The Chainlink

A friend of mine who I occasionally ride with in the AM from Oak Park to the Loop was hit by a car on Monday just west of the intersection of Washington and Homan.  He was riding in the bike lane on Washington.  As you cross Homan into Garfield Park, the road splits to the north (Schrader Blvd) and south (Washington Blvd).  The driver crossed from the lane on the left of the bike lane (which is clearly marked and bends south onto Washington through the split) right onto Schrader NB, mowing down my friend, who was right next to her.  Not only is the bike lane marked all the way through the split, but there is a right turn lane to the right of the bike lane, so there's zero excuse for a driver to cross the bike lane.  

He's OK - a little road rash, sore ribs.  The crash ruined his rear wheel, cranks and bars.  He had a trip to the ER and will have some med bills.  

The driver initially fled the scene, but a another driver who saw the incident gave chase, caught her, and somehow convinced/compelled her to return to the scene.  She was completely belligerent and accused my friend of causing the accident.  Police and paramedics arrived.  The police acted fairly and took a full report.  The driver told some unbelievable story about how she was being harassed and is the victim here.  The driver who pursued the driver who hit my friend was driving a commercial vehicle with a front-mounted video recorder that was running and which he think captured the accident.  That guy alerted the police officer and gave him a copy of the recording (how he did this I don't know).

So yesterday my friend gets a call from the driver's insurer, Geico.  Although (1) the police report has not been finalized (the investigating officer says it will be ready early next week after they review the video) and (2) Geico has not even called the police to see what they say, Geico has concluded that no one is at fault and that my friend should be responsible for 50% of his damages.  Based on a discussion with the police officer, the police appear to have concluded the driver was 100% at fault, but we have to wait to see the report.

Although he has only begun to fight, it just shows that you can be victimized not only by drivers but by their insurers, even where the police properly do their job.

(Incidents like this are extremely frequent at this intersection, either with cars making right turns onto Schrader from the left lane or cars exiting Schrader onto Washington and plowing through whatever is in their way--there are no stop signs.)

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+1


h' said:

Please don't muck up this thread with your bitter personal vendettas relating to mysterious other discussions that only the individual targeted by your harassment would be aware of. For someone who's been kicking around the 'net for so many years and even had their own website, what, 15 years ago(?), you seem to have a really hard time understanding how a discussion board functions.

O said:

Curious whether this sort of rationale applies to threads where people are complaining about a police officer who appears to be using unnecessary force when dealing with cyclists who are reportedly in the bike lane but complaining about the intrusion of the vehicle of the off-duty officer?

My immediate reaction when I read that thread was "why not report the incident to the police rather than air it on this forum?" And especially since the kinds of remarks made about police in general were rather ugly. In fact on their Facebook site it was especially regrettable. I note after just looking that the ugliest remark about "hating cops" in that thread seems to have been expunged.

But again the question needs to be addressed, why was that thread on this forum allowed to continue without there being any similar kinds of admonishments from you? I ask in the interest of fairness to all parties including the police officer who was probably discussed here before ever hearing anything from his superiors.

His union representative would probably be quite eager to get copies of that thread, don't you think?


notoriousDUG said:

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

I do actually; several of the are members here.

Andy Moss said:

Yea, I bet you know a lot of good attorneys, er, friend. Just my .02-I don't represent this guy. Go ride a bike, if you think you're competent to do so.



notoriousDUG said:

Not a very good one then...

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

Have them contact a competent attorney who specializes in these things; several are on this forum and advertise on it.

Preserve all evidence.  Get a good estimate but have no repairs made until the attorney OKs them.

Andy Moss said:

It's a damn good thing I am a lawyer who specializes in suing insurance companies....  The Active Trans suggestion is helpful.

Duppie said:

My layman's $0.02, based on my own experience:

Call Active Trans' crash support hotline at 312-869-4357.

Then consult a lawyer that specializes in bicyclists rights. There are various ones in Chicago and the crash hotline can provide you with a list of them.

Until you have talked to a lawyer do not answer the phone when the insurance company calls.

I think the cop bashing was regrettable as well but I cannot control what others say; only edit it the places I have that authority.

The difference there was that the other thread was about finding witnesses where this one is just the telling of the story of the accident and all sorts of details.

