I Was Hit By a Van Yesterday

Pali Aha

Warming-Up
Jan 8, 2020
5
10
3
58
Komagome, Tokyo. Sorry. Don't know what street. Heading north or northwest (Tokyo's streets are so squiggly) towards Tabata from Shinjuku. I'm riding and approach a "Y" There's a separate road that veers left but the main road continues straight. I'm going straight and get side swiped by a van who wanted to go left. Scraped right toes, bloodied knee, bruised left thigh, torn pants (the only one I own), destroyed Canon 740 HS, dismembered tripod, broken GoPro handlebar mount, scratched $120 Ortlieb. What was impressive was the police came: a woman on her bicycle, 2 officers in a Lexus black & white, and a police "investigative" unit in a van. Plus an ambulance arrived. Everyone had their sirens & lights on. They were going to take me to the hospital but I declined the offer.

I marveled at the approachability of the police who were all sympathetic towards me. And you know how the Japanese Accident 2.jpgaccident 3.jpgAccident.jpgcan be in awe of our unremarkable stunts: "You are touring Japan on your bicycle?" "You came from Shizuoka airport on a bicycle?" "You will next go to Takasaki to see the steam engine by bicycle?"

They used chalk to highlight where my right pedal scraped the asphalt and took measurements of the van's pathway and mine. They took photos of my bicycle. This would NEVER happen in the United States.

I'm supposed to call the van driver's insurance company tomorrow. Maybe they'll give me a new pair of pants.
 

Karl

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Feb 7, 2011
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Glad you weren't badly injured and also glad to hear that the police took this seriously.

Did the van driver stop, or hit and run? I think it ups the seriousness level of these things when there is bodily injury and the driver doesn't stop.

But, anyway, you have the driver's insurance info now? If so, that's good.

I second @kiwisimon 's advice. Sometimes injuries don't really show up until a day later. If not documented now, it will be much harder to be reimbursed for hospital costs later.
 

Pali Aha

Warming-Up
Jan 8, 2020
5
10
3
58
hold off and see how your injuries are in the morning and I'm glad you escaped serious injury. Who called the police?
Not sure who called the police but I was stuck under my bicycle. Maybe I was dazed but I could get the bicycle off of me and I was nervous about another car running over my head.

I’m really sorry to hear about your accident, mate. How are you feeling this morning?
Thank you for your sympathy. I'm ok, just limping around because of the bump to my thigh. I'm shocked that anything happened amidst the safe driving of the Japanese o_O . The man was behind me, passed me but not enough to clear me then made his left. When he hit me I thought that it was an act of vengeance. I thought that way. Or maybe he didn't see me, yet how do we explain his passing me? He could've yielded to me and let me go first and then make his left like 99% of Japanese do.
 
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luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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you should be able to claim everything damaged to the full price of new items. wear, gear, everything. if you are covered by some insurance, have them negotiate on your behalf. if bodily injuries come into play, I'd consider legal help too
 

sean-e

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Mar 4, 2019
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Glad it wasn't worse.

From my experience of bike commuting into downtown Tokyo (including getting hit twice in the same way you described): it's not uncommon for cars to overtake a bicycle from the right, then immediately turn left or brake to park in the lane. Not a malicious move most of the time, just how traffic seems to flow in the middle of Tokyo. Cars kinda expect the bicycle to yield in this situation. Stay safe 👍
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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I've been unlucky to be hit by a car twice in Japan.

However, the insurance procedure in Japan is excellent.

Make sure you call the driver's insurance company.

They will send an Assessor to quantify the damage.

Show them all your damaged kit, bike etc with estimated value.

They are happy to reimburse you in full even for minor damage.

However, the percent which they pay drops with time after purchase, so if you can prove that it is useful.

But yes, like Luka says you are entitled to new of anything damaged.

Hospital visits etc are also redeemable in costs and time spent.

Get what is deserved to you.

Andy
 

Karl

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Feb 7, 2011
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it's not uncommon for cars to overtake a bicycle from the right, then immediately turn left or brake to park in the lane.
That maneuver is really dangerous yet it is really common. Wish the licensing folks would stress this during their training sessions. As it stands now, it seems as if once the driver's shoulder is ahead of you, they think it is your responsibility to yield to them even if the car is still right beside you. Weird.
 

TokyoLiving

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Dec 9, 2015
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Glad it wasn't as serious as it could have been.
I've seen this time and time again, especially with cyclists new to Japan.

In hindsight, of course, always anticipate, any car in front of you, or passing you assume they will be turning on their blinker 30 meters from the corner and turning left.
 

luka

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Jan 13, 2015
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that reminds me of this arsehole (last one in the video) wanting to go through me at an intersection. wonder what would happen had the traffic light not changed? I rarely get such incidents now, having gotten used to the traffic flow here. but once every 2-3 months there's gonna be something. I have several more "instructive" videos from Tokyo commuting on the channel, check it out

 

kiwisimon

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I think that guy needed to signal his intention to the driver a bit. Never shoulder checked and gave zero indication. No hurt no foul.
 

Alain

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Oct 8, 2019
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Glad that you sound safe @Pali Aha . Hope your injuries will not get serious in the long term. I was a bit worried when I start reading your post as I read that the Japanese police efficiency is ... situational.
Wish you good recovery and sorry for your pants
 

Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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Surely you mean 3, not 30? 30 would mean they had some idea that other road users exist.
I witnessed a miracle yesterday. A Mercedes driver who parked in a bike lane, blocking traffic, got out of his car and realized he had just about doored me. I was expecting him to pretend that nothing had happened, but he actually apologized (albeit with a mere sumimasen as opposed to a makoto ni moshi wake gozaimasen).
 
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Kangaeroo

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Jan 24, 2018
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Sorry, I was trying to make a joke, which detracted from the seriousness of the thread.
Still, I was staggered that a Mercedes driver actually apologized, but I was absolutely fine. As soon as I saw it was a German car parked in the bike lane I knew to slow down and be on my guard. And he did apologize.
 
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