Bicycle vs Car (WA) who is at fault

This morning my wife had an accident, she was riding her bicycle on the footpath down a slight incline, which has a T junction across it. My wife is not a fast rider, and that junction is a place we always slow down, as it's at the bottom of a hill. From what I understand she has come to the junction and tried to stop, however a 4WD has come through, in order to turn left or right (not sure which) and she has run into the side of it.

Because she doesn't drive, she didn't think about collecting drivers licence, car registration or any car details, they only exchanged phone numbers. The woman from the car has subsequently sent a video showing scratches and large dents all down the side of her car, which I personally fail to see how much damage could be done to the car, as my wife had no damage to the bicycle (which is a cruiser style electric bike). She said she did not remember so much damage, but without any evidence, we cannot say either way. However she was probably traveling at an estimated 10km/h.

From my quick research on WA law, the site states that:

Do I have to stop at driveways or do I have right of way?
Drivers need to give way to you, but slow as you approach a driveway, in case they haven’t seen you.

and I would consider that the rule as well, as she was going from one bicycle lane to the other on the other side of the road.

So far the other party has evaded giving any further details, only asking about payment for the damage.

Which party is in the wrong here?

EDIT: requested MSPaint diagram here:

EDIT2: this is the alleged damage to the car, remembering my wife was traveling straight at around 10km/h - - she didn't come off her bike, nor did either wheel come off the ground … does this look like damage caused by a bike?

EDIT3: this is the bike (taken this morning) , against my Mitsubishi 380 for height comparison:

EDIT4: not sure if this changes the situation, but apparently the driver of the car, upon seeing my wife, stopped. As you can see from the map, the driver was stopped a fair way back from the actual intersection, and was stationary on the road when my wife ran into her. If the driver had proceeded, there would be no incident. Also her text messages have escalated to threatening legal action by tomorrow morning. (I told my wife not to respond to threats)

EDIT5: Amongst the 40 or so SMS's the lady has sent in the past few days, she included a statement that said "with all the rain all of the other scratches came off", including a photo of what she has said the damage is, but I notice in the video the rear view mirror is silver, and in the new photo the rear view mirror is black - can they change colour like that, or is it a trick of the light? So far she has not provided a quote for us.


  • +3

    Definitely need a MS Paint diagram or map of the area to understand the situation.

    • updated topic with link

      • To clarify: Was the car on a public roadway or was it on a driveway for a private property?

        • Public roadway, not on a driveway (sorry for the confusion)

          • +9

            @neophytte: Then, I think your wife is at fault. Your quoted section of W.A. rules and penalties pertains to vehicles and driveways. A road is not the same as a driveway. Your wife's situation is the same as leaving any footpath to cross a road when not using a designated crossing.
            Mandatory: I'm not a lawyer……

          • @neophytte: An easy way to understand priority, or at least an indication of priority is to look at what level the road is to the path.

            If the road is flush with the path, generally the bicycle will have priority (wombat crossings, most driveways etc.) if there's a grade difference of something like a kerb height then the car has the priority.

  • MS Paint diagram required

  • +3

    Why do you have the same profile pic as jv’s 🤔

  • +10

    Oh, is that what JV stands for…😂

  • +12

    The bike should give way to the car, assuming there's no pedestrian crossing there (even if there is the bike should slow right down to a walking pace to make sure any approaching cars have time to see it and stop). The car is on a road not a driveway so that rule you mentioned wouldn't apply.

    People can't just randomly cross roads without looking, expecting oncoming traffic to be able to spot them and brake in time. Maybe you do it once or twice in your life because you make a mistake or are distracted. Not as a normal thing every day though.

    So I think she's at fault, but repairs could be very costly and if she hasn't given the other person her name or any other details besides her phone number I wouldn't judge her for just not answering the phone and pretending it didn't happen. It would be nice to at least pay the excess for the other woman but by admitting liability the insurance company would come after her for the rest so it is risky.

    • -7

      About 3/4 down this page it says:

      Information for Drivers
      Must give way to cyclists if crossing an on-road bicycle lane;

      But I'm unclear if a bicycle lane going across the road is the same as an on-road bicycle lane.

      Regarding the damage, she hit the car at (approx) 10km/h so I'm unclear where all these scratches down the side of the car came from. Her bike was undamaged.