I doubt anyone representing that officer would care about anything said here because there is most likely never going to be any charges for them to defend against; do you really think anything is going to happen there?

O said:

Curious whether this sort of rationale applies to threads where people are complaining about a police officer who appears to be using unnecessary force when dealing with cyclists who are reportedly in the bike lane but complaining about the intrusion of the vehicle of the off-duty officer?

My immediate reaction when I read that thread was "why not report the incident to the police rather than air it on this forum?" And especially since the kinds of remarks made about police in general were rather ugly. In fact on their Facebook site it was especially regrettable. I note after just looking that the ugliest remark about "hating cops" in that thread seems to have been expunged.

But again the question needs to be addressed, why was that thread on this forum allowed to continue without there being any similar kinds of admonishments from you? I ask in the interest of fairness to all parties including the police officer who was probably discussed here before ever hearing anything from his superiors.

His union representative would probably be quite eager to get copies of that thread, don't you think?


notoriousDUG said:

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

There is nothing mysterious about the reference. It is to the thread begun on 12 July by Justyna, titled "Reckless Driver on Milwaukee near California". And as I said before it was because one of the early participants in that thread was NotoriousDUG. Given the fact that he works with Justyna and that the thread had some responses which I frankly felt were indeed "bitter personal vendettas" against police officers in general it seemed that there might have been someone like yourself coming forward to urge restraint until all the facts were in.

I am certain that NotoriousDUG probably appreciates the sensitive nature of the discussions that went on in this forum (in that thread) as well as the Facebook thread that developed.

Being the owner of a business that has the potential to service the Chicago Police Department would make me leery of having my name on threads that in any way seemed disrespectful of the CPD regardless of whether I had made the remarks or not. I think it is incumbent upon the thread starter to at least give pushback to those opinions which do not reflect their own.

h' said:

Please don't muck up this thread with your bitter personal vendettas relating to mysterious other discussions that only the individual targeted by your harassment would be aware of. 

The reason that the thread seemed more than simply trying to find a witness was due to the characterizations given:

"Based upon the description, behavior is unacceptable.  However, anyone ever considered that he was not off-duty but undercover and was actually looking for the guy he "stopped"?  Just saying'." - Lisa Curcio

"Even if on duty the reckless behavior of the officer was endangering others.  He was also in a car that was obviously not a city vehicle and I doubt an undercover officer is going to be wearing a badge around his neck." - NotoriousDUG

"He was not out looking for anyone. He apparently was annoyed at the left-turning vehicle in front of him, and used the bike lane to get around. Never mind that there was a large group of cyclists in the bike lane. That's when I saw him, plow into the cyclists for no apparent reason. One of the cyclists took exception to this and yelled something at the guy, and that's when he singled him out, followed, and eventually forced him off the bike." - Justyna

"I plan to call their Internal Affairs office. I didn't do it today, because I was hoping that another witness got the license plates number. Regrettably, no one did. However, I have a very good description of the driver, and I did follow his antics the whole way, as I was driving immediately behind him. I did not want to write a long essay on Facebook, but it was very scary and reckless behavior, regardless of whether the cyclist had actually done anything wrong -- he did not. Even when he was pushed against the car by the cop, he maintained his composure, and was just trying to diffuse the potentially explosive situation. I'm really glad that no one was hurt. This cop endangered easily a half a dozen cyclists by forcing them out of the bike lane and into oncoming traffic. I narrowly missed hitting one myself with my vehicle, because he appeared out of nowhere trying to get out of the way. I really couldn't stop and take notes, because I had two kids with me in the car." - Justyna

These are just a smattering of the postings made to the thread. If this police officer is reprimanded by his superiors it might seem that these thread entries are prejudicial. And if the union representative needed any further ammunition having entires like "I hate cops. I just do" are like red meat to a carnivore.

As a business owner that has the potential to serve the Chicago Police Department's Cycling Patrol it would seem judicious to not antagonize anyone there. That more than anything really caused me to wonder about the wisdom of this thread in the first instance.

It seems to me that at the very least showing some sort of verbal restraint in areas like this is necessary. I would hate to see a legitimate complaint tossed out merely because of the tenor of the conversation here on a thread started by the very person who was lodging the complaint. And yes it might very well be of interest to anyone seeking to defend that officer.

