Bike accident in San Francisco
July 12, 2018 8:21 AM   Subscribe

While biking yesterday, someone opened their car door in front of me, and I hit it. I'm not sure how to proceed, or what my goal should be in following up on this. You are not my lawyer...

Last night, I left work and was biking in the green bike lane on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. A car, with an Uber sticker, was stopped, in traffic, to the left of the bike lane. Just as I was passing, the passenger opened the right side door, and I caught the edge of the door with my left arm and thigh. Somehow, I managed to stop and unclip without flipping over or falling. The passenger came up and asked if I was OK. I said yeah. She told me that she didn't even look before opening the door. I asked her to please be more careful in the future. During this whole time, the Uber driver never acknowledged that any of this was happening. Never got out of the car or checked if I was ok. I was kind of pissed, but I was just a little sore, so I continued my ride.

I use a camera on my bike, just in case something like this ever happens, so I got it all on video, including the car license plate, the Uber sticker, the passenger saying they didn't look when opening the door. I didn't get any faces, because it's mounted on my handlebars.

By the time I got home an hour later, I had a nice sized goose egg on my left thigh. I have a another on my elbow. My leg and arm are pretty sore today, and my elbow is hurting. I also keep getting some tingling down my arm.

My wife wants me to file a police report, and notify Uber that I'm filing a police report. The person that opened the door made a mistake. Sure, it was a big mistake, and it legitimately could have caused serious harm, or even killed me. But it was still a mistake; shit happens. I'm more pissed at the Uber driver, because he let the passenger get out in a place that was obviously not OK to get out. But, I left the scene, and didn't get anyone's info, because I thought I was fine.

I've had so many near incidents in the 3 years that I've been biking in San Francisco. I'm an agile rider, and have been lucky in that I've been REALLY good about ducking and dodging bad drivers, pedestrians, other cyclists, etc. This one has me thinking it may be time to stop riding, because I'm pretty freaked out about how completely unavoidable this was.

So, what do I do here? My pain IS getting worse, sure. But I'm not in agony. Should I file a police report? Is it too late to file a report? This happened 14 hours ago. Should I contact Uber?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
You might need physical therapy, and if it was an accident caused by someone else your medical insurance might be jerky about it. Is calling your insurance company and asking them what you'd need to be covered a possibility?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:28 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]

I’ll let more knowledgeable people answer most of your questions, but I know it’s not too late to file a police report.
posted by greermahoney at 8:29 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]

(Neither American, nor cyclist) You should absolutely file a report. ASAP.
posted by pompomtom at 8:30 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]

File a police report; it's not too late. Contact Uber. I don't know about the laws in SF, but it may be against your city's chauffeur rules and regs to drop off a passenger anywhere other than curbside. (It used to be here in Chicago until a 2016 rule change, unfortunately.)
posted by misskaz at 8:30 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]

Ughhhh that sucks I'm so sorry! This is such a nightmare of mine - I see ride-share cars pulled over inappropriately all the time, they're definitely the most unpredictable drivers on the road. It super sucks that you're going through this!

I'd definitely file a police report. Call the SFPD non-emergency line and they can advise.

Then contact Uber - this definitely counts as an "accident" - and let them know the police report number.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 8:30 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]

Oh and since a car is involved, you can get your auto insurance involved.

Also want to add that your anger and the seriousness of this situation is completely justified. As you said, this outcome could have easily been much worse, not to mention you were (no doubt about it) hit and the Uber driver is at fault and should be held responsible.
posted by blueberrypuffin at 8:36 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]

SF bike coalition has a Crash Checklist here
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:40 AM on July 12 [17 favorites]

Absolutely file, for all the potential personal injury reasons covered above - and, if nothing else happens out of this, at least the crash caused by a driver letting passengers out into the bike lane can get counted in the statistics, and it gives local bike advocacy groups more power to pressure the City (and also the Port of San Francisco) to do something about it al-goddamn-ready.

