By on March 28, 2016

hit

It’s every biker’s nightmare: an anonymous Honda runs you off the road then departs the scene at high speed. But was it malice aforethought, or simply a very painful lesson about what happens when you linger in a car’s blind spot?

The action in this video starts at about 2:50. You can see the Civic very methodically move over and KO the biker right onto the ground, where he proceeds to writhe in what looks like considerable pain. The Civic never hesitates for a moment before skipping out of the scene. The fellow whose dashcam took the video states:

This incident occurred on 2/24/2016 at approximately 5:41 p.m. on Eastbound CA 238 just after the merge from Northbound 880. Appears to be a gray mid-to-late 2000’s model Honda Civic. Any information on the felony hit and run driver would be appreciated.

So if any TTACers want to play Junior Detective, have at it. For the rest of you? Whose fault was this? The Civic driver, for not looking, or the biker, for letting himself be in the way of the proverbial Harkonnen fist?

I have to admit that this, or something similar, happens to me at least once a week. I always address it by splitting the lane or riding the shoulder line while braking in a controlled manner.

What say you, B&B?

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102 Comments on “Was This Vehicular Assault Malicious, Negligent, Or Both? (Video)...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    well that video disappeared quickly.

    edit: I see the new one. thanks.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    Didn’t have to see the video. Used to do about 8K+ a year on bikes, commuting and trips, whatever. Always took to heart a study done in England and reported in a bike magazine that noted that most car drivers literally could not see motorcyclists. And had no chance at guessing the speed which motorcycles were doing. Fellow bikers, please note.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I remember seeing something about this study too, that your brain expects to see other cars on the road and you may literally not see a motorcycle that is there. It happened to me once years ago, I glanced in my blindspot while merging onto the freeway and nothing was there, then I see an understandably irate biker slow down behind me in the same lane I was entering. Luckily he moved before there was any chance of an accident but all I could do was wave an apology while rewinding in my head the open lane I’d just checked. I was paying attention, had no distractions and just didn’t see him.

  • avatar

    Video is fixed now.

  • avatar
    strafer

    This is why “Ride it like you stole it” is actually safer. Not the wheelies and burnouts, but riding faster than the traffic so you’re noticed by car drivers.
    Usually it’s the newish middle aged riders who ride like they drive their cars and disappear in traffic.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    Looked like he was just in the blind spot until the car kept going over all the way to the inside paint where it started to look sketchy malicious… I always hated riding next to cars on the highway. Always pull up in front of their front fender and hug the outside of the lane like you say just in case…

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Always stay out of the blind spot and if you can’t you get along side their mirror while maintaining your lane just to let them know you are there.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I drive a car and I try to stay out of blind spots.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        What annoys me is drivers that cling to my blind spot, no other traffic around. No, it astounds me. So l’ll gradually start to crowd their space, then back. After about the 3rd time, they get the picture and buzz off. When it comes to bikers doing this, it’s their funeral.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I’ll catch $hit for it, but it’s a worthy public service –

    It doesn’t matter how good your reflexes or how careful you are (defensive driving & total situational awareness); bike riders are absolutely in a risk of serious injury or death category that’s 10x to 50x (I made that statistic up just now but would be surprised if it’s not somewhat accurate) higher than passenger vehicle (car/truck) drivers/passengers.

    Bikes ARE hard to see for most people.

    There’s nothing between a bike and its rider but the ground and air.

    Even with a DOT approved helmet, a bike rider is hamburger. Without a DOT approved helmet, a bike rider is on a suicide mission.

    A huge % of passenger car/truck drivers are distracted to the point of being semi-comatose while driving.

    The other % of passenger car/truck drivers are incompetent.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      The distracted thing is a huge factor of why I’ll probably never be on a bike again (well that and being one of those middle-aged guys). It’s sad, as some of the newer retro models are hugely attractive to me.

      My state has no helmet law, and we have a lot of guys here that refuse to wear one for any reason, because “the gub’ment cain’t tell me what to do”. Some have been co-workers. Unfortunately, “Don’t Tread On Me” often takes on a much different meaning. And I agree, drivers as a rule CANNOT see bikes, even when NOT distracted.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Riding a Harley Davidson may actually be safer due to the loud vtwin engine. Quieter touring bikes can usually only be seen. Hearing the bike may help those drivers that are unable to see the bikes.

      • 0 avatar
        strafer

        Loud pipes don’t really work if the bike is behind the car. It just annoys drivers behind you.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          Loud pipes annoy everyone. Claiming they “make the bike safer” is a lame attempt at justifying the powerful sounding noise.
          If your transportation is so hazardous that it has to be that loud to make it safer, you need a different form of transportation.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            hell I ride a Harley and I don’t buy into that “loud pipes save lives” nonsense. I don’t mind a deeper, throatier (giggity) exhaust, but I just slapped on the (50-state-legal) Nightstick muffler on my Dyna and called it good.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Extremely loud pipes are strictly an A-hole move.

            If he’s so concerned about safety, he’d have on a full-face helmet, not a Nazi helmets with a spike top. A fluorescent vest, not blacked out from head to toe, including the bike. Full leathers with pucks all over? Yeah, NO.

            No, the loud pipes are for attracting other guys, while temporarily stopping all conversations within 100 ft, all eyes on him.

            Screw *safety*. I see these egomaniacs ride around with no headlights on, so they can look even “cooler”.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Yeah, I’ll believe the loud pipes thing when it comes from a rider with his exhaust pointed forward.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Also, cars are so quiet nowadays that many things that are loud don’t get a driver’s attention.

      • 0 avatar
        probert

        Well the 500lbs of sound insulation in a car might just send this trope to a deserved death. Straight pipes neither save lives, nor make your dick bigger.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGyKBFCd_u4

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      in CA, cars going faster than trucks are going to try to pass said truck 95% of the time, even in the right lane. when i ride, thats one of my general assumptions.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      Your point?

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Deadweight, there are two kinds of safety. Primary safety is that combination of skills and awareness that helps you avoid situations like this in the first place. Motorcycles are also small and very maneuverable, and often can accelerated out of developing situations. You won’t get run off the road unless the encroaching vehicle is also leaving the road. Primary safety has kept me injury-free for coming up on 600,000 two-wheel miles.

      Secondary safety is the issue. There is no Volvo-style safety with motorcycles, unless you count antilock brakes and, in the case of a few bike and gear mfrs, airbags. The best you can do is high-quality, well-designed riding gear that has both impact and abrasion protection. That’s why my helmet cost $500 and my one-piece coverall riding suit cost $1000. This secondary safety is what has kept me injury free despite a handful of unscheduled off-bike excursions, all of which were to some degree my fault.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      @ DeadWeight:
      “bike riders are absolutely in a risk of serious injury or death category that’s 10x to 50x higher”

      “Even with a DOT approved helmet, a bike rider is hamburger. Without a DOT approved helmet, a bike rider is on a suicide mission.”

      Yes, we know. And yet we ride anyway. Almost as if we (ok, some of us) understand the risks and accept them in exchange for the experience of riding the bike. Why do non-riders assume that we don’t understand these risks?

      Anyone who’s been riding for any length of time at all has:
      a) Known people who were injured or killed in riding accidents
      b) Been injured or killed themselves
      c) All of the above

      It comes with the activity. Stupidity comes in many forms, and I do many stupid things, but understanding the risk isn’t one of my failures. Perhaps failing to act upon my understanding is.

      In argument against me hanging up the helmet, I’ve also personally known people who were killed, seriously injured, or both, while: running, riding a horse, using a lawn tractor, boating, driving a car, gardening in their safe little house and becoming afflicted with an incurable disease.

      I’ll keep riding, thanks.

  • avatar

    Seems like the driver just kept coming… All the way to the paint until he “got him.” Hard to tell but that’s my take on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hall

      The only thing you can unequivocally blame the Civic driver for is leaving the scene.

      I used to ride a motorcycle. My MSF instructors drilled it into the class that drivers can’t see you, especially when you’re next to them. They’ll change lanes right into you, and never notice you until contact (if then). My subsequent years of riding proved them absolutely right.

      Later, I looked up the relevant research. The human brain works primarily by pattern-matching, and it can and will simply tune out anything it doesn’t expect to see in a given setting. A rider on a bike is a completely different size and shape than a car, so it’s literally true that a driver can look right at you and not see you, as if you’re invisible.

      It’s entirely possible that that’s what happened in the video. The driver is legally at fault, but in a way it’s more literally an “accident” than most accidents.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        That pattern-matching theory is a big part of it; object shape and relative size of a car or truck is all that most drivers are subconsciously expecting to see.

        Another part is a lot of drivers EXPECT that the lane that they’re moving into is CLEAR. Just a quick glance (sometimes less than that) but they’re mentally already moving over into the desired spot. That’s how people get surprised or honked at. It’s a subtle psychological difference. Do you normally assume that the lane is clear- so let’s move over UNLESS something is there? Or do you assume there is always something you missed- so let’s look for what we missed and move over only after we’re sure we didn’t miss anything?

        Here’s a thought exercise for the Best and Brightest: Last time you came to a four-way stop, did you look to your right for any cyclists riding the wrong way and ignoring their stop?

