver was driving without due care etc and should be prosecuted.

If you were to live it all again, would you ride it differently?

I'm glad you're ok, and I hope you have good luck with compensation.

Mick F. Cornwall


Postby bollo » 3 Dec 2007, 5:30pm

Hi Bollo, and Welcome to The Forum!

Hello all.


I don't want this to sound defensive but I'll give you my version. Its very detailed, but I've tried to squeeze everything in one go.

To set the scene, this is part of NCN 23 and the 'main' road that I'll just come down becomes a cul de sac to motorised vehicles, with an underpass for bike sand pedestrians. The road is near the QMC sixth form college, and the student habitually wander (or in one case jump) into the road with little warning, as the road is generally quiet. For this reason, I'm usually 'on alert', for pedestrians and hence I always take primary well away from the pavement and car doors. Two guys have stepped out without looking and I believe that they don't know I'm there. Also, the Subaru Forester is parked on the kerb outside the parking bays and is taking up road space. I moved out to give the peds some safety room and I remember thinking to stay out of the door zone as I approached the Subaru. I also moved out to make sure that the two peds did not obscure me from the approaching Volvo.

Based on this, I've moved to the centre of the road, . If you look at my road position relative to the Volvo, I'm almost directly in line with his driver's side wing and he's hard against his left hand curb. If the camera gives the impression that I'm close to the left, I'm not. The driver initially tried to claim that he hadn't seen me, but the two guys on the left both acted as witnesses, saying I'd given them a wide berth.

As for speed, first its an estimate as I don't bother with a 'puter on a commute (I'm not racing anyone!). However, I don't think the speed I was travelling was unreasonable, in fact many would think it a little sedentary. I had about half a second of braking before impact which probably did enough to prevent any serious injury. I remember thinking "don't go under the wheels" in the period before I hit, so I think I braked rather than attempted a manoeuvre and possibly fall off. However, this was probably instinct rather than a conscious decision. It doesn't come out on YouTube, but I screamed a warning the moment I saw him begin to turn.

The video shows that he cuts across the junction so that he's entering the minor road on the wrong side. If he'd have taken more conventional line into the junction, its unlikely he'd have been able to hit me, as I'd have already passed him. Also, I'm still very central, almost face to face with him at the point where he begins to turn. This suggests that he had seen me but thought he could beat me across the junction. The angle he crosses the junction also makes it hard to avoid him.

I didn't notice at the time, but there is a pedestrian just beginning to cross the road that he's turning in to. If he hadn't hit me, there's a good chance that he might have hit them.

I've tried to give an honest and full account of my thoughts just prior to the crash. I'd never claim to be tuned in to my riding full-time, but this was one of those times when I was concentrating fully on what I was doing.

To answer your question directly, I believe my riding before the impact was as safe as I could make it while still making progress.

I don't wan't to sound like an ar5e on my first post. You're right about the ability to analyse things in retrospect. One of the first things I did after getting home was to upload the video, because I was still a little in shock and thinking "what did I do wrong?!" as I just couldn't believe what had happened. I've looked at the video plenty of times now and I just can't see what else I could have done, apart from get off the bike and push it.

Thanks anyway for the kind thoughts. I don't hold out much hope for compo or any form of prosecution for the driver, but I'll keep you posted.

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Postby stoobs » 3 Dec 2007, 6:16pm

Prize prang that one!

For what it's worth, while it's natural and good to think how you would avoid it, I can't see that you did anything wrong. Of course you want to avoid those things, but if you're too timid, you get abused as well, as you can see from cautious riders on many threads here. 15 mph is nothing, and the camera view is much more restricted than you actually saw and heard at the time. Compare a video driving game with the real thing.

With a motorist who did the same to me, I took her through the Small Claims Court. I didn't have a video, but I did have a witness who said it was all her fault. The insurance company (Direct Line) refused to contact the witness, and refused to pay.

The police didn't want to do anything about it, as in your case, because they are measured on motor vehicle accidents, and on deaths. You're alive and you don't have an engine, so you don't count - really.

So, for £10 online, I filed a Small Claim. Brilliant! She gets up for breakfast, and has a Summons in her lap. I only asked for £400 originally, but she said that I was on the wrong side of the road (on a dual carriageway with a barrier!). So, with an affadavit from the witness, I went to court for 2 hours. Because I was working in Scotland at the time, I claimed travel expenses (which the judge allowed). He ruled in my favour, as I'm sure they would in your case with a vid like that.

She then did not pay up, so, online again, you spend another £10 for bailiffs to collect. This time, not a summons, but bailiffs for breakfast! All told, it cost her £1000 to me, and her ex-boyfriend's car cost £1500.

If only she had watched in the first place, and then just paid up!

Small Claims cost £20, 2 hours in court, and she learned to drive properly, and not to contest when she's in the wrong. It's easy, and I partly did it for all cyclists. It also encourages insurers to pay up rather than be awkward.

My advice to you, is go for it! You must need a new front wheel, pedals, clothing, possibly forks, and maybe even a frame. Trust me, I'm an engineer with an aerospace background (Did you know that the Wright brothers ran a cycle shop). After a collision like that, you could have all sorts of damage that will fatigue away sooner than it ever would have. That Volvo bloke is lucky to get away with such a small bill.


Postby BentMikey » 3 Dec 2007, 6:32pm

I think a completely new bike might be wrangled out of the insurance company, as that would be much cheaper to them than any possible PI claim further down the road.

Stoobs and Bollo, a massive thanks to you both for taking it to court. As another cyclist, I'm really chuffed you did that, because those are the most effective lessons you can give any driver in how to take care around cyclists.


Postby BentMikey » 3 Dec 2007, 7:03pm

MickF, I don't understand the reasoning behind your comments. I think Bollo's road positioning was pretty perfect based on Cyclecraft.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 3 Dec 2007, 8:28pm

Hi again,
Good reply, and very full, Bollo. Thank you.

As for my comments, I was using "the benefit of hindsight" approach, and I'm sorry to say, a "holier than thou" approach too. Sorry.

I just think that Bollo COULD have been going slower, and with his experience, COULD have taken an even wider position. Please don't think I'd have done anything any different to Bollo, but POSSIBLY if things had been as I described, things might have been different.

I don't know.
Does anyone know?
Mick F. Cornwall


Postby Toomey » 4 Dec 2007, 8:08am

Great stroy stoobs.

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Postby ransos » 4 Dec 2007, 9:48am

Stoobs - great!

A friend of mine had a similar experience, although the driver caved in the day before court and so he got paid out. The moral is: stick to your guns!

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Postby stoobs » 4 Dec 2007, 9:50am

Cheers Toomey.

Also, Bollo, while Mick F says that you could have gone wider (and that's possible), you would then run the risk of having the driver think that you're one of those "dark-clothed, no-bell, no lights, pavement-riding lycra louts" who on a one-in-a-million chance just happened to be on the road for those few seconds, but who otherwise had no intention of following the rules of the road. In this instance, had your road position/body language been wider, it could have been taken as a sign that you intended to pass down his left-hand side, and justified his reckless and stupid manoeuvre even more.

My own accident was particularly frustrating because I had covered the brakes when I saw her move to the centre, but I looked at her, and actually made eye contact! She had stopped, but then moved off, right into me! Your driver looked pretty stationary, too.

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Ben Lovejoy
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Postby Ben Lovejoy » 4 Dec 2007, 8:12pm

Definitely instigate a small claims court case against the driver: with the video evidence you have, it's an open-and-shut case.