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Being hit by a car on HK island whilst on a bike

9 years 8 months ago #714 by sharks
On Saturday 25Jan I was sandwiched between rock and a car whilst on my
MTB ride towards Shek O.
To cut a long story short, the car driver thinks its my fault for riding on the road and says I have two choices;
Either I pay him 500HKD towards the cost of repair of his car, or if I don’t, he'll take me to court for full damages. I have 10days from the accident to decide.

The car overtook me coming into a corner, on solid white line on the road and
I have two witnesses that saw this happen who will vouch for me. He cut
in without overtaking me fully, leaving me nowhere to go and I literally had the left side of the handlebar in the rock and the right side of the handlebar in his car door. I was riding alone and the car driver was on his own in the car. The
police were called, they didn’t take a side but did tell me that 'bikes
should not be on the road' and that the accident was as much my fault as
his. This is rubbish. I wasn’t injured but I have minor scratches on my
bike on both sides of the handlebars. I managed to stay upright on the
bike fortunately as there was a line of cars behind, I'd hate to think of
the consequences had I fallen. The location is in the picture above

My question is should I just pay the 500HKD for the convenience, or should I take this matter to court out of principal.
I was wondering there is any MTB loving lawyer out there who maybe able to help me with any advice or potentially know anyone that I can talk to about this. I have no experience of going to court or handling such a case.

As some of the members of the HKMBA have already said, its the car's fault and we should try and nail the driver in court. Would anyone like to help me fight this?
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9 years 8 months ago #715 by Jan Ayalin
That police is talking b.s. .... they should know the road users code, and know that cyclist has the same rights on the road as cars, in fact they are even protected.

www.td.gov.hk/road_safety/road_users_cod.../cyclists_/index.htm

take him to court teach him a lesson, if you pay him it'sj ust saying that he's right on what he did...

you're being too nice... what if he actually did some more serious damage to you physically... if that had been done to me, i'd mash his car with a big rock.

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9 years 8 months ago #716 by bingalingding
Hi,

Sorry to hear about your incident- the guy sounds like an idiot and it's truly worrying to hear that a policeman could actually side with him.

By way of empathy I can offer you some sort of comparative experience from being involved in an accident in the UK. I was basically hit by a van where the van driver was at fault and I had plenty of witnesses to back it up. Upon the threat of court action he very quickly changed his tune from 'sorry' to 'it wasn't my fault'. To cut a long story short it took me 2 1/2 very frustrating years of working with a farily useless lawyer before I finally got an out of court settlement in the range of 12k sterling for the (permanent) injuries he caused. Some thoughts / lessons learned include:

1. Get a decent lawyer who specialises in this sort of thing
2. Be patient
3. Be prepared it's going to take up a lot of your time.
4. It'll be stressfull.
5. It was eventually worth it (the money paid for house renovations).

Your case sounds quite different in that 1. you're in Hong Kong and 2. you avoided injury and therefore have nothing to gain out of this beyond the moral highground. Paying the money will be the easiest, cheapest and least stressfull option. But will, of course, leave you feeling morally hard done by.

I suspect that a strongly worded letter written by a lawyer who knows the hong kong laws should probably dissolve the situation once he realises he hasn't got a leg to stand on (I presume) but will cost you more (unless there are some charitable legal souls reading this???). If it ever did go to court you'd probably rue the day you didn't just give the guy 500 dollars to get him to p*ss off.

I think it's quite easy to say 'nail the guy in court' when you're not the one doing the nailing. If you want to 'stand up' then be prepared for what you may be letting yourself in for is the ultimate word of advice i would offer based on my experience. That, and make sure you have a good lawyer. A well worded letter with the aim to dissolve the situation in my mind sounds like the best option.

Good luck!

Ed

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9 years 8 months ago #717 by bikesteve
Make absolutely sure you weren't in the wrong, and i'm pretty sure that section of road is open to cyclists and regularely used by those heading to Sheko.

He's overtaken you who was just minding your own business crossing a double white, witnesses to boot, sounds to me like you've a strong case for compensation for a new pair of bars!

Take Ed's advice,

S.

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9 years 8 months ago - 9 years 8 months ago #720 by Red
I have a couple of friends who were harassed by a double decker bus along, what looks like the same stretch of road! They took the driver to court, who it turns out had two other cases of reckless driving - yet he was still behind a large wheel.

If they are reading, please post any comments - however, I believe the Judge was quite willing to listen to the bikes point of view and there was certainly no talk of the bikes not being allowed on that section of road.

Did you get the policeman's details - always note down his number (often easier to get his number than his name ) when interacting with the police. They are usually nicer when they notice you doing so as well.