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hall

          I glance in the mirror, then put my signal on while beginning to move into the next lane. But as I do so, I take a wide look over my shoulder. Once in awhile it’ll turn out I missed something in my mirror check. Awkward and annoying, but no risk of a crash.

          I learned to look over my shoulder from motorcycling. Riding a bike will make you a better driver, and not only because you know to watch for bikes.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        I think we can judge intent by the driver’s behavior after the act. He didn’t stop; or even start to stop or jerk his car. He made a hit, a deliberate one, and, mission accomplished, got clear.

        I’m a thirty-year rider; and used to be a professional driver. And I REALLY take umbrage on the false Loud-Pipes-Save-Lives meme. You don’t generally hear them clearly; and certainly not above the general noise level. Rolling up on them, the volume you hear starts soft and gradually increases. Consciousness blots it out.

        What it is, as noted, is a justification for the spectacle the pirates on Harleys like to make. If a constant loud blare made a vehicle safe, we could all save lives by hard-wiring our horns to be blowing whenever the ignition is on.

        Make life miserable? Yeah. Kinda like living near a Harley pirate with his open pipes.

    • 0 avatar
      valvashon

      Exactly what I saw, Whiskey. Didn’t signal and kept coming over- it looked like the Honda driver even twitched the wheel a little bit to make the final bump to the rider. We don’t know what happened previously, but it does not appear that the Honda and the bike had any previous encounter that they were “finishing” and there’s certainly nothing going on here that’s out of place until the bump. Did the Honda driver just have a bad day and decide to take it out on someone at random? In their own world yapping on the phone or watching porn?

      And they certainly knew they hit somebody or something- the swerve and slam of the brakes tells me that. Not stopping is despicable in this case and should be a felony if it isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      mbardeen

      Watching the video carefully, it looks like the Honda driver actually sped up to match the biker’s speed.. and from the angle of the turn, it was deliberate. If he was only making a pass on the truck, it would have been a much shallower angle.

      I’m going with malicious.

  • avatar
    MBella

    If the Civic used a turn signal to indicate he was changing lanes, the motorcycle rider would have had more warning. When I worked as a tech I couldn’t believe the amount of people that use the turn signal lever as a hanger for their purse or trash receptacle.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    No signal, but clear brake lights after impact but possibly for white semi. I’m guessing elderly driver or on phone and completely unaware of impact, common things being common.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m seeing jeans, down jacket, and sneakers on rider.

  • avatar
    asapuntz

    Certainly negligence on the part of the driver, but I think the motorcyclist made (at least) 2 mistakes.

    The first was undertaking / passing-on-the-right. US interstates have infamously bad lane discipline, but it’s always smarter to do the expected thing.

    Also, pass quickly – I’d rather risk a ticket for 10s than an accident for 20.

    Hope the rider was OK.

  • avatar
    kkop

    This is why I always ride at 5-10mph over the speed of surrounding traffic: that way I make the moves/decisions and not Mr(s) cellphone cage.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The safest situation is traveling at the same speed, not faster. If you go faster, a driver changing lanes will have you appear out of the least visible locations.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Not to blame the biker, but passing on the right is taking your life in your hands, very likely the Honda didn’t see him. That said, Honda should have signaled. I used to ride a lot, always assume cars don’t see you and be prepared for them to move into your space…because it will happen.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I remember when I was in driver’s ed they had us watch videos with “no win” scenarios. They called them “accident traps,” and part of the training was don’t get yourself into an accident trap.

      The truck is in the left lane because the ramp is going from 2 lanes to 1, and the right lane is merging with the left. I am going to ASS-U-ME the truck driver drives this route normally and knows this.

      When the video starts the Honda Civic is behind the truck and is braking (lights on) so was slowing as they came up on the truck, which was probably slowing due to the curve in the road in the pending merge.

      With the Civic braking the motorcycle “appears” to be speeding up, but it seems he/she just holds speed. The Civic slows down, then the brakes lights go off on the Civic and they clearly accelerate – they want to pass the truck. This in itself is a bad decision because the right lane is going away, they even pass the sign.

      The motorcycle is now in the blind spot of the Civic and the Civic “accelerates” to match speed. This is where it gets interesting, it appears at around 7 seconds the Civic moves just a bit harder to the right, which raises a serious question, did they see the motorcycle?

      I know people are saying at 9 seconds it appears they intentionally go right to hit the bike, but to me it looks more like a swerve left and a micro second later the brake lights come on hard at the point of impact, I think they hear/see something to their right, go to go left, crap truck, brake hard and then drive off (douche move).

      If you watch the Civic to the end of the video, they never get past the 18-wheeler (irony) and the right lane evaporates on them. They then merge left behind the truck, but the douche nozzle keeps driving.