      • +5

        That's not an on-road bicycle lane, it is just a road crossing. An on-road bicycle lane is like this. It travels along the side of the road and through the turn too - cars that are turning left have to give way to bikes going straight through.

        Didn't neg btw

        • Thanks for the clarification - we have some of those on the major roads around, but we tend to ride in the backstreets or on bike lanes as cars whizz past on those (and we are generally riding bikes with kids).

  • +5

    Do I have to stop at driveways or do I have right of way?
    Drivers need to give way to you, but slow as you approach a driveway, in case they haven’t seen you.

    Junction/road is not a driveway. 4WD has right of way.

    On a side note, I am quite surprised that laws changed in 2016 and cyclist of all ages can now ride on footpaths.

    • If cyclist is allowed to ride along footpath and they were traveling along the main road, then any traffic entering or exiting the main road has to give way to all traffic traveling straight along the main road. This includes pedestrians, cyclists, cars, livestock.

      I t-boned a car at 40kmh and left similar dents and broke both side windows. Where's the photo of the bike?

      • give way to all traffic traveling straight along the main road.


      • The bike had no damage; she continued to her destination and afterwards rode to the Police station to report it; but they turned her away and asked her to do it online …

  • +7

    If you are going 10kph, you can stop quickly on a bike! She can't have been trying very hard to stop - especially as the car was on the opposite side of the road.

    • probably panicked …

  • +1

    Bicycle rider has to give way as they are leaving a road related area and entering a road. (No one has “right of way”)

    WA road rules are stupid to look up and I just wish they would secede already… nearly every other state used the Australian Road Rules as their format… but oh, no, not WA…

    • Yes, I was confused looking them up as well … I managed to find some Government Gazette which was telling me to replace this rule and insert this piece of text … nightmare …

      • +2

        57. Giving way when entering carriageway from land abutting carriageway or road
        (1) A driver entering a carriageway from land abutting the carriageway, without a traffic-control signal or a “stop” sign, stop line, “give way” sign or give way line, must give way to —
        (a) any vehicle travelling on the carriageway or turning into the carriageway (except a vehicle turning right into the carriageway from land abutting the carriageway)

        WA Road Traffic Code 2000

        • But the one before reads:

          56.Giving way at T-intersection
          (1)This regulation applies to a driver at a T-intersection that is not controlled by traffic-control signals, or does not have a “stop” sign, stop line, “give way” sign, or give way line, that applies to that driver.
          (2)If a driver at a T-intersection is turning left (except if the driver is using a slip lane), or right, from the terminating road into the continuing road, the driver must give way to—
          (a)any vehicle travelling on the continuing road (except a vehicle making a U turn on the terminating road at the intersection); and
          (b)any pedestrian who is crossing the continuing road at or near the intersection.

          and directly underneath is this diagram:

          • @neophytte: It’s not a T-intersection. Your wife was on a road related area, not on a road, ergo, rule 57 applies. (That diagram relates to r57, Red car B is leaving a road related area. The car in your OP was on the road.)

            Now, if she was on Blue Mountain Drive (the actual road part) and the car pulled out in front of her, that’s different and rule 56 would apply then.

          • +1

            @neophytte: I think it's clear that rule 56 doesn't apply to this case.

            2(a) applies to any vehicle travelling on the continuing road which is not relevant in this case as the vehicle (bicycle) was travelling on the footpath and crossing the terminating road.

            2(b) applies to any pedestrian and is not relevant in this case as a bicycle is a vehicle, not a pedestrian.

            • @trongy: Thanks - I couldn't find a clear answer to whether a bike, traveling on a footpath, is considered a vehicle or a pedestrian in WA as it appears to be in other countries.

              • -1


                bicycle means a vehicle with 2 or more wheels that is built to be propelled by human power through a belt, chain or gears-

                If ever in doubt, consult the dictionary that is attached to the legislation.

                • @pegaxs: To the absolute drongo that negged me. If you need a definition of anything from the road rules, there is a dictionary section attached to the road rules… (see page 2)

                  It literally says “bicycle means a vehicle

                  Im happy to hear your version of why you think a bicycle being ridden is a pedestrian…

          • @neophytte: I think the image shows a driver leaving a land abutting a land, I.e. property driveway.

