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[VIC] Bicycle Lane mishap

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by randm, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. Hi guys

    I have searched and searched and can't find the answer, so please forgive me if there is a similar thread somewhere on this forum.

    Had an unfortunate mishap where I was using a bicycle lane on a single lane road.

    Please, I know it is not exactly legal to use bicycle lanes as such (except for the 50m business). Lecture not required. Anyway, I'm in the lane for a short period of time, as always using it carefully and riding at about 20kmh. Traffic was banked back and stationary. An oncoming vehicle was allowed to turn right into a side street. My bike went down and sustained a considerable amount of damage. 3rd party's vehicle is uninsured.

    My insurance company's immediate response was that I shouldn't have been where I was but the driver of the cage was mostly at fault (70 - 80%) because you must only proceed to turn in front of traffic if it is safe to do so. The absolute onus is on the turning party and they must give way.

    Also, the bike lane does not extend across the T intersection, and in fact ends about 3m before it, so technically am I in the bike lane at the time of the incident?

    3rd party has a lawayer now and they are saying it is my fault.

    In any case, has anyone had experience with this type of incident?
  2. This is a difficult one. They'd say the same if you were filtering or splitting.

    What are you up for financially? Are you insured fully comp or 3rd party? Your insurance company should try to protect yours (and theirs) interests, but common sense says they won't flog a dead horse, especially when they will recoup costs with excess fees etc..

    It might be worth spending a little cash and seeking professional assistance.

    It's also good forum form to say hello over in the Welcome Lounge.
  3. I agree with cejay, you will want to seek legal advice on this one.

    At what point during the other driver's turn did you enter the intersection?

    My view (IANAL): Given that the lane of traffic he has to cross is stopped (and legally cannot enter the intersection until there is room on the other side - rule 128) it is reasonable for him to assume that it is safe to turn. The bike lane ending before the intersection would probably work against you, since it's one less lane that he needs to be sure has stopped and one less lane that you can enter on the other side of the intersection.

    Also, being on the left of the stopped vehicles means that in all likelihood he couldn't see you (and you probably didn't see him) until you had entered the intersection.

    End result: You're likely to end up with a large portion of the fault on this one.

    Again, IANAL so please seek legal advice.
  4. Thanks for the responses lads.

    I have fully comp insurance and the bike has already been repaired and returned to me, so its all good from that point of view. But I am trying to recover my excess and not loose my rating 1. I fear that I may have done my dash in this case.

    I entered the intersection I would guess, approximately at the point the turning driver was in front of the car that had let him through. He was certainly turning at speed, but there were no witnesses. And he definitely didn't see me coming, but does that mean he wouldn't have seen a bicycle either? Some of those bikes move faster than me in those cycle lanes.

    In any case, I guess the situation could be a lot worse. I was just kind of hoping that the onus would be mostly on the driver turning.

    Take care.
  5. You should run this past Sean Hardy (who is a traffic lawyer) on his forum, which can be found here

    Good luck! :)
  6. Just keep in contact with your insurer. They have their own lawyers, and if they think they can recoup their costs from the TP, then they will, and return you excess after this. They won't fight a losing battle, and would rather seek recourse from the TP than pay out of their own pocket and take your excess, so in this instance, their intentions are on par with yours.

    If the insurer says they can't recoup the costs from the TP, then it's because they KNOW that if they took the TP to court, it would either be a "knock on knock" or YOU would be found at fault.

    Knock on Knock = Where both parties are at fault, and neither can be proven to be 100% responsible, both parties will either agree, or be forced to by law, to pay their own repair costs and call it a day.
  7. the other thing to do is to be able to learn from this - a gap in stationary traffic is there for a reason. you should really have expected a car turning in the scenario you desribed.
  8. Its been about 5 years since my previous 'lane filtering' accident. In that case my brand new bike of 1 month was written off. The other party was deemed to be at fault which is interesting. They had Insurance though so maybe the insurance companies involved cut a deal?

    In any case, I guess I may have been getting a little complacent. To tell you the truth I wasn't even really aware that there was a side street where the incident occurred. ....its a tiny little one way street that I have never seen anyone turn into.

    So now when I am creeping up the bicycle lane, I always peer over the tops of the stationary cars to make sure that some clown isn't going to come taring around the corner.
  9. sorry to hear of your incident and hope you are well.

    but that is exactly why i never filter past stationary traffic on the left/or in bicycle lane.

    i just go straight down the middle of the road, assuming it's a single lane road...it's a biatch because every dumbarse cager likes to sit far over to the right in the lane so no-one can get ahead of him in the quew....it's slower and sometimes you kinda leapfrog a few cars at a time and have to pull back in...it also sucks because theres always heaps of room on the curb side to temp me to filter there...you also have to be carefull you don't pass any cars in your lane about to initiate a right turn...
    BUT, the main thing is oncomming traffic sees you.

    my thoughts are driver is at fault because of failure to give way and i'd expect it to play out that way...bicycle lane is still a clearly marked lane and driver should'nt have entered that lane if he could'nt see what was travelling in it...remember you are allowed to travel in that lane in certain circumstances as mentioned and you could claim those circumstances
    ...but i also think as a rider you should have known better and could have avoided it with better road positionning... understand i don't mean that to sound condescending, just no other way to put it... nobody tells you this stuff in motorbike school... just one of those situations on the road where you don't learn about it until you encounter it... hopefully you"ll adapt your own road craft to avoid it happenning again.
  10. Spot on that's why we pay them so much money. Plus your polcy requires you to let them handle all this anyway.

    Also when filtering in any way, shape or form it's in your best interests to slow right down at intersections "just in case".