What to Do After a Bike Crash

Renée Moore Tweet Us @bikearlington@bikearlington June 19, 2019
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Renée Moore is the Program Manager for BikeArlington. You can often find her dress billowing in the wind and leading bike expeditions to Arlington’s most awesome destinations.

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We hope that you never get in a crash, but if you do these tips will help make your journey to recovery a little easier.   

You’re biking to work one morning when you notice a person in a car up ahead. You are not sure if they just got in the car or they are about to pull out. You get closer. The driver opens the door. You realize in that moment that you are either going over the door or into traffic. Not a great choice. It almost feels like things are moving in slow motion as you collide with the door. The driver of the car looks shocked and you hit the pavement. They ask if you are OK and you jump up, adrenaline running and say, “Yeah, I think so,” and ride off to work not sure what you should have done.  

This hopefully will never happen to you, but in case it does, or if you witness it happen to someone else biking, here are some tips from Bruce Deming, the Bike Lawyer, on what to do.  

  1. Say “I don’t know.” Adrenaline is running high. You’re late for work. The last thing you want to do is stay and wait for an ambulance especially since you don’t feel hurt. So, when someone asks if you are OK, don’t say yes. Say, “I don’t know.” Then do number 2. 
  2. Go to a doctor. You have so many other things to do. But take some time to go to the doctor and make sure you are really OK. If you wait too long then find out that you are actually hurt, you may not be able to ask for medical expenses or lost wages if applicable from the driver’s insurance. And if you go to the doctor and find out you are hurt, do everything the doctor tells you to do: take the meds, go to physical therapy, get the MRI…and save all receipts. Keep a journal of how you feel. All of this will be useful later if the driver’s insurance company needs proof of your injuries.  
  3. Take lots of pictures. Take out your camera and take pictures of the car, the people around you, the grass, the street, your bike, etc. Take more pics that you think you need. And take pics from your angle on the ground. You never know what pictures will be useful later.  
  4. Call the police. Tell them that you were in a crash and you are not sure if you are hurt. You want them to come out and take a police report. Make sure you get a copy of the report from the police for your files. 
  5. Don’t talk to the driver’s insurance company. The driver’s insurance company is not on your side. Take time to call a personal injury lawyer and ask if they will help you. Most work on a contingency, meaning they only get paid if they win your case. So, there is nothing for you to lose. They can help you handle the driver’s insurance company so that you don’t say anything that could be detrimental to your case.  
  6. Get witnesses’ names. Make sure you get the names and contact information of any witness who saw the crash. Anything they saw could be very helpful to your case. 
  7. Get your bike checked out. After a crash, bring your bike to a shop and have it checked out. There could be damage, and this can be dangerous. Get it fixed and save the receipt in case you need it for later.  

We hope that you never get in a crash but if you do happen to, we want you to be as prepared a possible. Using the tips above will help make your journey to recovery a little easier.   

Want to find some comfortable routes to avoid as much car traffic as possible? Check out our Bike Comfort Map.

 Image credit: Bigstock photo

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