I was involved in a bike / car accident this past weekend. I was travelling along a single lane highway and saw a parked vehicle approx 200 yrds in front of me right up against the right hand side curb (I was the motorbike rider), with no signal or brake lights illuminated.
The vehicle did not move between the time I first saw it and approached it. Assuming it was a parked vehicle, I slowed to 20mph, checked it was clear to pass and was moving over when the vehicle decided to perform a u turn as I was approx 30 ft away (with no signal). I had no time to advoid the vehicle, hitting in on the driver side door / window (my helmet smashed their window). I was relatively unharmed (aside from lacerations / cuts / bruises) as was the other driver (minor cuts from window glass).
I received a citation for driving on the wrong side of the road. My argument with the officer (as he presented the citation to me in the ER) was that the vehicle was parked. Given the width of my bike (it is a 3 wheel CAN -AM), I had no choice but to move over into the other lane in order to safely pass (there was no oncoming traffic). There were double yellow lines on the road.
Unfortunately there were no witnesses. The other driver is now saying they were slowing down to make a U-turn which is not true (no brake lights or signals used plus it remained in the parked position between the time of me first seeing it and reaching it). Immediately after I hit the ground, I got up and saw the driver screaming their apologies but with a phone turned on in their hand...which makes me think that they were also on the phone at the moment of impact (there was not enough time to have the collision and then reach into a purse or similar to dial a number). Naturally, again without witnesses, it is my word against theirs.
Should I plan to fight the citation? I am frustrated that I was given a citation yet it appears the other driver was not. I asked the officer to explain what else could I have done but he could not provide an answer aside from saying as a rider, I have to predict the unpredictable and take necessary action....my view is that I did..I saw the parked vehicle, slowed down, checked it was safe to pass and attempted to do so. I could not have predicted they would decide to perform such a manouver (in such a strangle location) without warning / indicating their intentions. And also, why no citation for failing to use mirrors etc?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I believe that this is a citation you could beat in Court, given the fact that the other side was performing a U Turn in the middle of the road (assuming he was on the wrong side as well). It sounds like the officer just felt like issuing a citation to someone, and chose you. You also need to let your own insurance company know what is going on, as the other driver's insurance company may use the citation as a way to say that you are responsible and they don't have to pay for any damages to your vehicle. They may also make a claim against your insurance for any damage to the other driver's vehicle. This is something that they may already be in the process of attempting to do, so make sure to call your own insurance company asap, and fight the citation.
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