Morning Links: Insurance owes squat if a hit-and-run driver misses, more on SB 986, and more kindhearted cops

Bike lawyer and BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen uncovers an insurance loophole that victimizes hit-and-run victims a second time.

In a piece he penned for a law journal, Cohen points out that insurance companies aren’t required to pay for hit-and-run crashes caused by drivers if the car doesn’t actually make contact with the victim.

He illustrates it with the story of a bike rider who was forced into a stopped car by an inattentive driver.

The client pulled into the number two lane behind the last car stopped. He intended to pass the bus and vehicles stopped behind it in the number one lane once the traffic light turned green. The light turned green. Suddenly the client heard a car accelerate toward him from behind. The driver behind him did not notice him and was bearing down on him. The driver’s car came within inches of the client. The client took his last clear chance and veered back into the lane to his right. He got injured when he crashed into the stopped car to his right.

The driver of the car that caused the crash recognized he was at fault. He pulled over, took out his driver’s license and insurance card, and waited. An ambulance came and took the client away. The police never came. The offending driver left the scene, rendering the case a hit and run. But not exactly: there was no hit. It was a near-miss and run.

The victim’s insurance company denied his claim under the uninsured motored coverage on his policy, which requires actual physical contact — despite the state’s three-foot passing law.

Cohen says the easy and obvious solution is to remove the physical contact clause from the state’s uninsured motorist statute, saying it places an undue burden on vulnerable users.

Sounds right to me.

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While we’re on the subject of bad laws, a lawyer writing for the prestigious National Law Review warns that careless wording in California’s proposed SB 986 could put pedestrians at risk if drivers are allowed to legally roll through red lights to make right turns. CiclaValley takes up the subject, as well.

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More kindhearted cops.

LA County sheriff’s deputies team up to replace a bike stolen from a 41-year old San Dimas man with Down’s Syndrome. Thanks to Megan Lynch for the heads-up.

Minneapolis police arrange for a new bike for a ten-year old boy whose bicycle was stolen by an older kid who punched him in the face.

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Spoiler alert: We’re going to talk about the men’s and women’s road races from the Rio Olympics. So if you still have them on your DVR or waiting to download, skip down to the next section.

Broken-hearted American Mara Abbott just missed a medal as she was caught by three riders within sight of the finish line, as Holland’s Anna van der Breggen took gold.

Abbott had been riding with Annemiek van Vleuten when the Dutch rider suffered a horrific crash; as of Sunday night, van Vleuten was in intensive care with a fractured spine, though Dutch officials said she was okay and conscious.

Belgian cyclist Greg van Avermaet took the gold in the men’s race after leaders Vincenzo Nibali and Sergio Henao hit the pavement less than seven and a half miles from the finish line on the road course’s crappy pavement.

Australian Ritchie Porte is out of the time trial after breaking his shoulder in Saturday’s race, while Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali will have surgery for a broken collarbone. Rwandan team captain Adrien Niyonshuti failed to finish, blaming his bike for the early exit.

Meanwhile, American Andrew Talansky entered the final stage of the Tour of Utah with the lead, but ended up losing the race to Aussie Lachlan Morton.

As Deadspin says, cycling is cruel.

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Local

After years of promises, Wilshire Blvd finally gets new pavement and buffered bike lanes through the Condo Canyon area formerly known as “the gauntlet” for its speeding cars and bad pavement, connecting with the existing one whole block of bike lanes east of Beverly Glen. Odd that we’re told that Westwood Blvd has too much traffic and too many buses for bike lanes, while Wilshire gets bike lanes despite having far more of both.

Fallen cyclist and music teacher Rod Bennett lives on in his music at Santa Clarita’s LA SummerFest, even if no one showed up to listen.

Long Beach plans for greater density, sidewalks and bike lanes along an industrial stretch of PCH.

An 18-year old Long Beach man could be 26 before he rides a bike again after using his in a string of cellphone thefts.

 

State

A Redlands couple are halfway through a 10,000 mile tandem ride around the US.

After a 21-year old Chico woman was killed riding her bike, her parents find a bucket list in her bedroom and decide to live it out for her.

 

National

Bicycling talks with President Obama’s bike commuting chief of staff.

Missed this one last week, as CNN says distracted driving goes way beyond mere texting. Thanks to Victor Bank for the link.

A competitor in the Boulder CO Ironman was killed when she was struck by a car during the bicycling portion of the race. The course was not closed to motor vehicles, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look up and see there’s a damn race going on. Thanks to Penny Sputh for the tip.

A Denver bike cop credits his helmet with saving his life when he was run down by a driver who was having a seizure nearly two years ago; the driver got six years in a halfway house for failing to disclose his condition when applying for a driver’s license.

One of the benefits of putting cops on bikes is their ability to respond quickly, as demonstrated by the El Paso bike cops who arrested a bank robber while he was still at the teller window.

Cyclists ride outside the White House to “bike around the bomb” on the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing; they were joined by people riding around the Sepulveda basin here in LA.

 

International

An Edmonton, Canada bike rider accepts an apology from the driver who got out of his car to hurl a racial slur. Somehow, we’re all expected to believe the man was deeply remorseful, and not just trying to prove to the world he’s not really a racist after the video went viral. Not to mention avoid prosecution.

Caught on video: A London cyclist somehow manages to ignore the driver hurling obscenity-laced abuse at him.

Caught on video too: Another London bike rider learns the hard way not to splash water in the face of a driver he was arguing with, when the driver swerves into him and forces him into oncoming traffic. Similar to my greatest lesson, which was never flip off the driver behind you. For reasons which should be painfully obvious, and for which I still have the scars.

One Direction’s Harry Styles is one of us, as he takes to the streets of London on a classic Raleigh tri bike.

An Indian writer says bike commuting hasn’t caught on because owning a car is a symbol of moving from poverty into the middle class in the developing country.

An Israeli reporter asks the US State Department if Israel should pay a Palestinian girl $100 for the bicycle that border guards took from her and tossed into the bushes. Seriously, is this even a question? Just buy the girl a new bike, already.

Aussie motorcyclists are beating traffic by illegally using suburban bike paths, putting bicyclists and pedestrians at risk.

An Australian paper says new studies suggest being visible is less important than whether drivers are actively looking for people on bikes, giving more support to the safety in numbers theory.

Once again, police crack down on the victims, as Hong Kong police respond to recent bicycling deaths by chasing down law breaking bike riders.

 

Finally…

If you’re going to get high and shitfaced drunk, try not to stop your bicycle in the middle of a traffic lane in front of a school bus. Pro cyclists may not have better legs than you do, just better brains.

And no, you can’t actually live tweet an Olympic road race while you’re competing in it.

 

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