Developing a habit of riding a bike can be good for your health, your bank account, and even the environment. However, be extra cautious whenever you are using that two-wheeler because a bike accident can be devastating.
The aftermath of an accident can leave you shaken and bewildered. You may get disoriented from the incident and become unsure of what to do next.
Making a mistake in that scenario can be costly in more ways than one. Find out what you should and should not do by going through this article. Learn the steps you need to take following your involvement in a bicycle accident so you can protect yourself better.
What To Do After a Bike Accident
Taking the right course of action after being involved in a bicycle accident is a must. Do something wrong, and you could jeopardize your health or miss out on the compensation you rightfully deserve.
For this section of the article, we have highlighted things you need to do after the accident. Commit them to memory so you can avoid being in a compromised position.
- Call the Police
The first thing you need to do following the accident is to call the police. You need the police officers to document the incident, talk to witnesses, and get statements from the involved parties. The police officers can also cord off the accident scene to preserve it.
You should also call the police if you need medical assistance since they can call an ambulance to get you the emergency care you need. Avoid moving around while waiting for the police and the paramedics to prevent further injury.
Later, the police will also write a report on the accident to note everything they know about the accident so far. You will likely need that report when the time comes for you to seek compensation.
- Do Not Negotiate with the Motorist
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, the driver who hit your bike may come over to check on you. They may try to help you up or ask if you are okay. They may also apologize and say that the accident was their fault.
The responsible party may also offer you some money so you can get your bike repaired. They may even say that they will purchase new equipment to replace the items damaged. No matter how appealing their offer sounds, do not accept it.
Do not bother saying anything related to compensation at all to the motorist who hit you. Instead, tell them that they can talk to the police officers when they come and not leave the scene.
It is hard to tell what the driver’s intentions are, but you should not trust them. They may try to avoid a larger payout because they know they are to blame for the incident. Nothing good can come from negotiating payments at that point, so avoid it altogether.
- Preserve the Accident Scene and Any Evidence in Your Possession
After reaching the scene of the accident, the police officers will look for anyone who is hurt. Once they have helped anyone who needs it, they will work out what happened. That is why you should avoid doing anything that can taint the accident scene.
If you are well enough to get up, go ahead and move to the side of the road. However, leave your bike and any pieces of equipment that flew off right where they are. Leave them where they are so the police officers can account for them in their reports.
You should also ask the officers if you need to hand over any equipment as evidence. If they say you do not need to hand anything over, you should hold on to them instead. Do not wash or throw them away yet because they could be evidence down the line.
- Gather Information and Evidence at the Scene of the Bike Accident
You do not need to sit idly by while waiting for the police to arrive. During that time, you can also work on gathering evidence yourself. The smartphone in your possession should prove handy.
Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene. Take as many as you can and record videos if you believe they can be helpful to recall important details if they happen to slip from your mind.
You can use your phone to list the details of the driver who hit you and any witnesses. Ask for their names and contact numbers so you or the police officers can reach them later.
You can try talking to the witnesses yourself to get their account of the events. Record what they are saying during your conversation. Hand your recordings over to the police so they can investigate further.
- Speak to the Responding Police Officers
The police officers should now be at the scene of the accident. That means you should now start talking to them. Approach the police officers because they can sometimes let their bias show in that kind of situation.
They may spend the next few minutes listening to the driver make their case while paying no attention to you. During that time, the driver can take control of the narrative and pin the blame on you. Prevent that from happening by taking the initiative.
Go to the police officers right away and start sharing what you know. Give them any pieces of evidence you have gathered up to that point. You should also take that opportunity to provide a statement.
Providing a statement is necessary because the police officers will attempt to piece together what happened. To do that, they will need some guidance from the parties who were involved. You cannot expect the driver to own up to everything, so you need to share your side as well.
The police report may include conflicting details because of the different statements you and the other provided. Do not worry about that for now; the police can sort it out later as they continue their investigation.
- Seek Medical Attention
Depending on your condition following the accident, this step could move up in order. Many of the injuries people sustain from these collisions are easy to identify. The pain radiating from a broken bone is impossible to ignore, and any wounds or scrapes will be visible as well.
