Peter, join my group Look For Cyclists and post under Collisions and Your Experiences.
Putting together a resource to be used later to lobby for improved cycling conditions, eg better road design, better driver education, better legislation like Strict Liability, even mandatory fining of negligent drivers. I have been injured three times by drivers, left with permanent back injuries, and yet not one was fined. One of the drivers actually refused to pay for my damaged bike.
>One of the drivers actually refused to pay for my damaged bike.
This is one of the few cases where the threat of taking legal action is easy and likely to have a good outcome. If you can prove negligence on the part of the driver then you will prevail, obviously if they were not charged with any traffic offence then it makes it difficult to prove.
Draw up a letter of demand, detailing your claim, stating that the damage to your property was a result of their negligence, include a copy of quotes or invoices for the damage and state that you will take legal action for recovery of the debt if its not paid within 14 days. Keep it clear and concise. Send it to them by registered mail. If they fail to pay obtain a Final Notice of Claim (Form 1A) from the Small Claims Court for about $20 and send it to them by registered mail. If they don't pay within 21 days then you can decide if you want to take it further.Taking it further is a decision that you have to make and which may open you to costs if you loose. Its very cheap to take action in small claims court - as to whether you should follow through is up to you and/or your lawyer to decide - If someone ran over my bike I would do it just to annoy them as the costs they can claim if you loose are pretty much capped - but once again that is a matter for legal advice and not the say so of an Internet forum.
Had to let it go. Had fatigue and could not rely on me getting up in time to follow it through the Small Claims Court. Fortunately it was a cheap commuter bike worth perhaps $300, but still the principle.
Would you like to post your hints on the AC group of Look For Cyclists? Perhaps under Insurance, Reporting or Your Experiences.
I think it is disinterest. None of the three drivers who injured me were fined, but one (who refused to pay for bicycle damage) got a warning rather than a fine. It sends the message that it is OK to hit and injure cyclists. People who are fined for parking in bicycle lanes long remember it and tell their friends, until I hear it third hand. Fining drivers who hit cyclists is a way of reminding them to look for cyclists. Do we need to lobby for Strict Liability legislation until the police and courts support vulnerable road users?
Can any AC members with police friends add to this?
I'd think that you are correct and they can't prove who was in the wrong. The police would be very pragmatic about the chances of getting a conviction and would only proceed with those cases where they have a good chance of succeeding. Unhappily this would exclude most of the cases where its one persons word against another's.
I don't agree with legislation that automatically makes the driver in the wrong in accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists because its too open to fraudulent claims.