      This was an accident trap. Impatient Civic driver, motorcycle in the wrong place at the wrong time, then at the moment of truth the Civic driver does about the worst thing possible – additionally the motorcyclist for whatever reason, never takes the clear shoulder over the white line (I get there could be marbles there but he/she isn’t going THAT fast) and just had a mother f***** I’ll kill you moment.

      Civic driver has committed a felony, I hope they find the bastard and nail him to the wall.

  • avatar
    Advance_92

    A quick visual check is always best. The driver didn’t seem to do that or use their turn signal. Not that it may have mattered since US cars don’t all have obvious turn signals for someone alongside. I’ve seen cars with lane warning cameras work in the city when I’m on my bicycle so I’m guessing the car didn’t have one of those either.

    The bike was overtaking so I’m guessing the driver was basing their move on the last check of their mirror probably five or more seconds ago. In addition to MotorMania there was a longer Goofy cartoon about attentive driving that stressed a visual check.

  • avatar
    VW16v

    Hopefully the license plate of the douch driver was sent to the police. Is causing an accident and leaving the scene of the crime a felony?

  • avatar
    motorrad

    Someone tries to kill me every time I commute to work on the bike in St. Louis. I ride I70 through downtown to my job and EVERY day somebody does something stupid or reckless that I have to avoid. Like Jack, I’ve had cars come over with me on the horn and never look as I end up on the dotted white line between lanes. It’s part of the deal of riding a motorcycle.

  • avatar
    Bob

    I have been riding motorcycles for many years. The cars can’t see you and almost every driver is distracted. It’s messed up that the civic left the scene of an accident. Having said that this is obviously the car driver’s fault as a motorcycle rider, the guy on the bike should have been much more aware of his situation. When I ride a motorcycle I make sure I never ride in someones blind spot in any situation, ever. Never ride next to a vehicle. The motorcycle rider should have noticed a vehicle next to him and adjusted by slowing down or speeding up to give himself an out. He never noticed the vehicle until it hit him, otherwise he would have moved onto the shoulder, or adjusted his speed to avoid a collision. It’s so easy to always blame the car drivers, but when you get on a bike you are accepting a huge amount of risk and must act accordingly. A headlight modulator (which is legal in the US, Canada, and many European countries) will make you much more visible to drivers. Headlight modulators make the motorcycle headlights flash (really they are dimming and getting brighter) making you visibly annoying to others on the road, I will chose annoying people over them not seeing me any day to be safe. If you ride a motorcycle take a motorcycle safety course, get a headlight modulator ($50), a taillight modulator ($50), and a reflective vest. Give yourself a fighting chance at survival. Your best option is to ride on a track, public roads are insane.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      i ride with an HID low beam and a standard hi-beam always on, having the bright yellowish light and bright white grabs attention

      • 0 avatar
        Bob

        I’m telling you the headlight modulator is an absolute life saver. People don’t just see you, they get the hell out of your way. It’s like your driving an ambulance. Completely legal in all 50 states. I highly recommend it to anyone riding a motorcycle on public roads. If the guy in the video had a headlight modulator, the civic would have absolutely noticed him when he was behind him. It’s also fun to explain to people at stoplights that, Yes I do realize that my lights are “flashing”, and it is 100% legal, I’m glad it got your attention away from facebook.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      Minimizing time in someone’s blind spot is an excellent idea for cars as well as bikes. Today’s cars have horrible visibility and driving/riding in the blind spot area is an invitation to get hit. I’m always amazed, however, that people will drive for miles exactly in the middle of my blind spot. On occasion I will put on my left turn signal in this situation, which inevitably will cause the blind spotter to immediately pass me – why cant you just do that without the prompt?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The A-pillars on the 9th-Gen Accord are thinner, but I discovered almost too late one morning last week that the B-pillars can hide a GMC Acadia very nicely, and on the driver side, no less! (Driver may have honked, I was in shock!)

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Looks like it was a complete and total accident to me.

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      No accident. An accident is when something entirely external impinges on the road or vehicle that can’t be reasonably avoided by exercising normal prudence and judgment. That was an entirely preventable crash.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I keep watching this, in full screen and in 1080. At the :09 time mark, there’s a little right hand jerk (like a hip bump) from the Civic, where it unnaturally goes further than just a lane change, and where the tires are at the right hand solid line.

    I’m thinking he wanted to scare him, and got closer than intended. Then upon impact, realizes the oh f*ck that just happened and flees the scene.

  • avatar

    It’s worse at night, given that motorcyclists seem to favor black leather. If I were to ride, I’d get a lime green jersey to wear over the leather, the type that is visible from the international space station, and at night I’d wear a bunch of lights around my trunk, so that I’d be as visible as possible from the sides. I do bicycle, and I always wear the lime green. (I avoid riding at night.)

