Friday, August 15, 2008

Bike commuter down!

I always find it painful to read or hear about a fellow bicyclist having been hit by a car. Lately, it has gotten increasingly personal. In the past 5 weeks, at least three commuting cyclists in Louisville have been hit by cars, and a fourth (Dan Cooley) was assaulted by a motorist. One death (Vance Kokojan), three sets of painful (though not life-threatening) injuries. In the past three days, at least two bicycle commuters have been hit locally. One is a friend and Bicycling for Louisville volunteer.

Each time I hear of a bike-car crash, I try to get in touch with the bicyclist or any witnesses to learn as much as possible about what happened. Thus far, I know next to nothing about the crash that happened yesterday. My friend who got hit on Wednesday has told me part of his story, and we'll meet on Monday to talk further. Everything that we can learn about these crashes can help us determine what can prevent future crashes. Sometimes, surviving bicyclists can learn something that they can do to protect themselves better. If a similar set of motorist or bicyclist errors shows up repeatedly, we can educate the public about them and urge the police to enforce the pertinent laws more strictly.

Bicycling for Louisville also wants to learn how well the legal system works for bicyclists. When do injured bicyclists receive a fair shake from the legal system and drivers' insurers? When do the bicyclists get a bum deal, even when the motorist bears most or all of the fault for the crash? This information is helping us to craft our vulnerable roadway users bill, and will help us get it passed in the Kentucky legislature.

If you or anyone you know in greater Louisville gets in a car-bike crash in which you believe that the motorist is (at least mostly) at fault, please contact us as soon as possible after the crash. We can put you in touch with lawyers recommended by other bicyclists and by fellow lawyers. We can tell you simple things that you can do to protect your rights and give yourself the best chances of a just settlement. If and when you are ready to talk about your crash, we will interview you respectfully to help the cycling community capture as much knowledge from your unfortunate experience as possible.

Through the sadness and anger, we continue to work diligently toward solutions that make bike-car crashes increasingly rare.

1 comment:

Geoff said...

Quick thoughts: Is it possible that the person who nearly hit you on Payne was preoccupied with a cell phone? I ask because when I caught up with the gentleman in the Florida Mercedes at 4th Street this morning, he was still on the phone. So was the guy in the car behind him. There are times I want to shout, "Hey, you're driving a deadly weapon. Hang up!" But I don't. Because they're driving a deadly weapon.