Bicycling is becoming a more popular sport and leisure activity across the state. Many parts of the California enjoy sunny weather throughout the year which means cyclists are taking to the streets year-round for two-wheel transportation and exercise. Bicyclists must share the road with drivers and unfortunately, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of roadway collisions, including hitting bicyclists. Cyclists have an increased risk of being ii with a passenger, commercial, or government vehicle.
It’s very important to know what to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident because your actions will largely dictate the ultimate outcome of your claim.
Top Causes of Bike Accidents
The top causes of bike accidents aren’t surprising but they are sobering. Some happen when motorists are turning, pulling out, opening a door, or failure to make a timely, safe stop.
The tension between bikes and vehicles is evident on the streets every day, and as bike-sharing programs allow more riders to take to city streets, more angry – and injurious – confrontations seem inevitable. Cars do seem the more likely culprit since they’re bigger, more powerful, and sometimes at a disadvantage spotting the spindly cyclists who dart around city streets, where most accidents happen. —NPR.org
· The driver is generally unaware of the bike and/or does not look before pulling out. It’s common for a driver to make a right or left turn, never seeing a bicyclist. Often the cyclist does is caught off guard or does not have sufficient time to react.
· The open door scenario is one seen in the movies and television but it certainly isn’t a good real life situation. It happens when a passenger or driver opens a door just as a bicyclist is passing the vehicle. · One of the most common (if not the most) types of bike accidents are rear end collisions. These scenarios occur when a driver fails to stop at a safe difference. As a result, the vehicle’s front end careens into the rear of the bike.
What to Do if You are Involved in a Bicycle Accident
Make no mistake about it, a bicycle accident is serious matter. Because cyclists are generally in good health and physical condition, it’s easy to believe little to no harm can come from a simple bump or fender bender. That’s simply not true. Cars weigh substantially more and travel at greater speeds which leave cyclists and their bikes no match to an auto or truck in a collision. In the latest data available, more than 900 bicycle fatalities occurred and an estimated 494,000 bicycle-related injury emergency room visits in 2013, throughout the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the CDC warns, “bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.” So, it’s very important to know what to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident:
- Call the local police. Immediately phone the police after being involved in a bicycle accident. You need a police report to detail the scene and document the accident. This important document will be a go-to source if the driver’s story changes in the future. It’s also critical if you need to file a claim or sue the at-fault driver.
- Obtain the driver’s information. It’s important to remember to obtain the driver’s information, along with a police report. This includes his or her car insurance information, address, phone number, vehicle make and model, and license plate. If there are witnesses, get their information as well.
- Take photographs. Photographs can tell a lot about an accident and another way to document the scene. Make sure you photograph the car, bicycle, road and immediate surrounding area. Further, take photos of any visible injuries you incurred as a result of the wreck.
- Do not make statements about fault. When you are involved in a bicycle accident, or any kind of accident for that matter, it’s only natural to make statements admitting some level of fault, even if you just say “I’m sorry”. It’s human nature. Do not do make statements about your fault to anyone on the scene. Just gather driver and witness information, obtain a police report, but never admit any fault.
- Do not speak about your injuries on scene. Another topic to remain silent about is your injuries. Here again, it’s natural to “shake it off” and tell everyone you’re okay or your injuries aren’t serious. This is a huge mistake because those statements will likely come back to haunt you.
- Seek medical attention even if you don’t feel hurt. Even if you do not feel hurt or sustain visible injuries, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away. It’s completely necessary because it’s quite common for injuries to manifest days after. You need immediate medical attention for your health and to document any injuries you’ve sustained.
Cycling accidents can be complicated to sort through and you should contact experienced lawyers for help. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, it’s imperative to speak with a knowledgeable injury attorney as soon as possible to learn about your rights and possible compensation today. There are time limitations to file a claim and you need to act quickly.