However, some injuries are not readily apparent. Brain injuries are notoriously hard to identify. You may already be experiencing the symptoms of a brain injury without knowing it.
According to this article from Bicycling.com, your helmet can offer clues regarding the current condition of your brain. Inspect your helmet to see if it is bent or cracked. If your helmet’s in bad shape, there is a good chance your brain was injured somehow.
The same article also recommends settling down after the accident. Try to relax for a while and see how you feel. You may only start to feel the aches and pains after the adrenaline has worn off.
Going in for a check-up after being involved in any accident is highly recommended. You can never be too sure about your health, so consult with a doctor to give you a clearer picture of your condition.
- Avoid Negotiating with the Motorist’s Insurer
Earlier, we mentioned that negotiating with the driver is a big no-no. No good can come from that, so it is not worth even engaging the other party. We can say the same for potential dealings with their insurer.
You can expect a call from your other party’s insurer soon after the accident. They will be checking to see how open you are to negotiating a settlement. They know you are probably dealing with some medical and repair bills, so they are looking to capitalize on that.
Regardless of how appealing their offer is, hold off on engaging with them. Insurers are primarily looking to protect themselves. They will try to entice you into accepting an offer that is well below what you could win in court.
Note that you can receive compensation not only for your medical and repair bills if you win your case. You can also receive lost wages, pain and suffering, and numerous other damages. Do not forfeit your chance to receive fair compensation by taking what the insurer offers you.
How to Avoid Being Hit on Your Bike
Many drivers need to be more cognizant of the fact that they are sharing the roads with cyclists. That will be key to cutting down on the number of accidents. Until that time comes, you can take some extra precautions to protect yourself better.
Detailed below are some of the top tips for staying safe on the road while using your bike:
- Make Yourself Visible – Drivers cannot avoid what they cannot see. Add lights and reflectors to your bike so it is easier to see in low-light conditions. You should also wear bright or reflective clothing at night so drivers can see you without any issue.
- Add a Noisemaker to Your Bike – Bicycles usually do not come with horns included so add one yourself. Use that horn to alert any nearby motorists to your presence. You can also add a bell if that is all you have.
- Go with the Flow – Many cyclists want to move however they want because the bicycle offers freedom. Resist that temptation because it can lead to accidents. Always follow the flow of traffic to avoid potential collisions.
- Avoid Swerving – Swerving in and out of lanes can push you to the head of a pack. However, that can also make you more susceptible to accidents because the cars behind cannot predict how you are moving. Crashes can occur while you are swerving on your bike, and you may be the one to blame for it.
- Maintain Your Distance – Sticking too close to cars is not a good idea if you are using a bike. If the car suddenly stops or turns, you may not get out of the way because you were riding too close. REI.com suggests staying about four feet away from the closest vehicle, so you always have ample time to react.
- Try Not to Ride on Sidewalks Too Often – Sidewalks can present cyclists with a way to squeeze out of traffic, but you should avoid using them as much as possible. Drivers are not used to other vehicles coming out of sidewalks. When they turn, they may not realize you are coming and crash into you.
- Do Not Pass on the Right – Whenever you find yourself positioned between a right turn and a car, always allow the car to pass first. Passing ahead of the car while riding on the right can lead to them turning right into your bicycle. You should either wait for the car to pass or pass to their left to avoid that problem.
Get in Touch with Experienced Bike Attorneys Today!
We hope that the tips in the previous section will help you ride safer and avoid accidents moving forward. Unfortunately, we cannot control or predict how other drivers act. Even if you do everything right while riding a bicycle, an irresponsible driver can still crash into you.
Dealing with the injuries you sustained from the bike accident is hard enough. Couple that with the legal aspects of what happened, and you can get overwhelmed easily. Allow us at Breakstone, White & Gluck to help you out during that trying time.
We will start working on your case as soon as you get in touch with us. We can handle the dealings with the police, the other party, and their insurer while you focus on your recovery. Feel free to contact us whenever you need legal experts on your side.