When riding a bicycle, your safety is of the utmost importance. When you’re on a bicycle, you have very little protection against other vehicles on the road and you are vastly outnumbered. While your defensive driving skills are imperative when riding a bicycle in an urban area, sometimes an accident can happen despite your best intentions.
If you are involved in an accident as a bicyclist, it’s important to remember the following steps to make sure that your legal rights are protected when a driver hits you while biking.
- Wait for the police
If you have been injured or there is property damage (which is most often the case with vehicle-bicycle collisions) then you must contact the police and are legally obligated to remain at the scene of the accident. Sometimes, you will not realize you have been injured until later. This is often due to adrenaline, which can inhibit you from noticing your injuries. If you leave the scene, it will make it more difficult to track down the motorist and you may also end up injuring yourself more as you make your way home.
- Don’t negotiate with the driver
At the time of the accident, the driver may apologize and take full blame, but they may change their mind later when the full extent of damages or injuries is revealed. For this reason, it’s important that you don’t start to negotiate with the driver or try to settle out of court. You should also be very careful of saying “sorry” or admitting any blame. Even if you are only trying to be polite, apologizing can be seen as an admittance of guilt. In fact, you shouldn’t talk about any aspects of the accident at all. Don’t mention how curvy the road was, how fast anyone was going, or not having seen the light change.
- Take lots of photos
Your smartphone is going to be an important tool in the aftermath of a bike accident. If your cell phone’s camera hasn’t been broken, you have to take many pictures of the accident as quickly as possible. Take pictures of the vehicle and any damage it sustained, pictures of your bike and its damage, and any injuries you may have. Also take pictures of the location of the accident, including the streets, the lighting, the road conditions, and anything else that may be important, such as hedges that may block sight or any road signs the driver may have violated. If you are too injured to take photos, ask for help from a bystander or witness.
- Find witnesses and get their information right away
Don’t assume that you’ll be able to find them later or that the police will find them when doing their report. Take the time to ask for their contact information and names so that your attorney can contact them later on. Also, ask them if they can stick around until police arrive and give a statement. If it’s faster, as for a picture of their license to get all their info at once if they need to leave.
- Preserve evidence
While your clothing, bicycle, or accessories may have been damaged beyond repair in the accident, it’s important that you keep anything you were wearing in the accident or carrying. Visual evidence helps the courts decide how much restitution you may receive. It will also help reconstruction specialists recreate the scene.
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