  • +3

    if only the car driver will now do another forum post asking what they should do next as they only got the bike rider's phone number but no other details

    • THIS!

    • What other details could they get from a bike rider with no license?

      • OP never said his wife have no licence, just that she doesn't drive. People can also get photo ID card in WA like any other state in Australia.

        And who goes around with no ID on them especially these days where you need to check in everywhere for covid?

        • Maybe she simply didn't have a wallet/purse with her if riding.

          And who goes around with no ID on them especially these days where you need to check in everywhere for covid?

          That doesn't happen everywhere mate, I haven't signed in for covid for a long time, and have never had to show ID.

        • Just for clarification, she has no licence, she also doesn't have a PhotoID card.

  • +2

    Unfortunately that's a road not a driveway.
    The car has right of way and only has to give way to traffic on the through road. Just needs to stop at the intersection not prior.

    In this case your wife failed to give way to the car unfortunately and would be liable.

    Even on Principle shared paths cars have right of way in most cases.

    Unfortunately Perth and most Australian cities have been designed around the car and not the bike. If this were the Netherlands it would be the cyclist getting first priority in many instances.

    Do you have the exact intersection at question?

    • map

      Wife was traveling right to left on this map, car was moving upward

      • +2

        Looks like your wife was at fault based on Google Maps and Streetview of the scene of the accident.

        Be thankful that she hit the car and not the other way around. If your wife was a split second faster or the car a split second slower, things might not have turned out too well for your wife…

        If your wife was riding on the road, then that would have been a different story, as she would've had the right of way being on the main road of the T-junction.

      • -1

        That looks like a regular footpath, not a bicycle lane and definitely not a on-road bicycle lane.

        Your wife may be committing an offence as you're not allowed to ride on a footpath in NSW unless accompanying a child.

        • +2

          We are based in WA where riding on the foot path is legal:

          In Western Australia, cyclists are permitted to ride on footpaths.

        • You can ride on the footpath, (even if an adult) in some states, S.A. included.

        • The WA gov overturned this because of the flaws in it.
          everyone's permitted now.

      • Yep, unfortunately the bike path in this case doesn't have priority.

  • +3

    I'm sorry but I don't think this is what you want to hear… but I'd say your wife is at fault.

    Whether it was a bike crashing into the side of that car or even a person running into it… the car had a right of way.

    This is one of the reasons why I'm terrified of riding a bike with it being uninsured unlike a car or motorcycle.

    Say you're pedaling at 15km/h and a kid walks jumps out of nowhere… you crash into him/her… you're pretty much at fault no matter the story.

    • +3

      There's bike insurance. Also, kids can jump out of nowhere into the path of a car… not sure it's a relevant argument…

    • If you join your state's cycling body, you may find you have very generous insurance cover. Likewise competitive cyclists and triathletes are usually covered by their state associations' athlete insurance coverage.

    • This is why I pay $60/yr to

      • @kingsville thank you for that site …

  • +2

    Cyclist is at fault.
    If your wife was riding on the road rather than the path, then the car would be at fault as that is where the road terminates. Coming out of a footpath like that is essentially the same as her riding out of the driveway in to the path of the on coming car.

  • she was riding her bicycle on the footpath

    is this legal in WA ? only kids or adult accompanying kids can use footpath here in VIC.

    • Yep

      All-age cycling on footpaths is now legal in WA

      On April 27th 2016, WA’s laws changed to allow cyclists of all ages to use footpaths, unless otherwise signed. The amendment to the Road Traffic Code 2000 brought WA’s bicycle laws into line with the rest of Australia, making it legal for parents to ride alongside their children on footpaths, improving safety. Under the previous rules, only children under the age of 12 were able to ride on footpaths without breaking the law.

      Source - Road Safety Commission

  • +1

    Unfortunately it isn't looking good for your wife based on the road rules above.

    Fwiw though, if you have home insurance it should include public liability coverage as well - and that often covers being 'negligent' outside of your home too (sorry for the semi-offensive term, just insurance terminology).

    Those three-ish vertical scrapes look to be from the end of a handlebar… Multiple impacts could be due to the ebike throttle still being applied after initial impact (does the ebike have a thumb or twist throttle by any chance, or a slow to disengage pedal assist?).

