I need a veterans view on fault of accident

Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by prodaytrader, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. prodaytrader

    prodaytrader Member

    I was involved in an accident some time back which is continuing to cause me more grief then I really care to think about. My intent here is to gain perspective perhaps through the eyes of fellow riders; here is the situation:

    I was rear ended in a rally by another bike. The accident occurred at the bottom of a hill about 1/4 mile from our starting point. The lead bike had stopped on the side of a 2 lane unmarked road about as far right as possible. I should note that the riders of this bike were close relatives and were my connection to this rally. It was important for me to stay close to these people and this bike throughout the rally. I was quite a ways behind the lead bike so when I saw them stopped on the side of the road I preceded to slow my bike down. I was confused as to what was going on, but I had not made any decision at this point about what to do. I guess I was trying to assess the situation and make a determination as to whether I should pull into a driveway nearby, pull over to the side of the road, or what I don’t know. The posted limit was 35 or 40 I forget, but it was a paved farm road so it couldn’t have been very fast. At the time of the accident I was probably doing 20, maybe slightly slower.

    Either next two, or slightly behind the stopped bike, I was struck from the rear by the next bike in the line. They struck me on my back rear right pipe and caused us both to lose control. I veered off to the left side, off the road and into the ditch and he veered right, but remained in the roadway however much further down the road then I. His speed was much faster than mine perhaps 40 or even 50. He had made up quite some distance in that ¼ mile from the rally start because I had left the driveway alone by at least 5 or 7 seconds

    The injuries were significant and the bikes were a complete total according to the insurers. Neither the operator or passenger was wearing a helmet, I on the other hand was wearing head to toe leathers and helmet. I suffered a mild sprain of my left ankle and had to be pulled out from under my bike, they suffered cracked skulls, lacerated liver, countless abrasions and who knows what else. Both were careflighted away and stayed several weeks in the hospital.

    It has been close to a year since this accident and I have been dealing with insurance companies since nearly day 1. I was operating a rented bike at the time from the local HD dealer. The operator who struck me was issued a citation and has subsequently seen his insurance company replace his bike as well as the one I rented. Since I suffered no personal injury and I only suffered mild damages from leathers and clothing, I decided to not press any claim against his insurance. Since the date of the accident I have paid nothing more than the cost of renting a second bike for the weekend and a replacement set of chaps.

    To the point of my post: The annual rally is coming up again and it seems that I am now blacklisted from the event. I am an outsider connected by an in-law relationship only, but of all the riders that usually go, only 30% or so are family anyway. The rest are all friends and distant cousins or what have you. For whatever reason, since the time of the accident I have been blamed by everyone who was at the rally for the events of this accident. It’s entirely possible that only a few vocal people in the group are making all the trouble, but since I am not from the area I can’t say for sure. The police don’t seem to think I am at fault; the insurance companies don’t seem to think I am at fault, I don’t think I am at fault and at one point in the beginning when pressed the other rider didn’t think I was at fault. His story has likely changed since that day though.

    Isn't it the responsibility of tailing cyclists to pay attention to the road and slow down if they see slowing or stopped vehicles ahead of them? At one point the other rider went as far as to tell everyone that he didn’t understand how it happened since he glanced and saw me slowing, but for some reason it didn’t register with him. The other motorist in all likelihood was waving to a video camera just a second or so prior to impact. Whether or not he was hot rodding or show boating at the time of the impact I will never know, but he has a reputation as the craziest driver or hot-rodder of the group.

    So I leave it in your hands, why am I being blacklisted when the other rider is being given the green light? What could I have done differently? It has been suggested that my actions after the accident could be the source of my troubles as I was pressing for the remaining riders to continue on with the rally. Perhaps a bit callous I admit, but I had flown halfway across the country to be at this event, spent thousands of dollars in gear, rentals, classes and licenses to be there and I wasn’t about to see it all blow up in my face especially since I didn't even know the guy, others did, but I did not.

