Cycling is becoming more and more popular. With population increases, urban growth, and a growing greater concern for eco-friendliness, alternative modes of transportation are at an all time high.
While biking is great for the environment and often times a more convenient way to get to where you are going; there is one part of biking that is often overlooked. Bike safety is incredibly important. Since cars are the most traditional mode of transportation, a lot of people don’t often think of biking as having the same rules of the road.
Cyclists are entitled to many of the same rules, regulations, and safety precautions as drivers of motor vehicles. Besides the obvious wearing a helmet and protective gear advice, it’s extremely important to know your rights of the road in your specific state.
Cyclists are more vulnerable to injury due to traffic accidents for obvious reasons. That’s why it is of the upmost importance to know your rights and what to do if you’ve been involved in a bike accident.
A bike accident isn’t all that different from a motor vehicle accident in terms of procedures. However, since it is a less common occurrence, this is all the more reason for a cyclist to know their rights and what steps to take if they have been involved in an accident.
Call for Emergency Help if Needed
If anyone involved is seriously injured, the first step is to call your local emergency service and find help or ask someone around you to call for help.
Notify Your Local Authorities
If injuries aren’t deemed immediately life threatening, your first step should be to call the police. Even if everyone seems ok, injuries may show up later. Filling out a police report protects everyone from any injury that may arise and require hospitalization or medical attention. Having a police report also protects you if a lawsuit or insurance issues were to arise later on.
Obtain Personal Information
While waiting for the authorities to arrive, you should make sure to get the other party’s information. Depending on the information it should generally be name, insurance carrier, phone number, license plate, etc. Make sure you see proof of the more important information.
Ask someone to see an actual insurance card or license. If there are any witnesses at the accident try to get their statement as well. The driver might try to bargain with you to keep it off the record with the insurance company; it’s important you don’t allow them to do so.
If something serious arises down the road from the accident, you are left dealing with the repercussions alone.
At any point before you move the bike, make sure you take photos of anything damaged by the accident, so you have proof for insurance claims. If you can’t document it visually, ask the police to record the damages in their report.
Once the police arrive, they will question the parties involved and fill out an accident report. Remember to be as thorough as possible as it will be your most official record.
Once you are done with the police, it’s important to see a physician even if your injuries are minor. You can’t know they won’t turn into something more severe down the line, and you don’t want to be stuck paying for hospital bills because you were neglectful.
Contact A Professional
If you were injured at all, it’s also a good idea to consult an attorney. You don’t know that you will need one, but in the case of bike accidents it’s better to be safe than sorry as the insurance lines tend to be in a bit more of a grey area and you want to be protected.
You shouldn’t have to pay for an accident that wasn’t caused by you. Make sure you stay in good contact with your insurance companies afterwards. Don’t repair any damage done as that should be done by an insurance carrier.
In most cases, an insurance agent will come out to assess the damage and make sure you are properly taken care of for covered damages. Likely your bike accident insurance is covered by a home or personal property policy and /or personal health care.
After you’ve followed all of the necessary procedures to secure your health and safety, you need to get in contact with an attorney who is familiar with bicycle law. This will ensure you the financial stability you need in order to make a complete recovery from your accident.