I don't know if you heard about the pedicab driver who got hit-and-run on the Embarcadero a week or so ago, just died of his injuries in the last 48 hours. And another cyclist got hit by a car on the Embarcadero the same day. It's a high-injury corridor that's demanded a separated cycle lane for years but nothing's been done about it; your crash can help as long as it's counted. SF Bike even put out a statement about the Embarcadero the day before the Uber passenger doored you, and they've got a specific newsletter for their campaign for separated bike lanes on the Embarcadero if you're interested.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 9:29 AM on July 12 [17 favorites]

File a police report, contact Uber, and tell your car insurance company (if you have any). Then go see your doctor as usual. Your health insurance company will probably send you additional paperwork as part of the subrogation process so they can get their money back if the other person is deemed at fault.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:55 AM on July 12

The person that opened the door made a mistake. Sure, it was a big mistake, and it legitimately could have caused serious harm, or even killed me. But it was still a mistake; shit happens.

I work in risk management, and this is a common fallacy when there's been a near-miss. The person who opened the car door without looking acted recklessly and carelessly. You were injured as a result and could have been killed. It's lucky that you weren't, but that luck doesn't change the fact that opening a car door without looking, especially when you're next to a bike lane, is dangerous.

Please report it.
posted by Lexica at 10:03 AM on July 12 [13 favorites]

I got doored in NYC 9 years ago, broke my collarbone, and never pursued damages against the taxi driver. It is to my great regret that I did not do this.

Get a medical report from a doctor post-haste, file a police report, talk to a lawyer, and sue Uber. They need to stop condoning their drivers doing these dangerous practices. I bike to work every day in SF, along the Embarcadero, and you will be helping all of us who drive in a city that's being dragged kicking and screaming into having safe cycling infrastructure.
posted by kdar at 10:05 AM on July 12 [9 favorites]

Not only that, the Dutch (big bike users) have socially engineered a solution to dooring, its called the Dutch Reach

If Uber actually gave a fuck (and IF is doing a ton of work in this statement) they could, you know, actively promote safety measures via their massive platform. Instead im sure theyll say that theyre not responsible for the independent contractor driver who in turn is not responsible for his passenger.

If by any miracle they are actually receptive, please suggest what i have posed as a ridiculous throw away, you never know i guess?
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:05 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]

The person who opened the car door without looking acted recklessly and carelessly. You were injured as a result and could have been killed. It's lucky that you weren't, but that luck doesn't change the fact that opening a car door without looking, especially when you're next to a bike lane, is dangerous.
And I will add that the driver acted negligently in allowing their passenger to get out of the vehicle in a bicycle lane. You are absolutely in the right if you choose to pursue damages.

I will butt out now.
posted by kdar at 10:09 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]

Ugh. I just talked to SFPD and they told me that, before I file a report, I need to get a doctor's report. So I'm going to go to urgent care to get checked out. They also said I have to come in to the station. I live in East Bay, and can't easily get in to the city today. So I have to go tomorrow. Argh.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:29 AM on July 12

I'm a bay cyclist and I think you should definitely file police reports and make a fuss about it.

I am so tired of these ride share drivers, every single close call I have these days is with some oblivious Uber-stickered car doing something that is blatantly not allowed. It's as if having an Uber sticker means the rules don't apply and apparently the police agree? Why are these people allowed to drive like assholes and park wherever they please and block traffic just because they installed an app? Dooring gets people killed, you are really lucky.

You have the receipts on camera, it's unfortunate that as cyclists we have to advocate for ourselves, but I would do it. Contact the Bike Coalition as well I bet they will be very interested in helping you.
posted by bradbane at 1:50 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]

PS no one here mentioned it but dooring is a specific offense in San Francisco. This would make them liable for your injuries according to the bike lawyer guy.
posted by bradbane at 6:50 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]

IIRC here in DC dooring is *automatically* the motorist's fault, which appears to be the case in SF as well. Ride-hailing drivers are the worst, and Ubers are the worst of those.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:50 PM on July 12

Thanks for all of the advice. I went to the doctor and got a letter describing my injuries (sprained elbow, sprained hip, back and neck spasms). SFPD said I have to file the report in-person; I'll be doing that tomorrow morning. I'll be calling my auto insurance company in the morning as well.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:21 PM on July 12 [6 favorites]

SFPD was really helpful, when I went in-person. The report was taken. I've contacted my auto insurance company. Now I have people telling me that I should contact a personal injury attorney.

I've also been contacted by someone from San Francisco City Hall, who wants to discuss the issue with me.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:13 PM on July 13 [6 favorites]

« Older I gave UPS the wrong address. Now what?   |   Skittish stray cat is injured. We love him. Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments