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Bike Accidents: What to Do Following a Crash

Bicycle fatalities are serious incidents, and it can pay to be prepared should one occur.

According to the CDC, there were over 900 bicycle fatalities in 2013 and roughly 494,000 bicycle-related injuries. Even though only 1% of trips are taken by bicycle, bicyclists have a greater risk of being involved in a fatal crash than car drivers. These statistics are pretty staggering, so if you’re an avid bicyclist, knowing what to do if you’re involved in a bike accident is crucial.

There are numerous types of accidents that can occur between a car and a bike; however, according to Active.com, there are two types that are more common than the rest:

  1. “The left-hand turn, where a vehicle turns left directly into the path of a cyclist going the opposite direction. In this situation, the motorist often never even sees the cyclist until it's too late.”

  2. “The right hook, where a vehicle passes a cyclist who's riding in the bike lane or right shoulder going the same direction, then immediately makes a right turn directly into the cyclist's path.”

No matter the type, though, it’s important to make sure you handle the situation correctly so you’re not left in the dust.

At the Crash Site

Even if the accident and injuries are minor, it’s always a good idea to call the police. A police report will provide documented details of what happened in the bike accident so you don’t have any issues submitting an insurance claim later.

Two things commonly happen when a report isn’t filed:

  1. You realize later that your injuries were worse than you originally thought and you have trouble getting insurance to cover the medical costs.

  2. The driver that hit you decides not to admit fault and changes their story causing problems with insurance coverage.

Sometimes police are reluctant to talk with the bicyclist about the accident and only speak with the driver of the car. Make sure to push for getting your perspective and details of the crash and injuries into the report. If there are any witnesses willing to speak for you, get their names and contact information, as well. The more information you have the better chance you have of insurance covering damages to your bike and medical costs.

Seeing a Doctor

It’s extremely important to get yourself checked out even if you don’t think anything is wrong. Many people don’t realize the extent of their injuries until 24 hours or more after the accident. There’s a lot of adrenaline pumping through your body initially, so the pain often doesn’t surface until that adrenaline begins to wear off.

Also, having a record that you went to the doctor or ER immediately will help to acknowledge the fact that you were injured. Should you have any issues with insurance, you’ll have medical records to show as proof.

Recuperating Your Losses

If the driver was at fault, their liability insurance should cover any damages to your bike. Before you move your bike or any of your equipment from the scene, take several pictures of you, your gear, and the entire accident scene.

After an insurance adjuster looks at it, you’ll want to take your bike to an experienced bike repair shop to find out the extent of the damage. Smaller problems, like tiny cracks, can be missed by an amateur’s eye. The shop can write a detailed description of all of the damages and also determine if it’s safe to ride.

Hiring an Expert

Bicycle accidents can be incredibly traumatic and it’s often difficult to navigate through all of the legal issues that can arise. An experienced Colorado bicycle accident attorney can help you negotiate with insurance companies and advise you through the process. Contact Mack Babcock today for a free consultation.

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