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Between my bike and riding suit I have a couple square feet of retroreflective materials. I don’t ride at night as much as I used to, mainly because of deer–but I’m pretty darn visible.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      I live in an area with many running/biking enthusiasts, and the city has taken to painting “bike lane” logos on every narrow two-lane-no-shoulders road in town. I go to work very, very early in the morning and spend quite a bit of time dodging these clowns when half asleep. Recently, many of them have taken to wearing LED impregnated vests and headgear, and it really does help.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The car driver is obviously at fault. Whether or not it was intentional is impossible to tell.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    This is absolutely the car driver’s fault. The bike was in his own lane minding his own business. It is the job of the car driver (like I do when I drive) to look around the blind spot when changing lanes.

    It does remind me of when I was a kid and my Dad pulled out in front of a motorcycle (bike was able to swerve and miss). He said he was “looking for a car coming” and didn’t see it. Still Dad’s fault.

    John

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The car driver obviously responds by correcting to the left and applying the brakes after impact. They knew what happened, but I think it was accidental.

    I wonder if they were texting/distracted, struck the bike, then took off hoping nobody noticed. And perhaps they feared being cited for texting while driving.

    As for the the biker: passing on the right, and too slowly, were his only faults.

    I should add – I was nearly struck this weekend by a pickup whose moves absolutely mimicked the Civic’s (drift, drift, drift, jerk wheel to the left), except I was in a minivan and he was passing me on the left. It was clear the driver near me wasn’t paying attention.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I see it as SCE to AUX does. Accident, not intentional. Negligent? Sure. No signal and I am convinced that the fact that the Civic goes to the edge of the lane to the right indicates distracted driving.

      Riding a bike must be seriously scary because I have to say, driving in the age of the smartphone is scary. I see soccer moms in Yukons/Siennas/whatever and teenagers in every manner of car drifting all over the place, and often they fail to signal because with a phone on one ear they don’t have a free hand. That’s my ballpark guess here.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      That’s what I see too, Civic couldn’t/didn’t see biker and hitting him was total accident, but the jerk and brakes say that they realized what happened and decided to flee, and that’s what makes it a crime.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      I’m pretty sure I didn’t see the bike rider switch lanes for the length of the video. Under no pretenses is the driver in the right lane obligated to slow down or move slower in general then the left. He was riding at a relatively safe distance so to say he was passing in the right seems inaccurate.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    I drive a small car and have a long commute and have similar close calls (albeit with much less painful consequences) at least once a week. Lane discipline is just remarkably poor in Southern California.

  • avatar
    Shane Rimmer

    Absolutely the car driver’s fault and I don’t think this was malicious.

    That said, the rider’s lane positioning was terrible and he did not appear to be nearly aware enough of his surroundings. I’m not going to armchair quarterback the guy too much, but I have had many people do the exact same thing to me and I have always noticed as soon as their wheels start to cross the lines and have taken evasive actions to avoid a collision.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Sticking around in someone’s blind spot isn’t smart, but that doesn’t make him at fault for the accident. If you can’t verify the adjacent space is empty, don’t change lanes.

    It is odd how far toward the shoulder the civic moved, but that could just as easily be a distracted driver as malicious intent.

    Also, I’m not a rider so I don’t know what safe options he had once the civic started moving over, but considering how slow that lane change looked I’m surprised the rider wasn’t able to dodge that one. I guess he thought moving over to the shoulder would give him enough space and they would briefly share the lane, and underestimated how far the civic was going to move.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yeah, I don’t see why the rider didn’t just hit his brakes to get the Honda in front of him. Possibly he was distracted and didn’t realize what was going on until too late. It happens, I ended up with a broken leg that way.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    not too hard to deduce the civic was going to make a pass on the right to get around the mountain valley express truck, this is one of the cases where going a bit faster to get out of the blind spot/situation would have been the default choice.

    other choice would have been to slow down to see what the civic does, but nobody slows down on the freeway unless they absolutely have to.

  • avatar
    Garak

    There’s nothing strange about the car’s handling until the accident. While undertaking a heavy vehicle like that it’s completely normal to drive close to the shoulder in order to see the road ahead, as the truck blocks the line of sight from the driver’s seat.

    The reason for fleeing the scene however I can only guess. Drunkenness, no license or insurance, drugs in the car, or just blind panic?

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      If it was unintentional, panic or not understanding the situation would be my guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I wouldn’t be surprised if the Civic driver literally had no idea he’d ran that guy off the road.

