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Bike accident. need help


Jan 29, 2007
Hi everyone,

I need your help.

I was in a bike accident 4 weeks ago. The passenger of a truck opened a door while they were stopped at a red light. I hit the door at 40kph according to my polar.

The total damage to my bike according to the bike shop is 534,000 yen. It is a giant TCR 1 advanced with extras that were damaged (ie helmet, polar watch, power meter, etc). The frame, forks, TT bars and front wheel cracked.

I was interviewed by the police and the driver was formally charged and has admitted liability.

His insurance company are only offering to paying 252,000 yen and the driver is paying 100,000 yen, which means I'm left with a bill of around 180,000 yen.

To add they have depreciated my bike frame by 90%.

I need help. They won't offer me any more money. I don't understand why they think I should be paying any money at all AND almost as twice as muc has the driver who is at fault and admits that :eek:uch:

Has anybody been through this experience before that can offer me some assistance??

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Paul Fleuren
Is that your whiplash kicking in now?
You can put in more bills for other damage. Clothes, trips to the doctor, loss of time form work.... I had a cyclist hit me and he was on a crappy mama chari. He said he was fine yet he claimed 60man yen on my insurance for all kinds of bills.

Don't hold back.

Get angry and make more claims.
Hi Paul,

I am sorry to hear about your accident. I wrote my advice up a number of months ago (link below). The biggest problem you face is you are not represented and you don't understand the system.

You need to be claiming personal injury (unfortunately 4 weeks have passed). If you have an injury, aches or pains, go to the doctors TODAY and get the doctor to diagnose your problems. With aches and pains they pretty much rely on what you tell them and then prescribe painkillers and icing. You need the doctor to suggest your injuries will take weeks (2 or more) to heal. Then tell the drivers insurance company the doctors diagnosis and tell them you intend to make a personal injury claim. See my notes about this.

As for your bike - they are probably being fair. If I remember, your bike is over 3 years old and 90% depreciation is the standard. Forget the bike and claim for personal injury (if you are injured).

The only caveat - if you were passing a lorry on the inside at 40kph at traffic lights - you may expect the insurance company to put up a fight if you escalate the situation.


Paul I hope you get things worked out.

And to everyone else, if you have not bought insurance yet you may find yourself in Paul's situation. Its not about insurance, it is about representation.

Thanks Phil for getting abck to me.

I was riding along the the left hand side of the truck which was about 20 cars back. I was in a modified bike lane going along route 4 when the passenger opened up his door. So he wasn't even pulled over on the side of the road.

Even though my biike is 4 years old I have constatnly replaced the parts over the years (ie goupset, TT bars, wheelsets, tyres, pedals etc), but i don't have receipts. all expect frame and forks of course

I still don't understand why I am expected to pay more then the person who is responsible. i thought insurance companies worldwide would prevent situations like this from arising. Isn't this why we have insurance companies, too protect both parties? :eek:uch:

What are my options if I keep rejecting their offer and I keep producing evidence to counteract the depreciation they are placing on my bike.

For example, giant are putting together a letter to show the standard depreciation on their bikes.

I basically don't have 180,000 yen to get myself back on the road. it was my only bike.

They have been covering all my medical bills as i have been diagnosed with whiplash, conscussion and a rotor cuff injury.

I starting to feel I'm going to lose out here even though I did nothing wrong.


P.S I just want to start riding again
Hi Paul,

I understand your sense of injustice. You end up disadvantaged by an accident which was the other persons fault. And I can understand you just wanting to get riding again. Sorry, I have no ideas how you can resolve this beyond what you are doing.

Keep up the fight,

Paul, get on the phone to http://www.telljp.com/ I feel you are being under represented in this matter. The pressure needs to go from your representative to the driver who will then need to pony up and settle. Don't accept anything yet and get to the doctors and stress your injuries are serious. Self medication is a losing game in this case. In my case i was taken out by a left turning car that failed to check his inside mirror. I was fully compensated but the LBS and club president looked after it all with the insurance company. good luck and I hope you feel better soon.
edit: that 100,000 the driver is paying is the deductible right? sounds like the insurance assessor is playing hard to get. His job, so get someone working for you, a legal letter to the driver sounds in order.
G'day guys,

Thanks guys for your tips. They have really helped. I have decided to fight this. I had my 3rd meeting today and this is how it went. Anymore advice from you guys will be much appreciated.

This whole meeting took around 2hrs. But this was the main points I got from it.

Insurance companies are idiots. I have been doing my research and I called them out tonight.

I had my 3rd meeting with them and they have offered no more money. I was expecting this sort of response so I came prepared.

My reply was I rejected the same offer and then I preceeded with the following questions.

Does the insurance company accept that the driver was at fault?
He couldn't answer me, so I said.

Do you have a copy of the police report?
He said No. Caught him. I then said in the police report I was told by the detective that the driver is at fault 100%.

I then asked him
Have you contacted the bike shop in Australia to confirm the price of my bike? (I knew he hadn't because I contacted them the day before)
He said no. I said why not since you requested for that information and this whole dispute is about the bike? He could'nt answer me.

He then asked me what my next step will be
I said I want the insurance company to pay for the full cost as stated by the bike shop (ie 534,000 Yen ) as the driver of the vehicle has accepted full responsibility for the accident as stated in the police reports.

