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Southlake teenager keeps riding bicycle after accident

11/05/2012 4:19 PM

11/05/2012 4:47 PM

SOUTHLAKE--Getting hit by a car hasn't deterred Kyle Polanski from riding his bicycle to Carroll Senior High School every day.

Polanski rides 40 miles a week, including more than 3 miles each way to the school, in addition to running 70 miles a week for Carroll's cross country team.

But the accident has taught Kyle and his father, Brady Polanski, about the laws that protect cyclists and how one insurance company handles collisions between bicycles and vehicles.

Kyle, a junior, was riding westbound on the sidewalk in front of the school on Sept. 19. As he approached the driveway in front of the school's main entrance, Brian Shuck, a parent, pulled out to make a right turn onto Southlake Boulevard.

The two collided, sending Kyle over the hood of the white Honda. His bicycle flew out into Southlake Boulevard.

Kyle's helmet cracked and his bicycle's front tire bent from being thrown into the road, but he wasn't injured. It cost an estimated $400 to repair the bicycle including a new front tire, pedals, speedometer, new brakes and a new helmet. His initial fear that the bicycle would be a total loss was relieved when a bicycle shop was able to repair it.

Brian Fitzgerald, the school resource officer at the campus, filed a report stating that both driver and rider assumed the other would stop and both pulled forward.

According to Fitzgerald, Shuck, who declined to comment for this article, initially said he would pay for damages to the bicycle.

When Shuck filed a claim with Geico, his insurance company determined he wasn't "legally liable for damages" because Kyle was riding on the sidewalk and "failed to yield the right of way," according to a Sept. 24 letter from Amanda McCorcle, a Geico agent.

Brady Polansky said Geico told him bicycles can't travel against traffic on a sidewalk.

Fitzgerald said that's not true and that the sidewalks are designated as multi-use trails and include bicycles.

Kim Leach, spokeswoman for the Southlake police, confirmed that bicycles can travel in both directions on the sidewalk.

Brady Polansky fought Geico's decision. On Oct. 4, Geico followed up with a new offer to pay half his claim.

Polansky declined, saying it's the principal of the matter. He said he wants Geico to admit they failed to thoroughly investigate and handle the claim properly.

Christine Tasher, Geico's public relations director, said in an email that Geico continues to work to resolve the claim and declined to further comment.

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