Witnessed a Bike Collide With a Police Car

On my ride home today I witnessed a bike collide with a police car. I looked up the location on Google maps and added some visual aides. The green line is where I cross on my commute. The blue rectangles are two police ars that were in the parking lot. The red line is where the cyclist was riding on the side walk. It is downhill had he had picked up some speed. The police car rolled forward like you would to see around the wall and bush on his right. His front bumper moved into the part of the driveway that would intersect the sidewalk path just as the cyclist arrived. He hit the corner of the front bumper and took a spill in front of the car. 

An officer got out of each car and checked on the rider right away. He seemed a little stunned but OK. He had a scrape on his shoulder and elbow. He was not wearing a shirt or a helmet. He said he was 18. If the collision had not involved a police car I suspect he would have gotten up riden away. But the police insisted he wait for the ambulance. The officer asked if I had seen what happened and when I said yes, he asked me to stay and talk to his supervisor.

Before the supervisor arrived, a fire department vehicle arrived. Three guys got out and started attending to the rider. Then an ambulance arrived and the rider received more attention. Next a fire truck arrived, I guess just to make sure enough traffic was blocked. Finally the supervisor arrived and took a statement from me.

This was the kind of incident that shows why it is dangerous to ride on the sidewalk if you are not a child. This rider was moving fast and on the sidewalk where he was moving toward traffic. The spot is a blind one. I don’t think you can see a car pulling out because of the wall and bush and the car can’t see the sidewalk for the same reason. The parking lot is also downhill from the wall which makes it even harder to see. It is not up to me to decide fault, but it is clear a rider moving quickly down the hill on the the sidewalk is taking unnecessary risks.

 

 

 

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  • In our state, it is technically illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk, but no one ever gets written up for it. It makes it seem like the officers don’t want the bikes on the road (b/c with these types of riders, there might be more accidents involving them). However by not writing them up, they perpetuate the issue with vehicle drivers who think they own the road and shout out things such as, “Use the sidewalk!” These drivers don’t realize that they are supposed to treat cyclists as if they are another motor vehicle and give them not only the required 3-feet but also right of way.

    AFA the rider in your blog post, Jack, I see guys like this on the sidewalk in our suburban city every day. They are usually (but not always) Hispanic and on their way to work. I never see a helmet protecting their head.

    The other part of the problem is that local politicians think it’s legal to ride on the sidewalk, too! So, they don’t think it’s important to put in bike lanes.

    There’s been a federal law in effect for several years now that when a road is expanded or created that a sidewalk or bike lane is supposed to be installed. [I think this may apply only to certain urban/suburban areas, though.] Well when the road where one of the busiest mountain bike trails in the country was widened, what did they put in? A sidewalk…that rarely gets used. I’ve seen more mtb-ers using it to ride from their house to the trails…which again, sends the wrong information to drivers.

    Sigh.