Safety is just as important for cyclists as it is for motorists. No matter how careful you are on the road, accidents can happen anytime. You may find yourself involved in a minor or major crash at one point. In fact bicycle accidents are on the rise. NHTSA reports 966 cyclists killed in collisions with motor vehicles in 2021 and 108 of those deaths occurred in California.
Knowing what to do if you find yourself in an accident can alleviate the stress and pressure. You should also be aware of your rights regarding cycling accidents. This guide will bring you greater peace of mind and help you gather the critical information you need.
Do Not Leave the Scene
Never leave the scene of the accident. Both you and the driver are legally required to wait at the scene. This is especially the case if there are injuries or damage.Wait for the authorities to arrive even if you do not have any injuries. You may not realize that you have an injury until later that day. It is also impossible to track down the motorist if you leave the scene.
Speak with the Driver
This is a good time to speak with the motorist and exchange information. Do not be willing to negotiate with the driver if they accept blame and apologize. You might realize the extent of the damage or injuries from the accident. If you give them the upper hand, the driver could change their mind and deny the crash.
Get Driver’s Information
During this time, you should exchange information with the motorist. Exchange the following information: address, driver’s license, insurance policy number, license plate number, name, and phone number. You should also write down the contact information of any witnesses on the scene.
Document What Happened
Document the entire accident in great detail in a notebook or journal. Do your best to describe the events and what led up to the accident, even if you are at fault or not. Record when and where it happened, traffic and road conditions, and the weather. If possible, draw diagrams of the scene involving the crash. Make sure to include details such as street names, signs, and traffic lights. A phone is beneficial to your case, as it can provide more evidence. Use the camera to document the scene, including any injuries and damage.
File a Police Report
Make sure the authorities get all the information about the crash as well. Most of the time, the police are more concerned about the well-being of the motorists rather than the cyclists involved. List injuries in the police report, even if they appear minor. You can never be sure if an injury develops into something major later on. If for some reason you can submit a statement at the scene, request to include it in the report later. Write down the accident report number, so that you can modify the report.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as you finish these steps. Do not wait another day to go to the emergency room. If you only have minor injuries, get a written evaluation from your physician. Take pictures and document your injuries in your journal as time goes on.