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Old 14.05.2011, 21:45
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Bike Accident, French Driver

Hi everyone,

I had an accident today and need some advice please.
I was riding my brand new bike here in Basel, and while making a left turn my rear wheel got stuck in a tram line. Naturally I fell off but I managed to catch myself, but while I was still on the ground a car ran into me.

Fortunately I wasn't hurt much, still a bit sore in places but nothing worth complaining about. My bike however is a different story - one of the peddles sneered in half, the chain jumped off both gear hubs, the rear derailleur is bashed up a bit and the front mud guard is also bent out of shape.
I got the name, address, phone number and car registration number of the driver who hit me, after some persuading and with the help of some passers by. I've also got the contact details of one of them as a witness.

I'm unsure what the correct procedure for dealing with this is. I only got the bike on Thursday evening and, umm... for a change it wasn't a cheap one! So I don't want to get lumped with a big repair bill. Also the driver and car were French and I don't speak any French, just to complicate things.

What's the correct/normal way to handle this sort of thing in Switzerland please? I called my insurance company and they advised me to call the drivers insurance, however I've got no clue how to find out their insurance details.
So should I be going to the police about this?

Thanks for any help anyone can offer
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Last edited by Butters; 14.05.2011 at 23:43.
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Old 14.05.2011, 21:49
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

The police would be the first contact, I would imagine. They will then advise on what happens next. Take the info about the French driver and the witness.

You weren't hurt but it was still a road accident.
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Old 14.05.2011, 22:03
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

If you got caught in a tram track and were flung off your bike, are you sure it was the car driver's fault for all the damage to it? I guess the driver may argue that, anyway.
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Old 14.05.2011, 22:25
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

I can't add much but am really glad that you are not badly hurt.....
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Old 14.05.2011, 22:25
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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If you got caught in a tram track and were flung off your bike, are you sure it was the car driver's fault for all the damage to it? I guess the driver may argue that, anyway.
According to the witness, the driver had gotten much too close to me as I was turning (I had checked behind me before I signalled to turn, and she was a good distance away at that point). I'd say the fact she wasn't able to stop in time when I fell indicates she was either too close or going too fast as well.

Back in the UK I was taught that as a driver you're responsible for maintaining a "safe" distance behind the vehicle in front of you, and that means if they come to a sudden stop you should be able to stop without hitting them! I'm assuming the same basic principle exists here as well
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Old 14.05.2011, 22:27
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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The police would be the first contact, I would imagine. They will then advise on what happens next. Take the info about the French driver and the witness.

You weren't hurt but it was still a road accident.
Thanks Sandgrounder, I'll certainly pop round the police station first thing Monday. Is there any advice you (or anyone else) can offer on what to expect please?
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Old 14.05.2011, 23:14
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

Oh Butters I am glad you are doing OK hopefully you will solve this situation soon enough. Sorry I have no advice Best wishes!
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Old 15.05.2011, 04:20
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

wouldnt it be regular car insurance?
et your bike in for a repair ESTIMATE , dont get it repaired just yet.
call the people and see if they want to pay out of pocket to keep insurance down or if they would like to pass it on to insurance.....

should be the end of it
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Old 15.05.2011, 08:40
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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wouldnt it be regular car insurance?
et your bike in for a repair ESTIMATE , dont get it repaired just yet.
call the people and see if they want to pay out of pocket to keep insurance down or if they would like to pass it on to insurance.....

should be the end of it
Don't insurance companies also like to see some kind of police report if the claim is involving an accident (especially with a cyclist)? The car is registered in France so if the claim is going cross-border I would be making an extra special effort to get as much "officialdom" together to reinforce the claim. Getting a bike fixed here is not a cheap job.
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Old 15.05.2011, 11:06
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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.... one of the peddles sneered in half, the chain jumped off both gear hubs, the rear derailleur is bashed up a bit and the front mud guard is also bent out of shape.....
Good you are ok. I've been slung off by a tram line, it's not pleasant.

Sounds like all you need are new peddles and possibly a new derailleur?
That could be CHF100 or CHF500 depending on the spec (let us know what gearset in fact).
You should get the written estimate etc but then get it repaired yourself. I don't think you'll get anywhere with the insurance especially as proving liability could be difficult.
Perhaps calling the driver with the quote and saying you won't take the matter any further if they cough up may work, but you did fall in front of her and cause the accident yourself.
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Old 15.05.2011, 12:57
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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Good you are ok. I've been slung off by a tram line, it's not pleasant.

