Things To Never Do If You Have a Bicycle Accident
Biking is a fantastic hobby, way of staying healthy, and frankly it is a lifestyle too. Along with the joy of freedom and the feeling of air rushing by you is the danger you face. This is an unfortunate side effect and makes cyclists vulnerable to accidents due to bad or impatient drivers, weather conditions, road conditions or simply even just bad luck. Unfortunately these hazards are just part of riding a bike. While most people's reaction to a non-life-threatening accident would be to simply pick yourself up and keep going, here are five things you should never do if you have a bicycle accident.
As scary as being hit is, if you are able to move out of the road, you must immediately do so, as the risk of being hit again by a second vehicle is especially acute if you are down on the ground. If you can move your bicycle out of the path of traffic, it's a good idea to do so as long as you can complete this safely.
Apologize To the Other Party
Do not let the driver leave the scene of the accident, even if you initially believe you are unharmed. After an accident, it's very common for you to experience an adrenaline rush and you may not realise how badly hurt you are. Shock and embarrassment can combine to have you saying you are fine without realising that you've broken a rib or a wrist or have other serious injuries. Unfortunately, apologizing and in particular the admission of guilt could be used against you. This is true for court cases as well as with insurance claims.
Instead, calmly ask the driver to stay while you wait for police to arrive and take a note of their vehicle registration. It may also help to take pictures of the accident site and position of cars involved. If there are witnesses around, try to take their details or ask them to stay and talk to police also as your own recall of the incident may not be good. When providing testimony for the police record, stay objective and remember to avoid apologizing or incriminating yourself by mentioning that you were tired, rushing to get home or other phrases that may indicate your guilt.
Forget To Get The Other Party's Contact Info
In the whirl of everything, you may think that you don't need to call the police, but you must do so. Doing this is the first step in documenting the accident, which is incredibly important as it will form the later basis of any legal case and help your bicycle accident lawyer piece together an unbiased account of events. You are the only one involved who will have your own best interests at heart. At the same time, it's hugely important to stay calm and avoid confrontation, even if you're angry and shaken. Seeing red is not going to help the situation or your case later on. And don't jump straight on social media to vent, either. It won't look good for your case if you've been on your mobile phone and could be used against you, so wait a while before tweeting those cycling advocacy groups and transport accounts.
Forget To Take Photos of the Scene, Damages, and Injuries
The good news about technology today is that virtually everyone has a camera with them. Make sure that one of the first things you do is take photos of the scene of the accident, as well as any damages and injuries on your person and property AND the other party. Even in simply altercations, things can be misconstrued or exaggerated later and it is always good to have your own evidence should something need to be proven later.
Stop Enjoying Biking!
Just because you have an accident doesn't mean you should stop enjoying the freedom that comes with biking through a city or down a country road. Unfortunately, accidents will happen but as the saying goes ... pick yourself up and get back on the horse!
Protecting yourself when the worst happens isn't always second nature. Take some time to consciously memorise a process for an accident and you'll be a step closer to the best possible outcome in a collision situation.
- Written by James Hills
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