He then said I should contact the lawyer at the Embassy to represent me. I said no, because this is a very clear cut case and my next step will be to request a meeting with your manager. Well he did not like that one well at all. At this point he became very nervous. He started messing with his tie, kept looking through his files, and was basically rambling on about nothing. My translator had to keep cutting him off.

All the time I kept trying to be as polite as possible. I even contacted my cycle shop in Australia and got them to quote my bike plus their depreciated estimate. I also had a full price list of every broken part from online shops in the US and also local shops to confirm the prices on the bike accident quote.

Still to come.
At the next meeting I will bring to their attention that the detective asked me how I want to punish the driver (ie fine and or loss of licence) I said neither I would like to see the driver continue to work and not lose his job as long as I have my equipment fully replaced.
I hope this will work. I'm going to fight this.

Thanks for reading
Hi Paul . . .

You did well. Keep up the fight. I really hope this works out for you.

Gosh! Would you represent me if / when I have an accident?

We just have to hope that they don't close ranks on you, and find some kind of "confusion" in the truth ....
Good stuff Paul. Keep in there and stick to your guns. More importantly are you recovered physically from the accident? If not hit them for full compensation of medical. Did you lose any work time? Not so much as a bargaining chip but just to get yourself right. Good luck.
Hello everyone,

Had a meeting with the manager of the insurance company. He basically will not change the decision.

They are still only offering to pay 252,000 yen and the driver is paying 100,000 yen, which means I'm stilll left with a bill of around 180,000 yen.

I said to the insurance company you have a legal responsibility to return my life back to normal. His response is that according to japanese law a bike depreciates at 45% each year, therefore your bike is worth nothing. We are offering you 50% of 700,000 yen to replace your bike.

Not good enough in my eyes as it still leaves me with a bigger bill than the driver.

I then said that I legally have 6mths to change my decision in terms of how the driver is to be punished (ie loss of licence and fine) i explained to the manager that he needs to go and talk to the driver and come up with a better offer before Friday, because I do not feel I should be paying more money than the driver.

if I don't hear from you before Friday i will use my legal rights to have the driver charged, because I stated in the police report that I did not want to charge the driver on the condtion that the repairs to my bike are paid for. I'm not asking for a full replacement (ie 700,000) I just want the bike repaired and paid for.

Do you think this will work??

He is also threatening to take this to court. Which I don't understand .it is just 180,000yen. They probably already have spent that much in the 3 meetings they have had with me.

Does anybody have any tips???

have you sought professional but free advice yet? anything we will say will be just hearsay. Keep to your guns but get your ducks in line first.
Just as a relative noob, can I ask, am I obliged to have insurance when I ride on the road in Japan. How about offroad? Thanks
The law protects you without insurance, but at around 3000yen for cycling insurance it's a good idea to hedge your bets.

When a problem does happen, the insurance company does all the negotiations. You don't have to even speak to the car driver who tried to run you down, or the truck driver you ran into or the little old lady you knocked over. Just call the insurance company, tell them what happened and let them do their job.
The law protects you without insurance, but at around 3000yen for cycling insurance it's a good idea to hedge your bets.

When a problem does happen, the insurance company does all the negotiations. You don't have to even speak to the car driver who tried to run you down, or the truck driver you ran into or the little old lady you knocked over. Just call the insurance company, tell them what happened and let them do their job.

Where is a good place to take out such insurance. I tried the monte bell website but I wasn't able to navigate throug the japanese website.

Could you provide some other links/contacts?

My club does all the paperwork for us and all I do is pay them 3000yen per year. Sorry, but I don't have anything on paper or even a link.
We have a network where the club has all our names and addresses and if we have an accident it's always reported to our club captain. He then asks us if we need to file an insurance claim.

The network is also for our co-riders who may be riding with us. If one of them hurts himself, I call the club captain who then looks up the contact details for the injured cyclist and calls his wife or whoever and helps as best he can.

If I was riding alone and hurt myself and had problems explaining to the police or ambulance where I was and there was nobody available to help, I could call the club captain and he'd do as much as possible to help me. (he runs the shop that sponsors our team).

With my Wednesday night sprint club which is now up to about 30 riders, of different clubs...we also got together and on mixi put down all our addresses, contact numbers, email addresses and even blood type in case of an accident.
A member would just log into the mixi site look up our details and contact whoever...

If you have a good cycling shop you go to, ask them if they have any special insurance plans...

If you have a car, see if they have options for cycling to be included in your car insurance. Normally it is.

I think the biggest problem is getting the info in English.
Might be a good side business for somebdy to work as an English sales man/woman for cycling insurance for one of the insurance companies...
I would be very careful about succumbing to the temptation to forcefully and publicly expose the other parties` dishonesty and incompetence. You may win the battles but lose the war, as the saying goes. I think some of the other members` advice here is a better way to go, `play the game` a little, keep very calm and respectful, rather than go on the attack. Most of all, avoid getting indignant when you know you`re getting lied to...

It`s amazing that the police told you the driver was 100% at fault; that situation is very rare in Japan. Usually they assign at least some portion of blame to all parties, using the rather frustrating logic that it was partially your fault, just because you were there: if you hadn`t been there, it wouldn`t have happened!

You can be sure that they are trying to get away with paying you as little as possible. You can also be sure they are willing to go much higher. As others have mentioned, it is common in Japan for people who have less than 50% fault in accidents to claim all kinds of medical charges - and I`m talking the kind of money that would buy you a whole new bike.....

Good luck. You`re a cautionary tale so thank you for sharing.
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