Sounds like all you need are new peddles and possibly a new derailleur?
That could be CHF100 or CHF500 depending on the spec (let us know what gearset in fact).
You should get the written estimate etc but then get it repaired yourself. I don't think you'll get anywhere with the insurance especially as proving liability could be difficult.
Perhaps calling the driver with the quote and saying you won't take the matter any further if they cough up may work, but you did fall in front of her and cause the accident yourself.
Thanks for the advice, I think I'd have a good case seen as I have a witness who says she was too close to me. Also I want actually lying in the road when she hit me I think, I'd managed to catch myself and was propped up on my right arm as best I recall, so all of the damage to the bike is the result of being pushed along the road after she hit me.

The gear set is a Shimano Deore XT, which I suspect is going to be quite pricey if it needs replacing!

I tried to drop by the local police station today but they're shut, so my plan at the minute is to go to the shop I bought the bike from first thing tomorrow and get a repair quote. If it's a lot I'll go to the police station, which rather handily is across the road, and ask for advice on the best way to handle this.

If anyone has any other advice or past experience with sort of thing I'd still be very grateful for it though
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Old 15.05.2011, 13:13
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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Don't insurance companies also like to see some kind of police report if the claim is involving an accident (especially with a cyclist)? The car is registered in France so if the claim is going cross-border I would be making an extra special effort to get as much "officialdom" together to reinforce the claim. Getting a bike fixed here is not a cheap job.
Firstly glad you weren't too hurt!!!

Above is correct and a great point made. The Police is the first port of call before insurance. It is still a road traffic accident if the car hit you or the bike, no matter if they caused the fall or not, ( you can't just go round mowing people over or bashing into "stationary" vehicles if they happen to be in the street ) thus a proper report is advised. Ideally you should have got the police to attend the scene but it's good you have a witness. Obviously not much more can be advised at this time as no-one else was in attendance, the police should suggest the next action. I take it you have your bike "ticket" paid up?
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Old 15.05.2011, 13:22
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

Oh no I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm glad you're not seriously injured though.

A couple of months ago I was in an accident.. It's very different compared to your but here's what happened:

-The police were at the scene within a few minutes and a report was made.
-I informed my insurance company

That's all really. My insurance covered the costs. It all went very smoothly.

I hope the same happens for you.
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Old 15.05.2011, 13:26
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

In France, when a car is involved in an accident, the parties involved generally sign an accident report ("constat a l'amiable"). I assume that the driver did not complete one with you?

If one of the drivers refuses to complete it, the other party can still send it back to his/her insurance - I think there's a delay of 5 days. Here's a French/English version of it - it might provide you with the vocabulary you need when you get in touch with the driver to ask about their insurance details. If they refuse to give it to you, tell them you will be sending the constat to your insurance. Usually, it makes people react (they'd rather have their insurance learn about an accident from them than from another insurance company!): http://constat-amiable.croquisaccide...-Report_EN.php

Also make a list of the parts that might need to be replaced, take photos, etc. If you have pictures from before the accident, they will be useful as well, especially if you've only had the bike for a few days!

Good luck!
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Old 15.05.2011, 13:32
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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Thanks Sandgrounder, I'll certainly pop round the police station first thing Monday. Is there any advice you (or anyone else) can offer on what to expect please?
You should expect a fine from the Police (Chf400) for having an accident (PM Hashbrown) he has had a recent experience with a very similar thing (unassisted fall on a tram track) so maybe do a bit more checking before you call the police, the price you pay for their assistance might be high. I am sorry for you and the bike but if repair costs are not too much I would try and squeeze a bit out of the driver without hassling insurance. Bike repairs at a shop will cost you dearly, if you can live with a few scratches maybe someone here might help you with the mechanical bits. Good luck let us know how you get on.
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Old 15.05.2011, 14:00
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

Lots of good advice above re: documentation. I had a similar accident recently, here's what I learned.

Any 2 party accident requires a EU accident report (http://www.unfallskizze.de/Europaeis...allbericht.php) to give to the insurance companies. They then fight about whose fault it was and eventually pay compensation. If there were injuries involved, the police should make a report.

