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Destroyed a wheelset hitting a pothole in Los Angeles......

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Destroyed a wheelset hitting a pothole in Los Angeles......

Old 05-05-19, 07:25 PM
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nervgs
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Destroyed a wheelset hitting a pothole in Los Angeles......

Hi all,

So I was commuting to work on Friday the 3rd to my new job at just 5 days in, and this is my 2nd time riding into the office (I rode in the day before). Riding down a -3% descent, I accidentally ran over a pothole at probably around 25+ mph, and it was deep enough to completely destroy a the wheelset I had on the bike - a set of HED carbon tubs......... I ride with a camera for safety in case of any road shenanigans happen (I was involved in two car accidents last year, one I captured on video pretty much destroying the bike I was riding and I'm still fighting the insurance company on - that's another story), and captured the incident and location of where it happened. There also might be a crack in the steel frame (I really, really, really hope not) that I'm trying to locate as it was sounding weird when climbing and braking. The hit was so hard, that you can see over the dent in between the tub & rim, and it snapped the rear brake cable (which is why the arms are splayed out as there is no tension).





Story time....... The day before I was riding my "budget" ride because it was my first time riding into the office and I didn't know if they were going to let me keep it inside or if I had to lock/chain it up outside - luckily they let me store it in the break room next door. The ride to there and back, the bike was acting up and annoyingly ghost shifting on it's own, and I don't have much if any experience tuning an integrated/indexed system, so the next day I decided to ride one of my available steel bikes (friction setup) that I know for sure was working well and wouldn't give me any hassles - that also included the carbon HED tubs that were already on the bike......... I didn't think twice of it.

The one main reason why I'm not typing this from a hospital bed, I'm not in a cast, and how I was able to get to the 5th day of my job (on time) and not get fired was because of the tubs. They held up 100% after hitting the pothole, and did not explode. I'm convinced if this was on a clincher I would be bloody road meat. I was able to calmly & safely limp to the side of the road and record the damage from the camera.



Anyway, does anyone have experience filing a claim with the city and winning?

I was told the city will most likely fight it and/or deny responsibility (it's an inherent risk we take to ride) and I would have to ultimately go to small claims. I haven't been on that road much the last year or two (it was literally my 3rd time riding it this year), but I know it's a well ridden road as it's the 1 of 2 local routes to get over if you're riding, and the other involves a relatively long & more difficult climb. Google maps does reveal some bad maintenance and repairs over the years, and the hole has been getting larger (the spot I ran into didn't look like it was there the year before). Since it's in the middle of a descent, I think that someone can seriously injure themselves if they don't see it and/or if there's a car riding their ass behind them.

Here's a screen shot from the video less than a second before it happened - I hit the absolute edge of the right hole.





These were a dream wheelset for me and I'm only looking for a replacement (along with whatever repairs I will need IF there is frame damage) - I know they can't be bought as absolutely no company makes a deep carbon wheelset that uses a screw on freewheel hub anymore (it's a 6-speed) so it will have to be custom built....

Any information is appreciated!

Thanks!

-glenn
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Old 05-05-19, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nervgs View Post

Anyway, does anyone have experience filing a claim with the city and winning?
Yeah, good luck with that.
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Old 05-05-19, 10:41 PM
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You wanna claim because you were using 1in tyres on a public road and predictably damaged the rim?
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Old 05-05-19, 10:57 PM
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Concerning, i plow over that kind of stuff all day on my rides, no damage yet
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Old 05-06-19, 12:47 AM
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Why do you ride over the pothole?
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Old 05-06-19, 12:53 AM
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That's not a bad pothole by Minnesota standards. Not by a long shot. I don't know why your wheels were trashed.. How fast were you going?
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Old 05-06-19, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by logical View Post
Yeah, good luck with that.
I thought Domino's said they'd pave it if you ordered.
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Old 05-06-19, 05:33 AM
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You're probably SOL.
Several years ago, I came over a rise on an unfamiliar road and hit a significant pothole which sent be over the handlebars and into the ER. Not having any insurance at the time, I sought legal advice and was told that municipalities are protected against litigation.
Your state might be different and it doesn't hurt to seek legal advice. I was dealing with a few thousand dollars worth of medical bills and it made no difference at all.
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Old 05-06-19, 06:20 AM
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When I lived in NE Ohio the city where I was would pay off claims for vehicle damage, wheels, tires, suspension, caused by potholes. No clue how they determined city vs. driver responsibility since both would come into play in certain circumstances.
If this accident occured within the city of Los Angeles I'd approach them and ask for reimbursement. You have nothing to lose at this point. I mention Los Angeles specifically because the poor condition of their roads is well documented.
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Old 05-06-19, 06:43 AM
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In Washington, DC we have the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (https://www.waba.org/). They are a bicycle advocacy group for the DC area. I would imagine LA has something similar. I would approach them first and see if they've come across your situation before. I would imagine if I called my city's DOT and asked, I'd hear a big "Nope" and then they'd hang up.
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Old 05-06-19, 09:06 AM
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I doubt that photo was taken in the city of Los Angeles.
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Old 05-06-19, 09:27 AM
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Getting a monetary settlement might be difficult. Small Claims Court?

But, a better approach might be to try to track down the public works department and get that hole filled before it swallows up a whole VW Beetle!!!

