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

10 years 3 weeks ago #980 by psycholist
Replied by psycholist on topic Being hit by a car on HK island whilst on a bike
Although the outcome appeared to be positive for "sharks," I would disagree.

Yes, he has been found to be the victim finally, and the arrogant driver will be prosecuted by the police, but if this had been handled professionally and competently by the traffic or sub-unit cops at the scene, I think it would have turned out so much better for him.

As it was, despite the evidence available to the cops then, both verbally provided by the victim "sharks" and arrogant aggressor (the driver), and gathered through the use of their mark one eyeballs at the location, (sequence of events, scratches on the car and damage to the bicycle, single white line becoming double white, blind bend, witnesses in other cars etc.), they have harmed not just their own reputation by appearing to be lazy, incompetent, and biased towards the driver, (and legally questionable over suggesting that "sharks" should just pay the HK500 requested by the driver!?), more importantly, for "sharks," in convincing him at the scene that he was in the wrong for being there in the first place etc., they sent him on his way home, and he has not ridden his bike since!

Regardless of your opinions as to whether you agree or understand the choice he has made, I can't help but feel that if the cops had done their job properly, with the evidence they had at the scene described above, the outcome might have been different.

Hopefully "sharks" would have continued his ride that day to Shek O, and in subsequent days, weeks and months, carried on riding, while appreciating and accepting now, the potential risks about him on the roads, (cars being driven and used as weapons of intimidation by some drivers).

Because of the way the incident should have been handled, he might have continued riding, and felt secure in the knowledge that when victimised and physically attacked by another road user, someone was looking out for him (the police), and sharing of the road by all legal road users was not only encouraged, but supported by those responsible for upholding the laws of the road.

The cycling conference this past weekend highlighted further decline in the governments attitude/ignorance/apathy towards sharing the roads with cyclists, with the preferred method of segregation now being chosen.

This despite triathlon, mountain, and road cycling excellence at the highest (olympic) level from local athletes.

The gist of the CEDD and TD representatives at the conference is that cycling is just a leisure activity for Mum and Dad and the children, and cycle paths and parking areas for cars, practise areas to ride, and eating areas, facilities etc., will be built in the coming years for the public in the NT.

Planned to be built near MTR stations for ease of use to... hire your bike, you cannot bring your own bike on the MTR remember?

:-/

Acknowledgement of limited commuting (to the KCR, LRT?) was mentioned, but nothing about the sport of cycling, (people who ride on and offroad over longer distances, and at higher speeds, either for fun, fitness), and/or commuting (an enjoyable combination that starts and ends your work day the best way, on your bike!)

Scarily, as anyone who has ridden on the obstacle strewn, stop/start/dismount/remount, legal requirement to get-off-to walk-uphill/downhill-sections of cyclepaths currently in existence in HK, these are dangerous places to ride with many accidents.

Accidents presented and backed up by statistics presented by the TD at the conference... (the irony of the safety reasons cited for cycle paths in the first place seems to have been overlooked...)

Interesting observation after the announcement of the building of further cyclepaths in the NT in the coming 4 years, bike forums had little talk of this move, where as the hkrunners forum had a number of excited posts about these further paths for jogging being built.

That's the reality, these paths are dual purpose and with the obliviot nature of many walkers/joggers/riders of bikes on these paths, accidents are frequent and to be expected between users.

In talks with the fairly new cycling representative of the TD, (weeks before the conference this past weekend), when informed about the different speeds of cyclists, and cyclepaths not being safe/suitable and actually downright dangerous for those cyclists travelling at faster speeds, with purpose, usually in a straight line, the TD bod told someone who had asked/pointed this out, unequivocably, "You shouldn't be overtaking!"

:-/

So, unless we can convince the government dept's, police etc., that we should be allowed to share the roads on and off road, (Brandon's talk and the triathlon rep Ian's talk at the conference were impassioned, you could tell they both love what they do and want to be allowed to continue cycling wherever they chose to, without restrictions and segregation being imposed upon them), the dumbing down and further restrictions imposed upon us as cyclists will be passed and, if you did nothing to voice your opinion, stand up and be counted etc., then that apathy will be partly to blame.

As cyclists we are as interested in good quality roads wide enough for designated bike lanes where necessary, roads we can share with other users safely because we all belong, but to segregate us into cyclepaths as described above, and keep the roads for combustion engine four wheeled vehicles only, that's pretty messed up for our (self titled) Asia's World City."

In the report from Dec '05 the following was written... "The reason for the vulnerability, (when cyclists mix with road traffic in Hong Kong), can be put down to driver attitudes, vehicle speeds, traffic volumes and lack of cyclist training," the report said.

The driver attitudes problem exists the world over, much, much worse in many countries, (think of the stereotype rednecks in pick-up trucks throwing bottles etc. at cyclists in the US), but like Manifest Destiny, to have actually allowed cars to become all powerful and used as weapons to intimidate you, that's something that can only be changed by standing up for ourselves and saying we need to be allowed to share safer roads and that we can also share the trails safely.

