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BOTD 04-26-2017 Scratch and Dent Sale of a Car Door - An 18Smacked Production

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Skater

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Bransom Postmaster
Scratch and Dent Sale of a Car Door
An 18Smacked Production


Your 12 year-old son, Zane, was at a house about halfway down your block when he came to you to tell you that he was at his friend's house (his friend is Nathan and Zane parked his bike on its kickstand about two and half or so feet from his friend's mom's car, along with two other kids' bikes. From what you could determine, there were two other bikes also in that area, and they all somehow came down against the side of her car, scratching and denting the door in the process. It is kind of hard, if not impossible to say which bike had scratched and which had dented the door- in fact, it is impossible.

Zane - 12
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You go to the house, see the mom, and take pictures of the door, and indeed, it is a car about a year old and the door is clearly dented with a long and deep gouge in the paint all the way down to the metal. Your son's bike was parked on its kickstand. You can't figure out what caused this pile of three bikes to come down on the car door. (You do see that one of the bikes does have a kickstand that wiggles around in its position in a hole in the frame, but you can't tell if that was a direct cause for that bike to fall down.)

The mom is naturally rather upset, and so is your son. So, where do things stand with each of them? And, is your son in trouble?


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Jack

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I'm honestly a bit unsure of what the problem is. Has Zane been told not to park his bike there? To whom did the other bikes belong? Why did Zane come home to tell me about this? (And honestly, how well do I know this woman - that does not sound like a mark from a bike bumping up against it)?

Unless Zeke either disobeyed and parked where he had been told not to, or unless he deliberately caused this damage, I just don't see the issue.


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Y Lee Coyote

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Deputy
Zane certainly get praised for immediately reporting the issue to deal with.  It is certainly good to avoid problems with adults about damage.

But, like Jack, I am puzzled about this.  A light weight kid’s bike falling over should not dent a car door.  And what could have caused a scratch -- one needs something sticking out and that would be inconsistent with a dent.  Should I mention that the protruding handle bars have non-scratching grips?

Who discovered the problem?  Was there a racket?  If they were playing inside or in the backyard then was anyone else about (such as a stranger that caused the bikes to fall by hitting them with something heavy)?

Y.

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AFinch

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Sherrif
I'm pretty much with Jack. It clearly sounds like an accident, and it doesn't sound like the damage to the car is consistent with the supposed mechanism.

If this is a late model car, surely Nathan's mom has comprehensive insurance.

Adric

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Cowboy
I guess I'm with Jack on this one. I don't quite see how this concerns Zane, unless Nathan's mom comes to me with a specific accusation. The degree of damage seems a bit much for a bike tip-over, and having all the bikes fall over at the same time stretches the imagination (unless they were somehow in a domino configuration). I'm not going to get involved, and I will tell Zane not to admit responsibility for the damage. If he is accused, call me and I'll take it from there.

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Adric wrote:The degree of damage seems a bit much for a bike tip-over, and having all the bikes fall over at the same time stretches the imagination (unless they were somehow in a domino configuration).  

I had a friend who had a bike with a "trick" kickstand; the bike would seem t be parked steady and then, after a point in time, would suddenly fall down without warning. Many times, it would be in a position where, when it fell, it would cause another bike or two to go down with it.

Only by sheer luck did we avoid scratching a car or doing damage to anything of significance. (I sure don't remember any of us ever saying that we needed to be very careful where that bike was being parked.)

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18Smacked

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Cowboy
Y Lee Coyote wrote:
 And what could have caused a scratch -- one needs something sticking out and that would be inconsistent with a dent.  Should I mention that the protruding handle bars have non-scratching grips?

Y.

My friend's bike also was missing the grips on his bike; it was a "beater" bike which was great for running through fields and dirt roads, etc- he did not worry about the bike getting beat up any more than it already had been abused.

And, it seems to me that the seats- especially the old "banana seats" for example do "stick out" a fair amount, and, if the cushioning is not maintained, there could be a scratch and maybe even a dent, particularly if there were a few bikes going down together in a group.

Just sayin'....

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Jack

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Cars these days are made a lot different from how they were made when I was a kid, but I've actually ran into a car, while I was going full speed, and not left a dent.

Also, while I know pictures with BOTDs are meant to help the setting, not (usually) give explicit details, it doesn't seem to me like my kid would be driving a beater bike like that (and the scenario does specifically say a friend's bike has troubles).

I think Zane and I will have a talk about where to park - and I'll make him do most of the talking about what's safer, but I really don't see this as even our problem, much less a punishment situation. On the other hand, I will take pictures of Zane's bike (that will have today's date) to show that there's no real way his bike could have caused that damage without a lot of help.


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MemoryMan

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Sherrif
If Zeke had parked his bike almost a yard away and if it had hit the car any damage would have been to the sill rather than the door.

I'm going to thank Zeke for coming to inform me straightaway, tell him he did the right thing and that if the woman approaches him directly to deny his bike could have caused the damage and to refer her to me.

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squarecutter

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Sherrif
Such a dent as described would surely have paint marks from whatever knocked it, Also I'd be surprised if the bike that caused it didnt sustain some damage as well.(car paint transferred to the bike) That will be checked. So I'm not sure I'm buying the story as told. However it is Nathans mums problem first and I will sit tight. If she wants me to pay for it she can prove to me it was Zanes bike and I will need to check Zane was actually at fault, either through negligence or an act of vandalism

Kat

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Editor Extraordinaire
Zeke isn't in trouble. If we can determine his bike was wholly or partly responsible for damage to the car, I'll file an insurance claim or reimburse the woman either in whole or part for repair. I don't want Zeke's friendship to end over this, but I want a plausible reconstruction for how his bike could have caused damage. This isn't something that can be worked out on paper, so my answer has to address contingencies.

Anyway, the main question is, to my mind, should Zeke face punishment? The answer is a simple no.

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