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“I was hit by an Uber driver in the bikelane/crosswalk at 9:15am this morning”

by Prince Of Petworth January 3, 2017 at 1:30 pm 31 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user LaTur

“I was hit by an Uber driver in the bikelane/crosswalk at 9:15am this morning, January 3, at the corner of 14th and V, NW. If you have a camera pointed at that intersection (say from Union Row or Langston Lofts) or witnessed the accident and got a look at the make/model of the car and/or license plate, I would really appreciate you contacting me. The Uber was a black four door car and the driver was a black male in his 50s and I was wearing a yellow and black jacket, black pants, orange helmet and a white bicycle. Luckily I am ok but I was too shaken at the time to get his license plate. Thank you.”

Anyone with info can also email me directly at [email protected] and I’ll put you in touch with OP.

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  • DMVinjurylawyer

    Sorry to hear this but glad you’re okay – won’t offer you my services.

    Looks like there is a camera on the top of the Reeves building right on that corner. You can get that video with a FOIA request to the D.C. Government, but do it soon. They don’t keep that video for more than a couple of weeks. You could also go to the Reeves building and go to the security office to see if they could download the video for you.

    Also, all WMATA buses have forward looking cameras now, so if you noticed a bus nearby, it might have caught the incident. WMATA only keeps footage for a couple of weeks too and has to go to the actual bus itself to download it, so they are not always super helpful, but if you submit the FOIA request, they will get in touch.

    Good luck!

    • Anon

      I have not had good luck getting DC to respond to FOIA requests. It sounds like maybe the lawyer above has, but I have essentially given up on even trying to FOIA something from DC. I’m a lawyer and I’ve sought records for cases in court – not against DC – and eight or nine months later, the case is over, and I still don’t have the records. They have to acknowledge your FOIA request within a certain period of time, but (unless changed) I don’t believe there’s a time limit for when they actually need to provide the records requested. So worth a shot, but don’t get your hopes too high on that one.
      My guess is Uber is not eager to cooperate, but it would seem they may be able to tell you who was in that vicinity at the time. I guess this assumes the person was working at the time, but wouldn’t they have the info, if they were willing to provide it? Has anyone had experience getting information from Uber? I’m just guessing they’re not cooperative, but I really don’t know.

  • Anon.

    In my similar experience, the Uber passenger had already reported the incident to Uber (via a feature on the app). So a rep from Uber was looking for me by the time I contacted them. Uber was actually surprisingly helpful and quick to communicate with me regarding the situation. There isn’t a way to make direct contact about these sorts of issues. Their emergency line will turn your call away in an effort to focus on addressing emergencies in progress. However, you can report it as a problem with your most recent trip and explain the situation does not actually pertain to your recent trip.

  • anonymous

    Have you tried contacting Uber directly? They may ask you for official police report, but they may have this information somewhere in their systems.

  • KPS

    Awful. So sorry for you, OP. I’ve been hit in a crosswalk. It’s terrifying, and you may feel shook up for a few weeks. Sounds like the driver who hit OP didn’t stop? That’s a hit and run, right?

  • anon for this

    OP here: Thanks for the suggestions. I contacted Uber and without a license plate they said they were unable to find the driver. I’ll be filing a police report tonight as it was a hit and run and the front passenger window was down so the driver definitely heard me yelling and kept going. I don’t think there was a passenger. Luckily I’m physically fine just shaken up and angry. Of all the days not to run my gopro…

    • Ben

      Also remember some injuries might not surface until several hours later. If you do manage to track down the driver note you are entitled to being fully compensated for your losses. Take your bike to a shop and have them provide an estimate for repairs. Have them note the cost to replace any component damaged (even if it was scratched). When I was taken out by an at fault driver I was even compensated for my damage clothing. Best of luck!

