I Just Got Hit by a Car While Riding My Bicycle….Now What?

As a cyclist, you have probably considered the possibility of being hit by a car while out for a ride. Maybe you have even been hit before – or you have had a few close calls. Fortunately, most cyclists avoid serious collisions while riding.

In fact, you are more likely to be injured as a driver or passenger in an automobile accident than on a bike. However, collisions do happen, and knowing the steps to take immediately following an accident is important.

Six Steps to Take After Being Hit While Cycling

There are 6 essential steps any cyclist should take immediately after a collision. These steps include:

  1. Move Out of the Street – If at all possible, you need to move out of the roadway and get somewhere safe. Avoid running or making sudden movements, as this may aggravate injuries you have just suffered. Ensure you are paying careful attention to moving traffic and proceed to the nearest safe space.
  2. Check Yourself for Injuries For the time being, do not worry about your bike. Move it out of the roadway and leave it be. Look yourself over for injuries like cuts, scrapes, and bruises. Pay attention to your body closely. Whatever you do – do not get back on your bike and leave the scene. Injuries often do not reveal themselves for a while after an accident.
  3. Remain as Calm as Possible – Call 911 – Many cyclists’ first reaction upon being hit is anger and frustration. Avoid yelling at the driver and call – or have someone call- 911. Not only do you want EMS at the scene in order to administer medical attention and transport you to the hospital if necessary, but you want a police officer to come record the incident and file an accident report. Remember, even if you are not feeling hurt immediately after the accident, injuries may reveal themselves as time progresses. You need to be evaluated by a medical professional, and you should be sure to follow the advice of such medical professional.
  4. Be careful what you say –Avoid talking about fault or discussing the facts of the case with people unless you are sure of what occurred. Even seemingly innocuous statements like, “I didn’t see him coming,” could be misconstrued as something like, “I wasn’t paying attention,” by insurance companies. Do not push blame, do not admit fault, and avoid talking about the specifics until you are giving your complete story to the police. Let professionals determine fault.
  5. Collect Information – This is an especially important step if you have injuries that will require medical attention or damages you should be compensated for. You want to let the police do their job and determine the at-fault party, but this does not mean you cannot be proactive. It is not unusual for a cyclist to be mistakenly ticketed, but DO NOT argue with the officer at the scene – save it for court. Take pictures, collect the driver’s information (view license and insurance documents to verify), and gather the contact information of any witnesses.
  6. Follow Up – You will want to speak with the police about the scene regarding the accident report (first, make sure they are filing one!). Be sure you have a plan for getting a copy of the report. In addition, if you have any injuries or damages, making a claim with the insurance company of the driver who hit you is prudent. You should also consider speaking with an attorney if your injuries are significant.

Getting hit by a car while riding your bike is freighting, even if you are not severely injured. Staying calm and remembering the key steps to follow in the moments following the crash can make dealing with the aftermath a whole lot simpler.

Hank Stout
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