Why? Because the comments appear to describe a general environment in which negative motives have been attributed to the officer by people who appear to in some cases have little or no regard for the person "on the job". In fact if you were looking for people to serve as witnesses, anyone responding from this thread would appear to be from a witness pool which was not unbiased.

notoriousDUG said:

The difference there was that the other thread was about finding witnesses where this one is just the telling of the story of the accident and all sorts of details.

I doubt anyone representing that officer would care about anything said here because there is most likely never going to be any charges for them to defend against; do you really think anything is going to happen there?

+2

h' said:

Please don't muck up this thread with your bitter personal vendettas relating to mysterious other discussions that only the individual targeted by your harassment would be aware of. For someone who's been kicking around the 'net for so many years and even had their own website, what, 15 years ago(?), you seem to have a really hard time understanding how a discussion board functions.

O said:

Curious whether this sort of rationale applies to threads where people are complaining about a police officer who appears to be using unnecessary force when dealing with cyclists who are reportedly in the bike lane but complaining about the intrusion of the vehicle of the off-duty officer?

My immediate reaction when I read that thread was "why not report the incident to the police rather than air it on this forum?" And especially since the kinds of remarks made about police in general were rather ugly. In fact on their Facebook site it was especially regrettable. I note after just looking that the ugliest remark about "hating cops" in that thread seems to have been expunged.

But again the question needs to be addressed, why was that thread on this forum allowed to continue without there being any similar kinds of admonishments from you? I ask in the interest of fairness to all parties including the police officer who was probably discussed here before ever hearing anything from his superiors.

His union representative would probably be quite eager to get copies of that thread, don't you think?


notoriousDUG said:

Every, SINGLE, attorney I know who specializes in active transportation law suits, as well as any attorney I have ever known recommends never, ever, talking about the accident or case on any public forum.  As an attorney you should know just how much damage a poorly worded, rash or misconstrued statement can do to a court case.

So, um, if you feel so strongly about this why are you posting about it here and not in the original thread where this conversation would have been in context? You do have a valid point, one I think you are blowing way out of proportion, but still an opinion that should be voiced and discussed. 

I would also like to point out that the rules of this forum and the restrictions that have been placed on me do not allow me to call you an idiot.


O said:

The reason that the thread seemed more than simply trying to find a witness was due to the characterizations given:

"Based upon the description, behavior is unacceptable.  However, anyone ever considered that he was not off-duty but undercover and was actually looking for the guy he "stopped"?  Just saying'." - Lisa Curcio

"Even if on duty the reckless behavior of the officer was endangering others.  He was also in a car that was obviously not a city vehicle and I doubt an undercover officer is going to be wearing a badge around his neck." - NotoriousDUG

"He was not out looking for anyone. He apparently was annoyed at the left-turning vehicle in front of him, and used the bike lane to get around. Never mind that there was a large group of cyclists in the bike lane. That's when I saw him, plow into the cyclists for no apparent reason. One of the cyclists took exception to this and yelled something at the guy, and that's when he singled him out, followed, and eventually forced him off the bike." - Justyna

"I plan to call their Internal Affairs office. I didn't do it today, because I was hoping that another witness got the license plates number. Regrettably, no one did. However, I have a very good description of the driver, and I did follow his antics the whole way, as I was driving immediately behind him. I did not want to write a long essay on Facebook, but it was very scary and reckless behavior, regardless of whether the cyclist had actually done anything wrong -- he did not. Even when he was pushed against the car by the cop, he maintained his composure, and was just trying to diffuse the potentially explosive situation. I'm really glad that no one was hurt. This cop endangered easily a half a dozen cyclists by forcing them out of the bike lane and into oncoming traffic. I narrowly missed hitting one myself with my vehicle, because he appeared out of nowhere trying to get out of the way. I really couldn't stop and take notes, because I had two kids with me in the car." - Justyna

These are just a smattering of the postings made to the thread. If this police officer is reprimanded by his superiors it might seem that these thread entries are prejudicial. And if the union representative needed any further ammunition having entires like "I hate cops. I just do" are like red meat to a carnivore.