Good luck!

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9 years 8 months ago #742 by Hayze
Hi Sharks,

Sorry to hear about the incident and hope you are well. My GF who is in the legal sector has several questions and the following comments :

(1) Did you guys give police statements? Or police just jotted some notes in his notebook and asked you to settle yourself? Did police take pictures at scene?

(2) Did police ask you guys to make formal report if you guys cannot settle within 10 days? It is in your interest to make such report if you are minded to claim damages from the driver.

(3) Police is wrong in saying bikes shouldn't be on the road. The Road Users' Code cited by Jan explains well.

(4) Did the driver sound the horn or give any notice/warning at all prior to overtaking? When did you first notice the car?

(5) You said "He cut in without overtaking me fully, leaving me nowhere to go and I literally had the left side of the handlebar in the rock and the right side of the handlebar in his car door." Does it mean the car and the bike travel side by side for some time? If so, for how long? Why didn't the car fully overtake you? How was traffic at that time?

(6) Did car overtake at single white line or double white lines?

(7) If traffic was busy at that time, rendering the car unable to fully overtake you, then there is all the more reason not to overtake unless it is safe to do so.

(8) From the facts you describe it appears more likely that the Court would find that the driver is at fault - failing to heed the presence of the bike, failing to give warning of overtaking, overtaking abruptly, etc. But of course you can anticipate that the driver would give a different version. The evidence of the 2 witnesses will carry more weight if they are independent witnesses (having no relations with you).

(9) How did the car sustain damage? Was the damage serious?

(10) Have you taken pictures of the damage to the car and to your bike at scene? If you are to claim against the driver, don't forget to to take pictures showing the damage to your bike asap (with date shown).

(11) It appears that the driver is bluffing you. If he is to take the case to court, the venue should probably be in Small Claims Tribunal (if claimed amount is below HK$50,000). Legal representation is not allowed in Small Claims Tribunal. He has to produce survey report (which would cost him $), repair costs receipt, etc. Does it worth the hassle to go to Court for $500?

Hope the above helps and good luck. Drop me a line if we can help further.

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9 years 8 months ago #745 by sharks
Thanks to everyone for their posts.

Hayze, to answer your questions:
1. The police officer just makes notes at the scene, took no pictures
2. The officer asked me to make a report within 10 days if i did not want to settle. I have been to the station and am awaiting a time for interview, the police are to call me back. I have my statement ready
3. Agreed
4. i heard the car behind me. I dont remember a horn but the driver told the police officer that he sounded it before he over took me. Therefore he also saw me before he started his move.
5. The car tried to squeeze past me but with a bus coming the other way, decided to abort his move and crash into me instead. There are horizontal scratches on his car where he scraped by me whilst pinning me against the rock on my left hand side. There were more cars behind and a large service bus coming the other way
6. He overtook with a single sold white line on our side of the road.
7. Agreed but he still made his move
8. They are independant witnesses.
9. The damage was very minor, two small scratches to his door and rear fender from having scraped against the rhs of my handlebars.
10. I have all the pictures of the scene and damage to bike and car
11. its probably not worth going to court but I'm not going to pay him for putting my life in danger and all of you who have posted replies have convinced me to take this idiot to court!

Thanks for all your help

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9 years 8 months ago #746 by Hayze
Hi Sharks

If there was a bus coming from the opposite lane it means it was not the appropriate time to overtake. Even if he had sound the horn that doesnt mean he can just overtake at any time.

Give the contacters of the witnesses to the police so they can take statements from them. After investigation and if police accepts your version, the police may charge him with careless driving, and you would be be a witness. If there is a conviction on his careless driving that would work in your favour if you choose to claim damages against him. If he really takes to the court for damages you can counterclaim against him for the damage to your bike.

Be ready that the police would ask you questions such as speed, your position on the carriageway, warning and when you first noticed the car, the distance between the car and the bus, etc.

Good luck and let us know if we can help further.

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9 years 7 months ago #836 by brandon
I've actually just compiled a list of ordinances related to cycling for the Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, which we plan to put online soon. Here's a copy in the meantime; you might find something useful to cite in a letter.

The driver is certainly full of shit. Please punch him in the mouth for me. After you win a settlement that is - an assault charge probably wouldn't help your case.

Cheers,

Brandon

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9 years 5 months ago #961 by sharks
Guys
Good news. I decided to go to the police and complain about this driver. I have just received a letter from the Police Force to tell me that after their investigation, court proceedings are being instituted against the car driver for careless driving. A victory for us bikers! Lets hope the court finds him guilty and imposes a huge fine!!

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