Stupid driver tricks, Ohio edition — cyclist hit by sidewalk driver

I’m on the run today, so no time for a full update.

But I couldn’t let the morning go without sharing this story from Ohio bike lawyer Steven Magas.

We’d been trading a few emails about a case he’s working on, and the importance of video evidence in contradicting the usual knee-jerk blame that seems to fall on any cyclist involved in a traffic collision these days. And how security cameras, which seem to be just about everywhere these days, can often catch the incident as it unfolds.

I know.

The idea of me offering advice to an expert attorney like Steve is like telling the Pope how to avoid callouses on his knees.

Especially when my simple suggestion to look for security footage from nearby businesses results in a story like this.

It seems one of his clients had an odd and unexpected collision as he was riding awhile back.

The cyclist, an airline pilot, came up a hill and made right turn around a blind corner; his view of the street he was turning onto was blocked by a small business on the corner to the right until he was well into the intersection.

The moment of impact, capture by security cam.

Then out of nowhere, he was hit by a car, with no idea how the collision occurred or where the car came from.

Naturally, the driver screamed at the rider for hitting his car, even though the cyclist had made his turn on a green light and should have had the right-of-way.

So in an attempt to understand what had happened, he went back to the site of the collision later to take a look around. And just happened to notice a security camera on a building facing the intersection.

He talked to the building owner, and got a copy of the video footage for the time of his collision.

And yes, it had captured the full thing.

Car parked on the sidewalk, facing the wrong way, just prior to pulling out and hitting the cyclist.

Including the moments just prior to the collision, showing the driver illegally parked on the sidewalk — on the wrong side of the street, no less — hidden from view by the building to his right.

Yes, you read that right.

He was parked on the sidewalk, facing oncoming traffic.

And just as cyclist rounded the corner, the driver pulled out into the oncoming traffic lane, on the wrong side of the road and against the light, slamming into the bike rider with no warning.

So naturally, he insisted the rider was at fault. Despite, as Steve points out, a) illegally parking on the sidewalk, b) illegally parking facing traffic, c) illegally pulling out into the intersection against the light d) illegally entering traffic on the wrong side of the road.

But other than that, he didn’t do a damn thing wrong.

Okay, except failing to observe the right-of-way, and making sure the way was clear before pulling out.

Oh, and parking next to a fire hydrant.

At least, that’s the approach his insurance company seems to be taking, denying the claim despite the video footage proving their client was at fault.


I’m not always the world’s biggest fan of lawyers.

But I thank God we have people like Steven Magas, and the other bike lawyers listed over there on the right, to fight for our rights when logic and the law seem to go out the window.


Don’t forget tonight’s meeting to discuss improving safety on the east end of PCH in Malibu. I’m not sure yet if my schedule will allow me to be there, but if you ride PCH — or would like to, if it was safer — this meeting matters.

And I’ve received word from Caltrans that PCH will be open to cyclists this weekend, though subject to delays, despite lane closures on Saturday and Sunday for the Nautica Malibu Triathlon.


  1. I find it really hard to believe a jury wouldn’t find this driver guilty. It could very easily been another car that he hit.

  2. Gary B says:

    I’d like to know who the insurance company is as my vehicle policy is scheduled to renew in a few days.

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