    Source: 1) a friend's kid crashed into my car on his mountain bike leaving not dissimilar damage, but less of it. Their insurance sorted it. 2) Ive commuted on motorbikes for years, and have seen a few impacts (myself and others). Easy to cause lots of damage with continued momentum

    • She has no throttle on her bike - the motor is turned on via the pedals being pushed; when braking it dis-engages the motor. Her handlebars didn't touch the car, she hit it perpendicular, and when I inspected her bike, there were no signs of paint or remnants on there that I could see ….

      • Thanks for clarifying. The car owner is definitely trying to take advantage then.

        Were there any witnesses or nearby security cameras recording? You'll need something to prove how ridiculous the claim is to their car insurance company.

        I hope it works out - if it's looking like a fight though, I would personally leave it with my public liability insurance deal with.

        • no witnesses that we know of, the only house that might have a security camera is the one on the corner, as all the ones on the opposite side of the main road in this intersection are facing the opposite direction - it is a wall of fences facing the intersection

  • That damage looks like 'Karen' has run into something else. If it was a 90 degree impact there might be a tyre scuff or wheel guard scratch.
    Does your wife remember where on the car she hit (front guard/wheel, drivers door, passenger door)?
    'Karen' can't claim a bike barely 1m wide can damage over 2m of the vehicles side panels.

    • Agreed, there are multiple impact points down the side of the vehicle and the L shaped ones would be especially skilfully created by a side impact from a bike that has no damage, not to mention the length of the car that was affected with these "marks"……

      She is at fault, you can not cross a road on a bike without giving way, she is very lucky as she could be in hospital right now or worse all because she didn't look. Make sure your children when out riding do look both ways as it seems that she may not be a great teacher for learning to ride.

      • Thanks for your comment - just to paint a better picture, my wife doesn't drive and has been riding on a daily basis for over 20 years, this is her first accident. She is a fairly slow and conservative rider, and your last statement is unfair; it's akin to saying "anyone who has had a motor vehicle crash shouldn't teach anyone else how to drive" …

    • My wife said it was on the driver side door, just near the rear view mirror … as I mentioned above, she did hit it perpendicular to the cars direction of travel, and from what I understand the vehicle was stationary at the time.

      • Then there is no way she hit the rear door and caused those creases to the metal. and at that height even if the tail swung out and she broadsided the car, that damage is too high for a pushbike unless she was doing some sic BMX flip kicks.
        That lady is full of crap, block the number and move on with your life, she's trying to get you to pay for her poor driving.

        • Thanks for your comment, my wife wouldn't know how to spell BMX ….

  • Just to add, those yellow bars at the path are cyclist hold rails, they are designed for cyclists to hold on to whilst they wait for traffic conditions to become safe, because they should be giving way to road traffic there.
    If your wife was riding on the road it would be a different story, but being that she was on the path, looks like she's at fault.

  • Check your home insurance, sometimes they offer cover for this sort of thing.

    • @JIMB0 thanks, I will check … we still don't have a quote for the damage (see EDIT5)

  • Hold up. Your wife rode onto a roadway, crossing an intersection and hit a car. Are you seriously asking if she is at fault? She’s lucky she is not squished under the car.

    If she panicked so much (approaching an intersection, and a roadway no less!), perhaps she should rethink riding. Darwin isn’t kind to cyclists.

    And absolutely an ebike can cause that damage to a moving vehicle. If I were the car driver, I’d be pushing for police intervention to make sure the message sinks in.

    I ride an ebike about 30km twice a day. It’s not a car. Road rules still apply. More importantly, I know that I am responsible for my own preservation. Nobody else will be looking out for me jumping across traffic.

    I’m glad she is ok, because that sort of negligence has cost people their lives.

  • How do you know she was only doing 10km/h?

    Or is that the estimated braking speed when she impacted the car?

    • Estimated … her bike sustained no damage, and I've hit a log at slightly higher speeds and buckled my rim; I checked her rim this morning and it was still straight …

  • -3

    Both at fault, and each pay own damage

    • +1

      lol. Not even close, but thanks for playing…

  • +1

    Cyclist being on a bicycle is irrelevant in this case as she didn't have right of way in this case. Cyclist's fault.

    I hope your wife is OK.