"Traffic," in the language used above, to describe the vulnerability of the bicyclist (or pedestrian), takes on the characteristics of a force of nature. It's as though a stream of motor vehicles was a herd of bison or a flash flood, and not conscious, individual adult humans with morals and decision-making ability. There's no point in trying to control a wild herd or a flood, right?

Why this tendency to translate human responsibility into an uncontrollable force of nature? It should be obvious. They are the majority; they hold the power. It's in their interest to portray traffic in the context of the motorist/bicyclist/pedestrian hierarchy as something natural that cannot and should not be "unreasonably" controlled. It's quite reminiscent of the concept of Manifest Destiny.

Cars are not an out of control flash flood or stampeding herd of cattle, they are vehicles driven by human beings with the ability to reason and do the right or wrong thing.

The change in character when people get behind the wheel and their removal from the elements around them was pointed out as being a potentially negative thing when cars first started appearing after the turn of the 20th century.

Bicyclists were responsible for the first paved roads in America, and many inventions developed for bicycles were later incorporated into automobile design. As soon as manufacturers learned how to build a reliable vehicle (but still far less reliable than a bicycle) the rich started buying them. The rich of course always have the best access to political power, so motorists, in spite of operating a vehicle that was clearly a danger to others were quickly given precedence over pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians. As this transfer was being made, some questioned the wisdom of allowing such vehicles to be sold and used. Here is an excerpt from The Magnificent Ambersons, the 1918 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Booth Tarkington:

"I'm not sure he's wrong about automobiles ... With all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization -- that is, in spiritual civilization. It may be that they will not add to the beauty of the world, nor to the life of men's souls. I am not sure. But automobiles have come, and they bring a greater change in our life than most of us suspect. They are here, and almost all outward things are going to be different because of what they bring. They are going to alter war, and they are going to alter peace. I think men's minds are going to be changed in subtle ways because of automobiles; just how, though, I could hardly guess. But you can't have the immense outward changes that they will cause without some inward ones, and it may be that George is right, and that the spiritual alteration will be bad for us. Perhaps, ten or twenty years from now, if we can see the inward changes in men by that time, I shouldn't be able to defend the gasoline engine, but would have to agree with him that automobiles 'had no business to be invented.'"

(The character George, referred to in the excerpt, was killed by a motorist at the end of the story.)

So it's nothing new it seems, (the awareness of a potential change for the worse amongst some drivers when they get behind the wheel).

Drivers whose road rage amongst and toward each other, and anyone further down the "food chain" who gets in their way in any shape or form on the roads.

Their intimidation and what would be regarded as assault if they carried out the threatening acts face to face with you, rather than behind the immunity of glass and metal and four or more wheels.

On that point, think about why some hikers say no to sharing the trails with us (on our mountain bikes), I understand where they are coming from because to me, the hikers are like the original occupants of the trails and roads (horse riders, horse drawn carriages, cyclists, pedestrians), before the car first started appearing on the streets, belching fumes and it's occupants honking the horn at anyone in their way.

*(According to Regulation 43, of the Road Traffic Regulations, the horn is an audible warning device to alert those ahead of you to the presence of danger only... Bring that to the attention of any police you see doing nothing when drivers are honking loudly in traffic perforating your eardrums as a cyclist or pedestrian.)*

Back to the potential hiker/biker conflict, obnoxious riders exist on and off road and as a user of roads and trails both on two feet and two wheels, I have experienced obnoxious, agressive behaviour (including what is legally termed assault), from runners in races and training, and cyclists in racing and training or just riding on our trails and paths.

Certain situations would be better for giving way or being given way to on the trails and paths on and offroad, but without getting away from or over the attitude of "I'm bigger/faster etc., therefore I have right of way!", as runners/racers/bikers with that attitude, we are nothing better or no different to the driver who agressively told "sharks" to get out of his way with agressive use of his car horn, then drove into him after attempting and failing to pass him safely on the road.

We don't need or want to be segregated, we just want to be allowed to share the roads that get us to the trails, and then the trails themselves.

Don't get me started on the increasing bike-specific litter on the trails though...
#$%^!

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10 years 4 weeks ago #973 by Murtster
Don't forget to mention to the police that the driver attempted to blackmail you/extort $500 under duress. That is a criminal charge on its own.

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10 years 1 month ago #962 by tom
BRAVO!!

You were lucky. Read this Judgment from The Supreme Court of Hong Kong for an idea how serious a collision with a vehicle can be: www.hklii.hk/hk/jud/eng/hkcfi/1997/HCA005814_1993-25034.html

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10 years 1 month 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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10 years 3 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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10 years 4 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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10 years 4 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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10 years 4 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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10 years 4 months ago - 10 years 4 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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10 years 4 months ago #717 by bikesteve
Replied by bikesteve on topic Being hit by a car on HK island whilst on a bike
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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