      My suspicion is he was changing lanes, heard a loud noise and felt the car rock (thus the correction and brake tap from surprise) … and since he had no idea of a bike to his right, thought it was *road debris* and kept going.

      The guy may have *no idea at all* that he just hit someone and drove off, or only figured it out when looking at the side of the car later.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        no, I don’t buy that. the bike contacted the Civic on its side, that does not sound like road debris. I won’t claim the collision was intentional, but I’d put money on the Civic driver knowing what happened and took off in a panic.

        I take a little solace in the probability that the guy who dinged me on my bike last November is still nervously checking his mailbox every day, hoping not to find a letter from a law firm (or a summons.)

  • avatar
    probert

    Tough scenerio: He’s in a sweeper so he’s sort of set – braking and accelerating are more limited. Also, the lane is ending soon so he’s : A: considering that scemario, B: not thinking someones going to move into a lane that’s ending.

  • avatar
    pbr

    Jack’s being coy. He had an article about motorccyles and the human eye last month:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a28306/why-you-dont-see-motorcycles-on-the-road/

    (I was not paid for that link.)

    My take on the vid above is that the car driver did not see the bike before initiating the lane change and therefore hitting the bike, while not acceptable, wasn’t intentional. The car driver might have realized there was something in the blind spot just before impact, the car jerks back left a little very close to the time of impact. Then the brake lights come on, evidence enough for me that they knew there had been a collision. Leaving the scene is inexcusable.

    Were I riding a bike in that situation (catching a car one lane to my left that is in turn catching a slower-moving vehicle in their lane), I would not have rolled into the car driver’s blind spot at the same rate I had been travelling. Instead, I would throttle up a few mph and reduce time spent beside the car, then resume cruising speed once I was a car-length or three clear.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    The two main rules of motorcycling I formulated for myself many decades ago were:
    1) Conduct yourself as if every other road user is a homicidal maniac who is out to get YOU. (That way mere stupidity seems like a lucky break.)
    2) Use your bike’s speed and maneuverability to stay clear of other vehicles to the maximum extent possible. (If your bike isn’t fast or maneuverable enough, get a better bike.)

    In the video it’s apparent that everybody fails. The Civic driver isn’t paying attention (see rule #1), and then compounds his incompetence with a deliberate felony. The biker is riding and overtaking in the Civic’s blind spot, fails to anticipate the obviously imminent lane change, then doesn’t see it/doesn’t react properly when it happens (rule #2).

    And I could go on.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Hell, I drive my Volvo and my SuperDuty (especially the SuperDuty, since it’s a whale) following rule #1.

      Every other driver is a homicidal/suicidal lunatic until they demonstrate competence. And even then they probably still are.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “(especially the SuperDuty, since it’s a whale) ”

        So I’m not the only person who considers today’s full-sized pickup trucks as Road Whales™.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    I don’t know why the driver didn’t chase the guy down. Do normal people seriously not see red in these situations? There are plenty of people around to help the motorcyclist, but he’s the only guy that can help catch the POS hit-and-runner.

    I don’t think the collision was intentional. But running away certainly was.

  • avatar
    cRacK hEaD aLLeY

    Rule # 1: Ride like you are invisible.
    Rule # 2: While invisible, ride slightly ahead of traffic flow.
    Rule # 3: Treat “Baby On Board!” signs like radioactive waste signage.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The Civic driver is certainly at fault, but I don’t think it’s possible to tell if it was malicious or not. (But certainly driving off was blatantly criminal.)

    That said, if I was the bike rider I would have tried to get out of the blindspot of that car for the same reason that when I’m driving a car I try not to ride right next to 18-wheelers. Arguments about right-or-wrong may be very interesting in the eventual lawsuit, but they won’t do you any good if it’s the executor of your estate making them.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    I blame CAFE. With a nice, big greenhouse the driver would’ve seen the biker.

    Of, course, maybe he’d still have hit him.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      Yes to this. All this emphasis on safety this and safety that in cars these days, but at the same time they are getting harder and harder to see out of. Madness. Why isn’t proper visibility mandated?

      Also, there is no blind spot with properly used/adjusted mirrors. But, I suspect that the vast majority of drivers don’t know how to adjust and use their mirrors properly.

      I think it is possible that the driver heard and/or felt the impact and checked his rear view mirror. He may have not have seen the bike because of the bike is so low and not a highly visible color. And, please, don’t read that as me defending the driver of the car.

      It would be nice if drivers would watch out for and see bikes. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that is wishful thinking.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Horrible.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Way back in the 90s in rec.moto on Usenet there used to be a joke that went like this:

      A: OVLOV
      Q What’s the last thing a rider sees in their rear view mirror before they’re run down.

