According to Statista, over 47 million people hit the road as bicyclists in the United States. Bicycling has grown over recent years as an enjoyable hobby, type of exercise, and effective form of transportation. Bicycling is good for your health, your wallet, the environment (and it’s simply fun)—so it should come as no surprise that this activity is so popular.
However, riding your bicycle does not come without risks. In 2015 alone, there were over 45,000 accidents between bicyclists and motorists, and regrettably, hundreds of these proved fatal. Bicyclists are especially vulnerable on the road because, even with a helmet, they have very little protection against motor vehicles traveling several times faster than their bicycles. Because of the inherent risks, bicyclists should practice safe riding habits and obey all traffic signs and laws.
However, even the safest bicyclists may still be involved in an accident due to no fault of their own. Many motorists may fail to see bicyclists or give them the appropriate amount of space on the road. So, if you are involved in a bike accident, what should you do?
After ensuring that you’re safe and you’ve called 911, you shouldn’t wait to reach out to a professional bike accident attorney. When in doubt, Call Paul. The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm is dedicated to fighting for the rights of those involved in bike accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, and many other types of personal injury cases. Even if you believe you may be partially at fault, we’re here to show you your options and educate you on the steps to take after an auto accident. We can help you find medical assistance, navigate your insurance company, and determine if your case is entitled to compensation.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A BIKE ACCIDENT
1. Get to safety.
This may seem obvious, but the first thing you should do following a bike accident is to get to safety. Depending on the severity of the accident, this may be difficult. But if you’re able, you should move yourself and your bicycle to safety. Clearing the road will help to make sure that another crash doesn’t occur.
2. Call 911.
Once the scene is safe, call 911. Paramedics will respond to the scene and provide any necessary medical attention. Additionally, police will arrive to ensure everyone’s safety and to file an official police report. Even if you believe you may be at fault, you should never hesitate to call the police.
3. Exchange information.
While waiting for the police or paramedics, use this as an opportunity to exchange pertinent information with anyone else involved in the accident. You should exchange insurance and contact information, but don’t feel pressured to share more information than necessary.
4. Obtain a police report.
This is an important step. When the police arrive, they’ll speak with you and anyone else involved in the accident. They may even speak to any eyewitnesses. They will then file an official police report. Receiving a copy of this report may be a critical component of your court case. When determining fault, the court sees the police report as one of the most reliable and objective pieces of evidence.
5. Collect evidence.
In addition to the police report, you should gather as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. If in the future, you intend to pursue legal action, this evidence will be critical for your case.
6. Seek medical attention.
If you suffered injuries from your bicycle accident that require immediate medical attention, you should make this your top priority. Regardless of police reports and evidence, your health is the most important thing to consider following an accident.
7. Call your insurance.
Notify your insurance about the accident. However, try to avoid agreeing to anything final before having the chance to collect research and reach out to a professional bike accident attorney.
8. Avoid any negotiations.
Whether with your insurance company or the motorist, you should never enter into negotiations (or accept any agreement) before you fully understand the situation and your rights.
9. Call a bike accident attorney.
After you’ve spoken with the police and your insurance company, it’s time to reach out to a professional bicycle accident attorney. Even if you don’t plan to pursue legal action or believe you were partially at fault, a Denver bicycle accident attorney can provide an invaluable asset: information.
An attorney specializing in this type of personal injury case can educate you on your options and help you determine the best path forward. Many will even work with you to help you access any necessary medical treatment. Additionally, if your case warrants it, a bike accident attorney will ensure you receive full and fair compensation for the accident.
STATISTICS ON BIKE ACCIDENTS
In 2018 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), over 800 bicyclists were killed in traffic accidents in the United States. Data also indicates that while bicyclists’ deaths have decreased since the 1970s, they have increased by nearly 40 percent since 2010. Experts also believe that as more people see the benefits of bicycling, including saving on gas, improving your health, and cutting down on harmful emissions, these numbers may continue to increase.
To make our roads safer, researchers, engineers, and politicians use data and statistics to better understand bicycle accidents to ultimately make our roads safer. Here’s a look at some important bike accident statistics to help keep you safer on the road—as both a bicyclist and motorist.
- Annually, 2 percent of deaths caused by motor vehicles are bicyclists.
- Child bicyclist deaths have declined, but deaths for bicyclists 20 and up have tripled since 1975.
- More men die in bicycle accidents than women.
- Florida, California, and Texas report the most bicycle accidents.
- 75 percent of bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas.
- Bicyclist deaths occur most often during the hours of 6 and 9 PM.
HOW TO AVOID BICYCLE ACCIDENTS
When taking your bike out on the road (even if it’s just around the block) safety should be your first priority. Motorists and bicyclists, in addition to pedestrians, have a shared responsibility to keep our roads safe. Here are a few practical, common tips on how you can avoid bicycle accidents:
- Keep up with your bike maintenance.
- Wear bright, reflective clothing (even during the day).
- Obey all traffic signs, laws, and regulations.
- Tuck your shoelaces in your pants or socks so they don’t get caught in your chain.
- Ride with the flow of traffic.
- Always assume that drivers don’t see you.
- Avoid listening to music or using your phone while riding.
CONCLUSION – WHAT TO DO AFTER A BIKE ACCIDENT
We hope you never find yourself or a loved one in a bicycle accident; however, you should be prepared and know what to do if one does occur. Receive the appropriate medical attention, receive an official police report, and gather as much evidence from the scene as possible. While you may be scared after a bicycle accident, these steps could prove critically important if you pursue legal action.
If you or a loved one is involved in a bike accident, you shouldn’t be worried about how you’re going to pay for your medical bills, recoup lost wages, or fight your case in court. Because our primary concern is getting you the compensation you deserve, our law firm operates on contingency fees, which means we only get paid if you win. Call the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm today and get a free consultation to see what options are available for you and your case.