After telephoning the insurance companies and giving them copies of all this paperwork, they should eventually sort it out. They might have to send an expert to view the damages and make an estimate, and you might have to send in photos and/or doctor's visit proofs.
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Old 15.05.2011, 14:29
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

Interesting thread.

All I know about auto accidents here is that ALL drivers carry a set of documents in the cubby - to fill out in the case of an accident (no matter how small, even just a bump in the supermarket grounds) .... and the Polizei phone number, to call them to view the accident if a person was injured, no matter how slightly.

(Even hitting an animal on the streets is reportable to the police. You have to tell them where the animal is so they see to discarding of its remains)

Even though you bike is badly damaged, YOU were involved in being hit by a negligent driver. And how do you know you will never suffer any after effects in the future caused by that driver?

There is also a time limit to report an accident .... 24hrs? ..or 48? I dunno, but I would not dally, if I were you. Just call the mobile police ..... the one`s who would normally respond to road accident in your area.
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Old 16.05.2011, 08:45
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the advice and concern. I thought I'd do a bit of semi-live blogging here a post updates, in case it's of use to anyone else in the future.

Ive just dropped the bike of at the shop where I bought it for an estimate on the repair costs. On the way I noticed that the back wheel's also bent a bit, alhough at first glance the mechanic didn't think the damage was too bad overall. They'll be letting me know the costs tomorrow.

I also asked for some pointers on how to handle this from them as well, figuring they'd likely seens this type of accident before. They suggested asking the driver to pay directly first, rather than going straight to the police. Thennof the driver doesn't pay up immediately, to then get the police involved. I asked about time limits for reporting accidents, and as far as they knew there isn't one (within reason, I guess).

So, more to follow soon I guess!
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Old 20.05.2011, 19:13
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

OK, so I got my bike repaired and picked it up yesterday. It turned out to be not too pricey after all - 174.80 CHF!
Big recommendation for Cenci Velo on Clarastrasse, they even repaired the worst of the scuffs and scrapes in the paint work.

A French speaking friend eventually managed to get hold of the driver, relay the price and asked if they wanted to just pay cash or go for insurance (we were playing hard ball a bit). She's saying that because her car was damaged a bit - as she was pushing me and bike down the road (I have a very clear memory of a chunk of the lower bumper disappearing in front of my eyes as my bike and feet disappeared under the car), she's not willing to pay anything. Seems she feels no responsibility at all, and says she wasn't going too fast or too close to me, and so it's my fault she ran into me...

So it seems I can either take this to the police, or forget the whole thing and leave it be.
I'm very undecided about what to do at the moment, so I'd be very interested to hear people's opinions please. Is it worth getting die Polizei involved?
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Old 20.05.2011, 19:23
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Re: Bike Accident, French Driver

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OK, so I got my bike repaired and picked it up yesterday. It turned out to be not too pricey after all - 174.80 CHF!
Big recommendation for Cenci Velo on Clarastrasse, they even repaired the worst of the scuffs and scrapes in the paint work.

A French speaking friend eventually managed to get hold of the driver, relay the price and asked if they wanted to just pay cash or go for insurance (we were playing hard ball a bit). She's saying that because her car was damaged a bit - as she was pushing me and bike down the road (I have a very clear memory of a chunk of the lower bumper disappearing in front of my eyes as my bike and feet disappeared under the car), she's not willing to pay anything. Seems she feels no responsibility at all, and says she wasn't going too fast or too close to me, and so it's my fault she ran into me...

So it seems I can either take this to the police, or forget the whole thing and leave it be.
I'm very undecided about what to do at the moment, so I'd be very interested to hear people's opinions please. Is it worth getting die Polizei involved?
Glad you and bike are getting back to normal.
Regarding your options, I think now the woman is back on home turf, she's going to play hardball.
The sad thing is you're out of pocket - fortunately, not by a vast sum - but to recover this could maybe turn out to be hassle, time and more expense.
It may also be difficult for the police to do much, now, after the fact.

Probably the moral of your unfortunate incident, is, under similar circumstances, if it is believed the other party may be at fault, get the police to attend the scene at the time, and then you (one) have a better platform to recover any losses and costs.
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