      That was way before texting & driving; or driving with ear buds totally oblivious to emergency sirens.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        That’s what’s called an OSH moment.

        When the rider starts to say, OH,SH*T – but doesn’t finish before he takes leave of this mortal coil.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    Legally: Civic driver’s fault. Practically: the rider’s fault. He made several mistakes here, mostly due to inexperience or unfamiliarity with the road. The blind spot thing is obvious, as is the slow pass on the left. After a few years on two wheels, an experienced rider would have predicted this situation so precisely that he never would have found himself in this situation in the first place. He would have known that the 2 + 2 lane merge was the reason for the truck in the left lane and would have fallen in behind the Civic, especially since the right lane was going away in the next few hundred yards. And even after the Civic started moving into his lane, he failed to react. He had plenty of shoulder available to avoid it. When I was a less experienced rider this was not an infrequent occurrence; you just move out of the way. Nowadays I just don’t seem to find myself in these situations.
    Oh, and the backpack. Not a good idea either. Makes a dandy fulcrum to hyperextend your back. Luggage should always be firmly attached to the bike, not the rider.

  • avatar
    John

    As a rider with 38 years experience riding with zero accidents (IOW – someone you might want to listen to): fault has no place in discussions of bike vs auto accidents, for the simple reason that it matters not a whit who is a fault – you’re on a bike, you collide with a car, you get hurt.

    My opinion – Civic had no clue he was there. Never, never, never stay in anyone’s blind spot – mistake number one. Always, always, always have a way out, in case of trouble – mistake number two.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      While not disputing your safety points, John, I recommend you view the video again; the biker clearly tried to make way for the car as it moved over, though the car’s driver was far more concerned about clearing the truck and finished his ‘merge’ far more quickly than he started it. The bike was on the white stripe when the car contacted him. I agree that “right and wrong” shouldn’t be the argument, but the fact that the car’s driver KNEW he hit something, braked and then accelerated away puts the car’s driver afoul of the law no matter whose original ‘fault’ it may have been.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        It’s interesting to me to see the differences of opinion here. There isn’t much question about how law enforcement and insurance would view this crash. But I literally don’t know any motorcyclists, except self-taught newbies and the kind who only ride in parade packs, who wouldn’t pick apart the mistakes that put the rider in a situation where he could be hit by the car. Riding motorcycles in today’s highway environment doesn’t make sense unless you have a strategy to mitigate the risks. Many riders deal with this by correctly assessing their abilities to be unequal to the task; they quit riding. But if you are actually tuned into risks, rather than fears, and can leverage the advantages in primary safety that your bike affords you (you have a tiny footprint, are very maneuverable, and much faster than the traffic around you), and you have the attitude that you work on your skills every single time you throw a leg over–your chances of getting hurt are really pretty small.

        Expert riders use expert judgment to avoid using their expert skills. In fact, judgment is your most important skill.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    I wouldn’t blame a physical blind spot on the Honda so much as a psychological one. Most (80%?) drivers see about a 60° angle in front of them. They see the car they are following, and maybe a lane on either side. I’ve almost been run off the road a couple times by people driving along side of me because they just couldn’t be bothered to turn their head slightly.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Viewing the video the Honda is 100% at fault. He never signalled his lane change and he clearly braked immediately after the crash before accelerating away.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The biker seems unsure whether he want to avoid contact. He never brakes, starts to move towards the right shoulder, then part way there, seems to forget what he was doing or loses incentive. The Civic has to do the final push over the line.

    Watching the video, the biker is at least 50% at fault, and should’ve been drug tested.

    Just because you have the ‘right of way’, you still have to put in an effort to avoid contact.

  • avatar
    NickS

    As with most accidents, assigning fault is not a binary choice. Framing it that way is helpful if you want a vibrant discussion with lots of comments and clicks. And seriously, if this happens to anyone once a week, some learning needs to happen.

    I don’t care where you drive, you don’t pass on the right, you always signal the INTENTION not only the maneuver, and check your blind spot before moving across. While you are at it, extend courtesy and caution to those more handicapped, or vulnerable, i.e. big rigs riders, etc. If you don’t have any distractions, it’s super easy.

    One thing is clear, the civic driver is typically horrible, but it doesn’t seem that bad because all these shortcuts (not signaling, etc) have become “the norm”. That doesn’t make them less illegal or dangerous though. The final act is that he drives off. So he is an a-hole.

    When you don’t have situational awareness, you follow every mistake with more mistakes. Pilots and professional drivers know this very well. Drivers are by definition amateurs but don’t understand that their lack of training cause them to take shortcuts that no pro would, at least without appreciating the risks.

  • avatar

    Checking in a little late but I’m firmly in the group that believes this was an avoidable accident.

