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There's a line of thought for bikers that says "Every accident is your own fault" - certainly one that is pushed by some European motorcycle journos. But wait a minute, that's not right is it? Then you start thinking about it....



Lets take this accident here for example.. sure it was technically and legally her fault, but you are the one at most risk. If you'd looked both ways before entering the junction you'd probably have seen her running the light. And what if it wasn't someone who was running the light but who's brakes had failed? (All mechanics make mistakes sometimes) They couldn't have stopped and motorcyclist jam sandwiches would have followed.



Over 3/4 off road accidents happen at junctions. Take resposibility for yourself and look...
 

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But, who's fault was it?

I'd be very interested in seeing how this turns out. After all, she ran a red light, but, where is THE MAN is all this? Was there a citation? Is CA one of those stupid "No Fault" states? I know if I was in a similar situation, I'd have waited for someone to write a ticket.
 

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I think the same attitude prevails in the US, at least among experienced riders. Determining who's "at fault" legally is a tidy way to handle the post-mortem accounting of who gets a ticket and who's insurance company pays. But it doesn't help the motorcyclist learn how to prevent the same from occurring in the future.

As you say, riding well isn't just passively following the rules and hoping everyone else does too. It requires active participation, always looking for situations where you're vulnerable to drivers who either aren't following the rules or pose a hazard to you through no fault of their own. To tell the truth, the demand on my wits to be better than they are is one of the big attractions of motorcycling.
 

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Dorothy, you're not in Kansas anymore

Dude,

You practically killled yourself and you have had scarcely a chance to scope out SoCal girls at the beach.

Lane splitting is wonderful, especially on the freeway when it's jammed, however, here is a good rule to live by (emphasis on "live") here in SoCal:

Everyone runs red lights. Somtimes it's 4 or 5 cars after the red light in L.A. You 've got to learn to use the cages as a shield in certain situations. Cars can be your friend if you know how to use them to your advantage. It's kind of like a running back following his pulling guard.

Never be first into an intersection here. Let a car go first and clear the path for you. Also in an area where someone may make a left turn in front of you, snug up behind the nearest cage and let them run interference.

Remember, in the land of narcissists there is a huge "me first" attitude among drivers caught in never-ending traffic jams. Don't forget, they're all trying to kill you.

Someday, I'll invite you down for a ride in paradise (San Diego) where even the motor officers wave to you as you pass by (and sometimes at accelerated rates of speed!).

Oh, my Ducati is due for its 18,000 miles service. You think you could wire a few bucks down to me now that you're a highly paid executive?
 

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OK, for everybody whos gonna post something about how I should always look before I enter an intersection and that everything that ever happens while on a bike is ultimately my fault, random drive by shootings and crazypeople with thumbtacks included, yadda yadda yadda... I thought I addressed the fact that I realized I did something stupid but learned a lesson in my post. Nevertheless, post if you must...
 

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Re: But, who's fault was it?

I don't know if CA is one of those states where the cops won't come to the scene of an accident unless somebody dies, but I learned my lesson the hard way many years ago. With no police report, its he said/she said. Insurance companies sometimes use this to their advantage so they can declare both parties partially at fault and pay nothing.
 

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I do not know about California but I've seen insurance companies in Texas do odd things. I have investigated accidents and you would think that in a situation like this, determining fault would be easy. I used to think it is the lady's fault for running a red light, but no.

I have seen some insurance companies divide the fault to say she is 51% at fault for the red light and he is 49% at fault for not making sure the intersection was clear before entering. It depends on the insurance co. and their attorneys as to who pays what and how anal they are going to be.

You should also document the accident if you feel it wasn't your fault. She might be nice when she hits you but once she speaks to her insurance co. she may change her story. I'ld file a police report and make sure the officer understands what happened and draw a diagram for him to show him exactly what happened. If the police won't respond try & get witness information or call the person's insurance co. to hear the other person's story of what happened. It's not surprising if the lady says she did not run the red light and only said she did because she was scaired of you and your outburst. Next you'ld have to find witnesses or try and get reparations through litigation, which is hard.

I am not an expert on this subject but want other riders to protect themselves. I was shocked to see some of the tricks people pull in an accident. Take care of yourself so you don't get screwed after an accident, maybe then we can cut down on the velvet covered fairings some atrocitours have on their

rides. (that last part is a joke)

A final thought. If she had hit and killed you, if a violation could be proven, she would have probably received a citation. Wasn't there a group lobbying to get stricter penalties for cases such as this?
 

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Don't feel bad about your first reaction, who could blame you. You were smart to handle the rest with a sensible attitude, it pays off in the long run. I am very curious about why the police were not called though. There are some good defensive riding comment from others here especially using cages as shields. I do that frequently. Where you hurt physically?
 

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"It's the law and all but it's just a red light and everybody does it so look out and be sure not to..." What a bunch of ****e. You got too many drivers out there and running red lights seems like a logical way to thin things out a bit. Enjoy LA. I'll stay where I live and raise holly hell when someone here runs said light, as I should, and they will get defensive, as they will, and all will be right in the rest of the normal world. Yes, be careful at intersections and anticipate a$$holes but let 'em know they f'd up. Cordial is nice on the golf course when you hit a wayward ball and yell "fore!" Running lights and injuring or killing riders is, in my humble opinion, assault with a deadly weapon/manslaughter. I'd scream, rant and rave. Then I'd shout some more. Peal a little verbal paint. "Be nice" my a$$!
 

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Changing Stories

I've been involved in a handful of accidents since turning 16. The first was less than two months after getting my license. I learned a few important lessons. First, the police in Michigan don't give two squats about accidents that occur in parking lots. In their minds, a parking lot is a license to drive like a mad man.

The second is that the really nice guy who just tore off your bumper will totally change his tune when he calls the insurance company. Suddenly you will be a crazy, reckless driver who owes him.

I've repeated this event about three times. All three times a police report showing I wasn't more than 50% at fault saved my tail.

There was also a lesson learned about a man rushing to have a lunch time affair being willing to accept any blame in order to get the heck outta there, but I'm not sure how often that'll be useful.
 

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I'm with SRMark on this one. I think under normal cage on cage action it is fine to be civil but in this case, I think I would have been on the cell to the police first thing and let the chips fall were they may. Also, I carry a little disposable camera for incidents such as these. I have a very nice photo of a rather irate (read: drunk) cager in his shiny new Ford pickup waggling his middle finger out of the window as he drove away from backing into my friends R6 at a light. As my friend cursed in disbelief and jammed it in gear to chase the guy down, I reached into my jacket pocket pulled out the disposable and shot a few shots of the offender's tag. Worked very nicely in court. Our lawyer showed them the pics and they settled before the first court date.
 

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OK Timmy Lassie says "WAKE UP and SMELL the SMOG"

1. It was OK to be pissed. But be cool.

2. Call the cops next time. Forget the pleasant talk. Get the cops there especially if you went down. Get a accident report filled out ASAP. It's best to have a cop do it there.

3. California, I believe is a fault state i.e. everything gets settled either between insurance companies or in court so you have to cover your ass. Forget the midwest politeness folks out here take is as you are a sucker.

Of course she was nice to you, because you didn't call the cops you fool

I wish you luck on collecting any money from her.

How do I know. When I first moved out here, I did the same thing you did once and got taken. No witnesses just your word against hers. Didn't get a dime. Now I carry a camera and I don't move until the cops get there.
 
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