As a business owner that has the potential to serve the Chicago Police Department's Cycling Patrol it would seem judicious to not antagonize anyone there. That more than anything really caused me to wonder about the wisdom of this thread in the first instance.

It seems to me that at the very least showing some sort of verbal restraint in areas like this is necessary. I would hate to see a legitimate complaint tossed out merely because of the tenor of the conversation here on a thread started by the very person who was lodging the complaint. And yes it might very well be of interest to anyone seeking to defend that officer.

Why? Because the comments appear to describe a general environment in which negative motives have been attributed to the officer by people who appear to in some cases have little or no regard for the person "on the job". In fact if you were looking for people to serve as witnesses, anyone responding from this thread would appear to be from a witness pool which was not unbiased.

notoriousDUG said:

The difference there was that the other thread was about finding witnesses where this one is just the telling of the story of the accident and all sorts of details.

I doubt anyone representing that officer would care about anything said here because there is most likely never going to be any charges for them to defend against; do you really think anything is going to happen there?

My car was parked street side when an elderly lady, that was just released from a local hospital 3 blocks away, ran into it.  She tried to flee the scene but the cars were stuck together due to the crash's impact and her car die while attempting to drag my Taurus down a wintry Wisconsin road.  (she made it almost 100 feet)

Two days later her insurance company called trying to collect damages from me. They stopped calling after a few days.  

Wow Derek, that is just the craziest story ever. You know, in cases like that, I wonder if the insurance company tried because of lies the other driver told them, or because they will just try whatever they can to get out of paying.

Incidentally I am really lucky i was raised by a lawyer (and am now married to one)*. It seems like you need your own lawyer in so many interactions now, because (according to them) 90% of trials have nothing to do with the law, just having the better and more tenacious bully on your side. But at least I was brought up to keep my mouth shut at collisions, don't talk to the other side, or to anyone else, go to the hospital, etc. I hear all these funny stories about clients doing things exactly the opposite of what their lawyers ask them to do. Well it's funny for me :)

*two different attorneys, in case that needed to be explained!

The better question would be why you allowed the airing of the details of an as yet undetermined situation without any pushback. And instead wait until this thread to start showing your sensitivities to proper incident reports.

If the usual denizens of this forum were more vigilant at the start no one would have to point out the Double Standard being applied in this thread. I imagine though that had I raised these questions in the original forum there would have still be a hue and cry that I was blowing things out of proportion.

I don't think so. It's just that things here have been bordering on the uncivil for so very long that anytime you get pushback you assume that the person doing the pushing must be an idiot. I have been called far worse by better people than you might be.


notoriousDUG said:

So, um, if you feel so strongly about this why are you posting about it here and not in the original thread where this conversation would have been in context? You do have a valid point, one I think you are blowing way out of proportion, but still an opinion that should be voiced and discussed. 

I would also like to point out that the rules of this forum and the restrictions that have been placed on me do not allow me to call you an idiot.

I would imagine that it is mostly the latter -although being fueled by the former it might just embolden them.

Mostly I think the insurance companies try this because it sometimes works, and rarely will hurt.  Insurance companies are not charities that exist to give away money. You basically have to pry it from their hands.  If someone lets the insurer bully them into giving up then the company wins.

These are not the droids you are looking for...

Chris B said:

Wow Derek, that is just the craziest story ever. You know, in cases like that, I wonder if the insurance company tried because of lies the other driver told them, or because they will just try whatever they can to get out of paying.

+1, if they can get the other party to admit to any guilt than they can spend less money paying them out.  

Another big key is to clearly write down all of the details as soon as possible, and use the notes whenever you speak to anyone.  Inconsistent stories will often hurt even a valid argument. 


James BlackHeron said:

I would imagine that it is mostly the latter -although being fueled by the former it might just embolden them.

Mostly I think the insurance companies try this because it sometimes works, and rarely will hurt.  Insurance companies are not charities that exist to give away money. You basically have to pry it from their hands.  If someone lets the insurer bully them into giving up then the company wins.

These are not the droids you are looking for...

Chris B said:

Wow Derek, that is just the craziest story ever. You know, in cases like that, I wonder if the insurance company tried because of lies the other driver told them, or because they will just try whatever they can to get out of paying.

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