Impress on them that their poor road maintenance has real consequences.
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Old 05-06-19, 09:32 AM
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I wish our roads looked that good.
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Old 05-06-19, 09:46 AM
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That pothole would not even be considered a pothole in my hometown. Trashed the wheels and cracked a steel frame? And that tire held air with that damage to a wheel? Pretty questionable in my opinion. Suing the city/government? I hope you have numerous witnesses,and video, and can prove the wheels/bike were damaged by riding over that pothole. Even with that, I would be very surprised if a law suit got you anywhere or anything.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by nervgs View Post
....
Here's a screen shot from the video less than a second before it happened - I hit the absolute edge of the right hole.

The other use of cameras are teachable moments.

So, ask yourself questions. Why did you not look ahead and see the pothole? Why did you not choose a path to miss the pothole? If you reached the point of no return, why are you still in the saddle?

These are example questions, but what do YOU learn from your video?

-mr. bill
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Old 05-06-19, 10:19 AM
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On a bike, you tend to run over whatever it is you're looking at. If I came around a corner and saw that, my natural reaction would be, "Holy $&#@! That's a gnarly pothole!" And I would need to consciously avert my eyes away, or I'd be virtually guaranteed to hit it. Especially if there was a car approaching from behind.

You gotta look at the path where you want to go, not the path where you DON'T wanna go.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
On a bike, you tend to run over whatever it is you're looking at. If I came around a corner and saw that, my natural reaction would be, "Holy $&#@! That's a gnarly pothole!" And I would need to consciously avert my eyes away, or I'd be virtually guaranteed to hit it. Especially if there was a car approaching from behind.

You gotta look at the path where you want to go, not the path where you DON'T wanna go.
We call that target fixation. On a motorcycle, especially off road where there are lots of things you want to avoid, it's a very hard thing to teach riders to look away from something they don't want to hit.

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Old 05-06-19, 05:08 PM
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You won't win unless you have a hospital bill and personal injury attorney.

Also, where do you commute? I'd like to avoid.
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Old 05-06-19, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I doubt that photo was taken in the city of Los Angeles.
I can show you quite a few roads that look like that in Northeast LA. If you're Pasadena you should know there are lots of roads like that.

Anyway, the City has a program to reimburse car (vehicle!) owners for pothole damage. The local councilperson might be able to help. Good luck.

(And now that I look at the picture again, I noticed that yellow paint next to the pothole. That means someone or some department (Street Services) noticed it. That can be a good thing, because it means they knew about it and didn't get it fixed in a timely manner. That would be my argument.)
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Old 05-06-19, 05:47 PM
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Glad you're OK. Sorry about the wheel.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:14 PM
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Thank you to the people who offered constructive comments & questions.

To the keyboard commandos that obviously didn't offer any help, I hope you're happy elsewhere in life.

-glenn
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Old 05-06-19, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
I doubt that photo was taken in the city of Los Angeles.
It was taken in Calabasas. I have the full commute from when I left home, to my office that morning, and back.

-glenn
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Old 05-06-19, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Getting a monetary settlement might be difficult. Small Claims Court?

But, a better approach might be to try to track down the public works department and get that hole filled before it swallows up a whole VW Beetle!!!

Impress on them that their poor road maintenance has real consequences.
I was told by a lawyer I work with I might have to go through small claims, but that would be after the city denies the the claim form. I have informed the city about the pothole though as it's in the first 1/3rd of a descent and could be dangerous for someone that does not see it, and really bad for a pack going down it.

-glenn
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Old 05-06-19, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
That pothole would not even be considered a pothole in my hometown. Trashed the wheels and cracked a steel frame? And that tire held air with that damage to a wheel? Pretty questionable in my opinion. Suing the city/government? I hope you have numerous witnesses,and video, and can prove the wheels/bike were damaged by riding over that pothole. Even with that, I would be very surprised if a law suit got you anywhere or anything.
Yes, trashed the wheels, though I'm not sure if it cracked the frame or not - I have yet to inspect it and that was just based on how it was sounding when I was climbing with it afterwards a bit and putting a bit of stress through the bike.

Did you read the initial post? The tire held air because I was riding a tubular. If it was a clincher with the wheel looking like that I would be toast, especially on a descent.

I have a video of it happening. I did not turn off the camera between the time it happened, you can see/hear the difference in ride, and I pointed it at the damage a few seconds after it occurred and I was able to safely pull over.

A lawsuit is the absolute last thing on my mind, and it would be in small claims. I was just wondering if anyone has won a claim against the city if they experienced something similar to me.

-glenn
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Old 05-06-19, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
The other use of cameras are teachable moments.

So, ask yourself questions. Why did you not look ahead and see the pothole? Why did you not choose a path to miss the pothole? If you reached the point of no return, why are you still in the saddle?

These are example questions, but what do YOU learn from your video?

-mr. bill
Yes, I always do ask questions, but I also can't turn back the clock - I can only learn from my mistakes, which I have and try to apply to future rides.

I'm not going to post the video, but if I ever do, you'll see I tried to avoid it by going to the left of it as much as I can, and clipped that deep part of the hole. I was going down a descent and didn't have much time to react.

>> If you reached the point of no return, why are you still in the saddle?

I have no idea what you mean by this, can you explain your question?

-glenn
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