    • KPS

      What @Ben said! Take pictures of everything that feels sore, including as the bruises grow, spread, and change colors. When I got hit the ambulance people looked at me strange because I was crying and so angry. They didn’t see any injuries. There was not one injury to be seen. But there sure was a dent in the hood the car that a hit me, from the impact of my body. Over the next 24 hours, and the days that followed, my legs from the knees down, palms of my hands, elbows, and chest were covered in huge bruises of various shades. Also, you should rest with your feet up and drink lots of liquids. Your nerves may feel shattered for some days.

    • Anon

      Not impressed with the company’s response. Regulators need to get on this behavior of disclaiming responsibility unless the victim gets the plate given their whole business model relies on detailed GPS data of trips. They might be more forthcoming if you threatened to sue Uber. I would think that GPS data for the 30 minutes surrounding your crash time would be discoverable.

      • CVR

        If the driver wasn’t working and didn’t have the app on, how could they track him? I’ve never used Uber but it sounds like they tried and have been helpful in the past. I can’t imagine they want drivers on the road running people down and ruining their name.

        • anon for this

          He definitely had the Uber app up and I think he was picking up a fare (he first pulled up a few inches away before hitting me when turning right so I could see clearly into the car). Uber didn’t attempt to run down nearby cars (I asked) and only seemed to be able to look up drivers via their license plates.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Although I do not know whether the following is actually the case with Uber, it is quite possible that their database is set up in such a way that they can answer the question “Where was this specific driver at this specific time?” (i.e., pull up the records for a given driver in their database) but cannot answer the question “Which drivers were at or near a given location at a given time” (i.e., can’t start by pulling up a location and identifying what drivers are near it). From a data standpoint, “Where was Joe at 9 AM yesterday?” is an easy question, but “Who was at 14th & V at 9 AM yesterday?” is a hard question.

          • anon

            What Haile said. Additionally, even if they COULD look up who was there around a given time, how many middle-aged black males in black cars would they find? All Ubers are required to be four-door, I’m pretty sure a disproportionate number are black, and Uber doesn’t log what their drivers are wearing each day. I’m not trying to victim-blame OP; I don’t know how much info I would note/remember in such a situation. But they unfortunately didn’t capture much in this instance. Hopefully some video will surface.

          • JohnH

            Keep in mind that we had a commercial plane that disappeared and couldn’t be found. Let’s not automatically assume companies can track down drivers by GPS at certain times of the day on a whim. Not defending Uber (if someone was killed they may dig deeper), but I think people really overestimate technology being used by for profit companies (money has repeatedly been cited as a hinderance on commercial airplane GPS).

          • anon

            JohnH: the money issues you cite are why planes don’t have GPS equipped. Uber by its very nature relies on the assisted GPS on smartphones, so all Ubers have (a)GPS.
            I know you were probably trying to make some illustrative point about the difficulty of harvesting GPS data using a story about how GPS units couldn’t even be equipped on planes, but it wasn’t great. A lot of related but not related concepts to parse, and such.

          • JohnH

            Anon – first off, it was an example of technology you assume exists not necessarily existing. Just because uber uses GPS doesn’t mean a customer service rep at 1-800-UBER-REP is going to say let me look up coordinates and find out the drivers on that road at that precise time (nor would they have the ability). If they were going to look up this information, it would come from a much “higher up” source that would involve investigation as not everything is recorded – which is why I mentioned if it involved a murder, then a, for instance, court order could get there. They aren’t going to just hand out that information to anyone that calls.
            You don’t need to be an anonymous I know more than you.

  • Huma
  • Anonymous

    Uber is actually pretty responsive to address injury and accident suits. They don’t want anymore bad PR. Of course, they require you to sign an iron tight NDA if they do a cash settlement. I had an accident with an Uber earlier this year – you need to be persistent, but you’ll eventually be paid.
    I’d actually keep working on trying to get a license plate. I’d go up and down the businesses along his route and see what you can find. Uber (and their insurer, James River Insurance) are eager to weed out bad drivers.

    • DCbyDay

      True — but if the driver didn’t have a passenger at the moment, it may be a little murkier… If his app was on, but he wasn’t actively going toward a trip, he may not be considered “working” for uber at the moment.. and if his app wasn’t on at all, then uber definitely wouldn’t be responsible and may not be as responsive/helpful.

      • Anonymous

        PP here:
        This is all true. James River/Uber are liable if he’s signed in to the app (either currently driving a fare, going to pick up a fare, or waiting to receive a fare). The driver’s insurance becomes liable when the driver “signs out” of the Uber app. He’s no long on-the-clock. From what I’ve read on various online forums, the Uber drivers actually prefer to be covered by their own insurance, if possible – James River has a high deductible for them ($2K, I think) and crappy reimbursement for the Uber driver’s repair or totaled replacement value.
        However, the main insurance on the car will do everything possible to weasel out of covering the driver, if he was working and has not notified the primary insurer that he is driving for Uber. In that case, you’d be required to sue the individual.
        I can confirm that James River/Uber has the data to look up whether or not the driver was signed in and the GPS coordinates (if so). My James River claims rep told me that the data confirmed that he was driving and had fares in the vehicle. They also provided that information to his primary insurance, so they could deny him any additional coverage.
        In my case, James River paid $600 for damage to my vehicle and $750 for my medical expenses & pain (I had a $100 Xray and a sore wrist for three days).

        • dcd

          “However, the main insurance on the car will do everything possible to weasel out of covering the driver,”
          It isn’t “weasling out” of coverage, it’s recognizing that if the driver was engaged in a commercial activity, and doesn’t have coverage for that, the company shouldn’t pay.

          • Anonymous

            It’s weaseling out from my perspective as the innocent victim. Good luck suing an Uber driver and collecting damages….

  • tito jackson

    Uber drivers are often even worse than cabbies these days. It’s also hard to tell who they are to watch out for their erratic U turns and sudden lane changes. Another big problem no one talks about is that they are often under-insured, as they only have to carry basic insurance to qualify as an independent contractor for Uber or Lyft…

    if you google uber insurance coverage you get this –

    Uber requires all of their drivers to have car insurance, and provides supplemental insurance coverage, but only while the app is on. Here’s how it works: When the Uber app is off, a driver is covered by their own personal car insurance. When the Uber app is turned on, a low level of liability insurance becomes active.

    • JohnH

      Breaking news: many cab drivers are now Uber drivers….

      • anon

        Other breaking news: it doesn’t take much work or expertise to get a drivers license. The city is full of bad drivers. I’d bet one someone who’s doing it for money all day being slightly above average, tbh.

        • JohnH

          Where did I say all Uber drivers are former cab drivers? The previous poster mentioned Uber and cab drivers as being separate – I don’t think many people who’ve said they don’t feel safe with cab drivers, etc. realize many are Uber drivers just using their personal cars instead of an identifiable vehicle with mandatory security features. Not saying one is better than the others, but the notion of Uber drivers being hip 25 year olds looking for some extra cash is a marketing ploy more than reality, particularly in bigger cities.

  • anon for this

    OP again: just wanted to thank you for your help, support, and suggestions. No luck yet but hopefully something will turn up.

    • Anon

      Good luck!

    • JohnH

      Getting the police involved will get you much further. I wish you called 911 immediately. If you haven’t filed a police report, do so ASAP.

  • Robeet

    Sounds good, but in practice makes no difference. DC Police would have called an ambulance for you and perhaps looked for a way to cite you the cyclist for some moving violation.

  • Steve

    Uber drivers are quickly showing that they know how to drive more dangerously than D.C. cab drivers, who are a tough act to follow. The stopping anywhere, crazy U-turns, and worse behavior is beyond out of hand.

    Uber could control this by, for example, putting a link on the app to report bad driving observed.
    Why haven’t they done this?


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