This past month has resulted in at least two car-bicycle collisions, each with its own tragic consequence. Several weeks ago, Boise Police Officer Chris Cowling was struck by a driver in Caldwell. Officer Cowling was the victim of a hit and run that has left him hospitalized and facing a long recovery. A little more than a week ago another Boise bicycle rider was struck by a car making a left turn. That driver was cited for an infraction. Some might say that this year has been kinder to bicycle riders than last year - when three riders were killed. Here are three things you need to know if you have been hit by an Idaho driver while riding your bike:
First - you have the right to collect your damages from the driver of a vehicle that strikes you while riding your bike, but bicycle riders have obligations and duties to others on the road too. Those duties include your duty to follow the traffic laws. If you fail to follow those laws and are struck as a result, your own negligence may preclude a full recovery.
Second - like any other civil action in Idaho, there are time limitations on your right to recover. Generally in Idaho a civil action for negligence requires that you commence your suit in two years. The actual statute may give you more time if you were a minor at the time.
Third - you need to keep good track of the records that demonstrate your damages. Keep copies of those medical bills and pharmacy records so that you can demonstrate your actual damages. The same is true of your lost time at work. And keep a simple log of your recovery - who you saw, what physical therapy or medical visit occurred and when, and how you felt.
Most importantly, take time to heal. We ride because we love being out there on the road - so get back in shape and back out with friends riding in Boise.
I was reminded how dangerous riding bikes in Boise can be last night when a car decided to play "chicken" with me as I was riding in Columbia Village. My iPhone camera did not capture that blue sedan as it bore down on me - and I chased the driver back to Federal Way to get the license number, but never quite got there. Here's hoping that idiot does not strike some rider - and here's hoping Chris Cowling and other cyclists hit recently on the roads have a full recovery.