Bicycling is one of the most popular pastimes in the United States, with approximately 13 million bicycles sold in 2013. Unfortunately, riding a bicycle can also be very dangerous. Bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and death than occupants of motor vehicles, in spite of the fact that only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle. Almost half (48%) of all bicyclist deaths occurred between 4 p.m. and midnight, and up to 37% of fatal crashes involved a driver or cyclist who had been drinking. Of course, riding at night is not completely avoidable, especially if you use your bike in your commute. Because of this danger, knowing what to do after a bicycle accident can be vital.
The most important thing to do after a car and bicycle accident is to make sure you are safe. If you are in a location where you are not in further danger, you may wish to take a moment to relax, catch your breath, and assess any damage to your person. Of course, if you or your bicycle are not in a safe place, you will want to move. Just be sure you remember where you ended up after the crash, so that you can give the police this information for their report.
Seek medical attention, either from paramedics or by taking yourself to the hospital. You may feel okay after the accident, but many small injuries can easily get worse. Symptoms of bicycle accident injuries, like a concussion, may take a while to show up. It is better to visit a doctor and have him tell you everything is okay instead of waiting and letting potential injuries worsen.
Before leaving the scene of the car and bike accident, take down information from the driver and any witnesses who may have seen the incident occur. Names, contact information, and insurance policy data are all good things to have. Be prepared to give your own information as well, and make sure you give your statement to the responding police officer for his report.
When you get home from the accident or hospital, document all damaged equipment and clothing. Wait to do laundry or repair your bicycle until you have photographs of what needs to be repaired. Lastly, one of the most important things to do after a bicycle accident is to contact a qualified bicycle injury lawyer. Make sure the attorney has experience with auto accident settlements as well as with bicycle accidents.
Hopefully, you will never have to use your knowledge of what to do after a bicycle accident, but even the most safety-conscious bicyclist can have a bad day.
Knowing what to do after a bicycle accident can save you a lot of time and headache in case the worst does happen.