    I'm sure nobody will have gotten this far, but that's ok since it's really more of a vent. I just found out that I wouldn’t be attending this year’s event so I am a little angry about that and needed to write it all out and perhaps get perspective. I suppose after I cool off I will approach this from another angle and may still find my place at the event. I am along for the journey more so then the people. Being from the South, I enjoy seeing cooler more scenic parts of the county whenever I can.
  2. 2000classic

    2000classic Active Member

    As we all know there are two sides to a story and without his, I am basing my reply on your post only. From your post, it sounds like other fellow may be the more experienced rider as compared to yourself, and as such seems unwilling to admit he got careless and instead trying to put blame on the guy with less experience. As for the blacklisting, Lord only knows things that are said when you are not around to defend yourself. I feel for you and hope you somehow get it worked out. Good luck!
  3. martin14

    martin14 Active Member

    Friends are Gods' way of apologizing for family. :)

    You could circ the citation and insurance papers to your hearts content, even the video for that matter, because you are not the one around, its easy to blame it on you.

    Bering hit from behind accident is always the responsibility of the one
    behind; period, end of sentence.

    Advice is simple, find something else to do that weekend.. and Thanksgiving..
    and Christmas.. etc,etc :)

    People like this you don't need in your life.. Your ( i'm guessing it's your wife's family )
    side should understand that as well.
  4. Romain

    Romain Active Member

    I have to agree with this.

    You can try to find another posse.
  5. whatyardwork

    whatyardwork Banned

    First let me say I truely hope the other riders involved in this are now alright as I dont believe you mentioned that in your post.

    These events are among the most dangerous riding situations you can put yourself in.The very reason I no longer attend them.It is most difficult in a pack of bikes when determining speeds that may vary by 20 mph from bike to bike.There always seems to be a few "wild hogs" that just dont understand the seriousness and attention required to ride in a pack.
    His fault my fault, the event planners fault for not having the propper preperation and blockers in place which caused an unnescesary stop?It is irrelivent at this point.As you should know bikers are a very tight group.As you stated, you traveled a great distance to this couples back yard to attend this event.To me this is no different than going to a barbeque and picking a fight with the host.Reguardless of wether he pinched your wifes butt first, you wont be invited back.
    Perhaps a generous donation to the charity would go a long way towards showing who the better man is?After all thats what these events are all about.
  6. STEVE07

    STEVE07 Well-Known Member Staff Member Super Moderators

    Ok ,I am only goimg to ask one question,when you were slowing and being uncertain in what you were going to do did you ever check your mirrors? Too many people slow or stop erraticly without ever checking their mirrors sometimes causing that accident and on a bike that means causing harm to yourself.JMHO
  7. fevest

    fevest Member

    First off, no such thing as an accident. Bad decisions lead to bad outcomes.
    The guy was not paying attention to what was going on in front of him. He didn't slow down. You always have to have enough room to keep yourself clear, which means stay back.
    I don't like to ride with more than a few people because of the chance of these incidents.
  8. Dr. Dolittle

    Dr. Dolittle Experienced Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

    First, find some other folks to ride with, plain and simple.

    Second, I agree with the post that said if you're hit from behind, it was NOT your fault. I don't care if you had to do a perfect MSF emergency braking maneuver, if the person behind hits you, he was following too close, going to fast, not paying enough attention, or probably all three. I see too many of these group rides turn into contests of who can ride the closest and look the coolest.

    Third, if you still desire to ride in these type of large group/charity rides, try to find ones that are police escorted and don't be shy about informing everyone about your experience level and your desire to maybe ride slower or hanf back a bit.
  9. The4opps1

    The4opps1 Junior Member

    Let me add my two cents worth. You were hit from behind. The police declined to issue you a summons, so your "fault" is nil, at best. I have taken to heart, some words of wisdom passed on to me by my Dad. Worry about what you have control over. Worrying about what someone else thinks of you is wasted effort. You cannot control anyone else but you. Given the situation, you are probably better off not riding with that group.

    In closing, I will second a statement made in a previous reply, and that is that riding in these groups has it's own set of perils. You are basically relying on the skills and attention of all the other riders. I avoid these situations like the plague. I know some "experienced" riders who's attention span is that of a grapefruit. You don't need that hassle.
  10. TXMikey

    TXMikey Junior Member

    A previous post stated that when you are hit from behind, it's always the person in the rear that is responsible. That is a common misnomer. There are situations when it is not the person in the rear that is at fault, but something that the person being struck from behind caused.

    The best thing to do is pay attention at all times, and make sure there is a sufficient safety zone in front, and behind, your vehicle. We all have to ride as though we are invisible and everyone, including other bikers, may be out to hit us.