Bicycle riders are particularly vulnerable when they are riding in areas with automobiles. While automobile drivers are protected by a metal cage wrapped in steel, bicyclists are completely vulnerable should they collide with a car or truck. Most riders are careful and watchful around motor vehicles, but bicycle/automobile accidents are still too common.
In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 800 bicyclists died in a motor vehicle crash in 2015, a 12% increase over the previous year, and 45,000 received injuries in a motor vehicle crash.
With numbers like these, it is important to know what to do if you become involved in a car or truck accident when on your bicycle. Here are seven steps to keep in mind.
If you are not too badly injured, get out of the street as fast as you can. Accidents happen quickly, and oncoming traffic might not see you on the ground. You do not want another vehicle to strike you. Check your body to for cuts and lacerations, even broken bones.
Call the police and tell them that you are a bicyclist and have been injured in a motor vehicle accident. Request medical attention.
Ask the motor vehicle driver for his name, address, and insurance information. Do not discuss the accident. Do not admit any kind of quilt. Do not minimize your injuries. This can work against you if you should end up in court.
Get the name, phone number and address of witnesses. If you are not feeling well enough to do this, then ask someone nearby to do it for you. Do not, however, discuss the accident with witnesses.
Use your smartphone to document the accident. These pictures will come in handy if you go to court.
When the police arrive, tell them what happened. Be honest. Most states have laws regulating the right of way, distances between bicyclists and motor vehicles and more. Explain to the police why you are not at fault and request that the car or truck driver receive a ticket.
You might decide to file a claim with the driver’s insurance company. Before doing so, talk to a skilled bicycle accident attorney. The insurance company is not your friend and will do what it can to mitigate your claim.
If you are a bicyclist who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, then please contact us. Our team is standing by ready to assist.