    Not sure if your speed estimation counts for much in this case as the onus is on you, seeing that it was a failure to give way type of issue - not what you want to hear I'm sure, unfortunately…

    • Thanks for your concern; she was going slow enough that she didn't come off the bike when she hit the car, her bike was undamaged, as was she.

  • Was it a 200kg ebike? Because I don't understand how a normal 20kg ebike could cause that much damage without the rider falling off.

    • No, it's about 20kg, I am confused about the amount of damage as well, and where it has occurred on the car … my wife hit the drivers door around where the mirror is …

  • I’m guessing your was going a lot faster.
    Did you say she was going down hill?

    • My wife is not a fast rider; there is a long and slow slope going down towards that road (on the Google map I posted above, the RHS of the picture is maybe 5m above the point of impact, over maybe 150m) - if she was going faster she would have damaged the bike, but the 10km/h is an estimate …

  • +1

    recently learnt via failing a driving test that for VIC, driver would be at fault.

    • Lol, driver would be at fault because someone ran a bike into the side of them?

      • -1

        it was a motorcycle test and it is an automatic fail.
        at an unmarked T-section, the intersection is treated as a give way intersection. meaning you have to give way to all traffic. the pedestrian was at the crosswalk as I got there but didn't cross. It was marked as "blocked pedestrian" and told to come back next time.

        after I passed the next time I asked the instructor to clarify this situation to me and they said, you have to stop before the crosswalk if there are pedestrians in your 3-second view. if there are no pedestrians, stop at the natural line and proceed to look for other traffic.

        sounds like everything happened pretty fast in OP's story, so I'm just assuming the 4WD was in a position similar to mine.

        again, this is in VIC not WA.

        • +2

          That's a crosswalk mate, of course you have to stop at it. Ops wife was not going across a crosswalk, she just sailed out into the street from a bike path.

          • -1

            @brendanm: I don't why I need to respond to you, I must be sick in the head but OP says this: "This morning my wife had an accident, she was riding her bicycle on the footpath down a slight incline"

            • @bakerbaker: Yes. Did you continue reading, or stop there? If you continued reading, you would find that she has sailed out from the footpath i to the street, no crosswalk in sight, and has run into the side of a car driving straight on the road.

              Please read carefully in future.

              • @brendanm: that's the thing, in VIC the car is supposed to stop before the footpath/crosswalk's line at the intersection if there is any traffic on the footpath/crosswalk.

                • @bakerbaker: It isn't a crosswalk. I know this is difficult to comprehend.

                  • @brendanm: help me understand

                    • @bakerbaker: Ops wife was not using a crosswalk. It was a completely normal road. The car was driving along, she, for some unknown reason, sailed out into the road, and ran into the side of it. The end.

                    • +2

                      @bakerbaker: Crosswalk

                      Not a crosswalk

                      In Victoria; (Vic Road Rules)

                      Road Rule 74; Entering or leaving a road related area.This is the rule that applies to OP's wife's situation if it was in Victoria.

                      Road Rule 73 (2) (b); Giving way at a T-intersection. This is what (doesn't) relate to what you are referring to. This rule does not apply to your situation or OP's.

                      You cannot park across a pedestrian ramp, but waiting at an intersection is not classified as "stopping", so even that rule doesn't apply. Either you misunderstood the instructors/scenario, or your instructors are stupid.

                      • @pegaxs: Thankyou, I don't have the patience to look that up.

  • Trying to work out how the impact would have occurred to make that damage, looks like maybe she swerved to the right to try to avoid a head on collision, and the front of the bike caused the right-most damage, the handle bars the centre damage and the rear of the bike the leftmost damage? But it seems odd that the damage is so high up the body, wouldn't the wheels have caused damage?

    • She hit the car head on with her front wheel, no other part of her bike touched the car (from her account), the bike is undamaged and has no signs of paint or scratches on it - which is why it's so confusing; the incident you are describing would have seen her come off the bike or end up facing a different direction, which she apparently didn't. Her bike is a 26" cruiser style, and I measured the height of her bike against my Mitsubishi 380; she has a plastic basket on the front which reaches my door handles … see

  • Vehicle had previous damage and is trying to get you to pay for it.

    I think your wife is at fault, but even IF she had taken photos, that wouldn't have proven previous damage.

    What a sh*tty situation.

    Glad she's okay. xx

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