It is not surprising that bicycle commuters begin hitting the streets more often as winter melds into spring the Denver metro area. What is surprising, though, is the number of complaint letters to newspapers and over the airwaves regarding biker intrusions onto our roads. The fact is, bicyclists have the same right as motor vehicles on municipal streets, county roads and even state highways.
But with those rights comes responsibilities for following the laws of a motor vehicle, not picking and choosing between when to act like a pedestrian and when to follow the traffic laws. The large majority of bikers get it right; but the bikers who ignore traffic safety bring out the worst in driver attitudes, particularly in the spring riding season.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common types of injuries bike accidents involving motor vehicles and how to handle yourself at the scene of an accident involving a car.
Far and away the number one danger bicyclists face when riding in traffic involves right- and left-hand turns. As the saying goes, “The graveyard is full of people who had the right-of-way.” Particularly in the spring, after driving all winter without giving bikes too much though, car drivers fail to see — or fail to register — bikes coming down the driving lane. Cars often pull out into the open lane of traffic, often mere feet in front of a bicycle.
But the problem isn’t only with drivers. Bikers often fail to come to complete stops at stop signs before making their turns or proceeding through an intersection. Even when the driver sees the bike approaching, they have the right to expect the biker to obey the traffic laws. Many riders fail to do so.
Okay, you’ve been hit by a car. Now what?
According to Active, a website for cyclists and other outdoor sports enthusiasts, there are specific steps to take at the scene of an accident.
1. Absolutely call the police to the scene. Period. Whether you were totally or partially at fault for the accident or the other driver simply disobeyed traffic laws, you will need a police report in the event of an insurance claim by either you or the driver of the vehicle.
2. Never admit fault, either to the driver or to the police. Even tossing off a quick, “I’m sorry” as you pick yourself up may be taken as an admission of liability. Offer to exchange insurance and contact information with the driver, then tell the driver politely that it will be best to say nothing to each other and save it for the police taking the report. In most cases, the driver will likely agree with your, rather than get frustrated when you don’t engage in a discussion. When the police take your report, speak out of earshot of the driver, and don’t try to listen in on what the driver’s report, either.
3. Finally, if medical attention isn’t called to the scene, take it upon yourself to go to urgent care or schedule an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible to get checked out. Even road rash can get infected without proper bandaging. Most importantly, you will want to go through a concussion protocol, even if you did not recall hitting your head. The brain can also suffer damage from sudden deceleration.
Get legal help
After a bike accident injury, don’t assume everything will take care of itself through the insurance carriers. Talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer for representation when fighting for compensation for monetary damages.