    From my perspective, the Civic’s pass was slow and deliberate – but the driver’s focus was on the semi, not the bike. I don’t believe the driver even saw the bike until he made the initial contact or heard the horn at the last second. That’s why we see that little whip at the end, he didn’t even know where the contact was coming from. His biggest mistake was not stopping.

    But the motorcyclist should have read the situation well in advance. This didn’t even need to be a close call. When the Civic starts to move, all the rider needed to do is roll off the throttle a little and he could have prevented the situation. Then, as the situation progressed, he could have braked to avoid contact and then, finally, moved over onto the shoulder.

    Although the fault here is clearly on the part of the Civic, the motorcyclist should have been looking out for his own safety, too. He wasn’t and, even if the driver of the Civic is caught and eventually pays out in cash, the motorcyclist pays an immediate price in flesh and blood. That’s never a good thing.

    Back when I moderated the New Riders’ Forum on Sportbike.net my mantra was, “If a car wants your lane, get out of the way and let them have it.” Having an escape route planned is an important part of riding.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Car is at fault because he fled. Before that? he was still at fault, but it looked to me as if these a-holes both were aggressively attempting to ensure the other had to wait for them to go first. I see the Honda and the bike both accelerating in an attempt to get there first. I just can’t believe the biker … I must be seeing it wrong, no way he stubbornly holds his line in an attempt to block a car…

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Tardy to the party here but the car fled – they’ve committed a crime.

    They clearly know they hit SOMETHING because at the point of impact you can see the Honda slow down significantly, the nose dives, and the brake lights come on – they then drive off.

    Did they “know” the cyclist was there – open for debate, definitely in the blind spot but you can’t convince me for one second they were aware that they hit something, and then elected to keep driving.

    They’re a dirt bag.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Ouch .

    I’m sitting here in pain as always because of a fatal Moto collision I just barely survived .

    The Civic driver is obviously 1,000 % at fault but as mentioned , the wise and prudent Motocyclist always knows the blind spot is _DEATH_ waiting for you .

    I hope the Rider survives (in the video he gets beat up but sits up so isn’t paralyzed etc.) and I hope the boob in the Civic gets caught too .

    FWIW , I was waiting for a red light when I was run over from behind , crippling me for life .

    I still ride , not as much as I’d like though .

    My Mantra for 45 + year of riding ” ride SCARED ~ it’s a good way to stay alive ” .

    Yes , I ride faster than I probably should but usually only when I know the road ahead is empty .

    A good topic here ~ I took two of my Teenage Foster boys to Pink’s in Hollyweird to to – day , as we were standing in line I kept looking at the various Motos zizzing by and one of the boys said ” I really love Motos and want to learn to ride ” .

    So I told him ” find out about MSF ‘ Iron Horse ‘ training and if you’re allowed to go , I will pay for it ” .

    I paid for my Son to go decades ago and he’s a far better and faster rider than I ever was or could be ~ he races competitively .

    That I know of , he’s never had a get off in traffic .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Old_WRX

    In a situation like this I check my mirrors and then brake hard. Braking gently will take care of the inattentive or unobservant driver, but braking hard also takes care of malevolent drivers.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I have had this exact thing happen to me twice. The only difference is I was in a first gen Durango so it isn’t a size issue. The second time it happened I was on the horn for 12-15 seconds as they were forcing me onto the shoulder and neither person in the car looked over to see who was honking at them. People are just oblivious that there are others on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Agreed. We witnessed a video of this from an 18-wheeler’s point of view not all that long ago as a sedan tried to force itself in front of that big truck and even after contact continued to try.

  • avatar

    As a 47 year old guy that has ridden motorcycles for 25 years and commutes 120 miles a day for the past 14 years- my 2cents-

    Honda Civic-
    Oh crap man I want to be home NOW, Fckin Tractor Trailer is freaking blocking my merge lane- damn Wednesday, hate Wednesday I wish it was Friday. Gonna pass this bastard and swing around this giant turd semi- holy CRAP a day glow ball just smashed into my car!!! It was attached to a man on a motorcycle- oh shit, he looks dead – I’m Outta HERE!!!

    Motorcyclist-
    Herp Derp I am following the law, in my lane, got my bright helmet. Hey that guy sees me, whoa maybe not, I am staring right at him, surely he won’t BAM, ooooooh look the sky… what day is it?

    Driver didn’t look, rider didn’t observe the threat and should have swerved and accelerated out of the situation. Instead he stared at it, braked and totally forgot the first rule of riding on the street. THEY ARE ALL OUT TO KILL YOU. The shit happens- use your size, speed, braking, acceleration advantage to get out of the way. Even if you are dead right, you will still be dead.

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