I was recently asked to do a post about “salmoning.” For those of you who aren’t in the know (I had no idea), “salmoning” is a cute way to refer to the practice of riding your bike the wrong way down a one-way street. You’re going upstream, get it? Cute.
I would explain that it’s illegal for vehicles (including bikes) to go the wrong way in traffic, but I have the feeling that anyone engaging in this practice probably already knows that they’re breaking the rules. It might have something to do with the big signs that say “DO NOT ENTER,” or “WRONG WAY” at the start of their trip to the spawning grounds.
I have a very simple message to all those people: if you’re going the wrong way on a one-way street and you get hit by a car (which is extremely likely), there is nothing I can do for you under the law.
I fight with insurance companies over the liability of my clients all the time. It’s my job to explain to the adjuster why the driver they insure was the cause of the crash, how my client was in no way responsible, and why a jury would agree with me on that. If you were going the wrong way down the street when you got hit, you leave me without a leg to stand on.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating (hah). If you weren’t following the rules, a crash is your fault, and you’re barred from recovery. Sorry.
Those of you who are still planning to salmon on your bike, at least stick to rivers, streams and estuaries. I hear some of the nicer ones even have steps.