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What You Need to Do When You Are Involved in a Bicycle Road Accident

If you are a novice bicyclist, you must take an extra caution when you are sharing the road with vehicles.  The rules of the road is not the same when you are on the bike, espeically if you get into a collision against a car even if it's a tiny Smart Fortwo.

The most frequent type of intersection collisions, representing 9.7% of all intersection accidents, occur at intersections where the cyclist has a stop sign and the motorist does not.

After stopping at the stop sign, the cyclist then rides out into the intersection in front of a car that has the right-of-way. Absent other factors, the cyclist is at fault. Most of these accidents occur among riders younger than age 15, indicating that a young person's inability to accurately judge the distance and speed of approaching cars is the main factor in these accidents.

Second in frequency, representing 9.3% of all intersection accidents, is when the cyclist has the right-of-way on a street without a stop sign and the car approaches from a street that does have a stop sign.

After stopping at the stop sign, the car then drives out into the intersection, in front of the cyclist who has the right-of-way. Absent other factors, the accident will be attributed to the driver. If, however, the cyclist is riding against traffic (as happens in 60% of these sorts of collisions), both the cyclist and the driver may be at fault.

Other types of bicycle road accidents:

Bike's Failure to Yield

Representing 7.1% of all intersection accidents, this is the third most frequent type of intersection accident. The cyclist stops at the intersection, which may be either controlled or uncontrolled, and then rides into the intersection without yielding -- perhaps because she didn't see the car or misjudged the car's distance or speed. Often, the cyclist is young. In these accidents the cyclist is usually at fault.

Car Turning Left: The "Left Cross"

In this accident, the motorist and bicyclist approach the intersection from opposite directions, and as they enter the intersection, the motorist turns left, colliding with the cyclist. Usually the motorist doesn't see the cyclist or misjudges the cyclist's speed. In most cases, the driver of the car will be liable to the cyclist.

Car Turning Right: The "Right Hook"

There are several ways that accidents can happen when cars make right turns at intersections.

  • The car passes a bike as both approach an intersection, and then the car turns right at the intersection, cutting the cyclist off.
  • The bike passes a slower car on the right, and the car makes a right turn into the bike.
  • The car and bike are waiting at a light. The car turns right when the light changes, cutting off or perhaps hitting the bike.

So what do you need to do at the scene of accident?  The first one in the following list is the most important step for the sake of your safety.

  1. Get out of danger: If you are able to move, and are in a risky spot – say, in the middle of the road – get yourself to safety. If you're unable to move ask nearby people for help.
  2. Wait for the police: help. It is vital that you wait for police to arrive at the accident scene so that they can take and file a police report -- even if you think you are not injured. Some cyclists don't realize they've been injured until several hours after the accident. And sometimes seemingly minor injuries later develop into serious and permanent problems. If you leave the accident scene, you may never be able to identify the at-fault driver.
  3. Obtain driver and witness contact details. If possible, get the name of the automobile driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver's license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information. In addition, try to get names and contact information for everyone who witnessed the accident. Don't assume the police report will include all of this information -- it might not. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.
  4. Take pictures. Use your phone or a camera to take the photo of the accident scene from different angles at different zoom levels. A few snaps of the scene could come in handy later, especially if the circumstances of the incident are disputed. 
  5. Document your injuries: Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. The fact that you sought medical attention will serve as proof that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Have several photos taken of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Start a journal of your physical symptoms and make entries every few days.
  6. Get your bike checked out: You will probably need to take it to a shop to have it inspected.
Lastly, don't communicate with the insurance companies before consulting an attorney. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoiding legal pitfalls. In fact, most injury cases are settled without ever going to trial.

What You Need to Do When You Are Involved in a Bicycle Road Accident Reviewed by Blogs on 5:58 PM Rating: 5

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