Hit By a Car On a Bike?: How to Handle a Bicycle Accident
Biking to work or school saves thousands of pounds of greenhouse gases a year. We thank and respect those that do it for the future of our earth.
But not everyone respects bicyclists the way we do – just under a thousand bicyclists are killed by cars in accidents every year. That’s a lot of drivers who aren’t double checking their mirrors or looking in the bike lanes.
And yes – some of these are accidents that couldn’t have been prevented, but most of the time crashes are the fault of the car driver.
Scared that you’re going to get hit? Want to make sure you know what to do if it happens? Read our guide to bicycle accident must-dos below.
1. Get Out of the Way of Traffic
If you can move at all, it’s important to get out of moving traffic. Forget the bike – you’re the priority at this point. At the time of impact, your body wants you to survive. It’ll fill you with adrenaline to help you through the situation.
Use that adrenaline to move to somewhere close, but safe. The side of the road or a median, if there is one. If you’re too hurt to move and you can tell that immediately – don’t.
Traffic should notice a crash, but try to position your bike in front of your body (or whichever way the traffic is going) so that it’d get hit first.
Emergency professionals should be on their way to the scene. If you’re relatively okay – you can call them yourself. If there are onlookers or witnesses, yell at them and tell them to call 911.
2. Stay Calm
Stay calm?! You just got hit by a car!! We know – it sounds impossible. And your body is being rushed with brain chemicals that want you to do the opposite. But you need to breathe and put yourself first – before yelling at the other person.
Yes – we know you’re mad at the driver, but the more aggressive you are on-scene, the worse it is for your legal case. Wait until the police arrive to communicate with the driver – other than making sure they stay there.
And you have to make them stay there – even if you think you’re okay. It’s very common not to feel any injuries at the scene. That’s due to the cocktail of adrenaline and other brain chemicals we talked about before.
Even if you can’t find a scratch, make sure the driver stays until authorities arrive.
If they peel off, get their license plate number. Witnesses should stay, too. They have a duty to help and report on what they saw.
3. DO NOT Apologize or Admit Fault
This one goes for any kind of wreck, whether you’re driving two wheels or four. Never, ever admit fault at the scene. The moment you apologize or say something is your fault, the harder it’ll be to get a settlement in court.
If the other person is apologizing and admitting fault, just say okay or tell them you’re trying to calm yourself down and want to wait to talk. When the authorities arrive, you can tell them the accident exactly as you remember it and that the other person admitted fault to you.
4. Call the Police, Too
If authorities arrive at the scene, like firefighters or an ambulance – ask them to call the police. Do not leave the scene until police arrive.
Unless you’re very hurt and need immediate medical attention. In that case, you’ll have to trust the witnesses and the other person to do the right thing.
5. Take Pictures
You need to take pictures of just about everything around the accident site. Any traffic lights, bike lanes, visible injuries, the other car, damages to your bike, physical proof of the accident (like tire marks).
The more photos you have, the better your court experience will be. If the OJ case taught us anything, it’s that timely evidence is everything.
This is a strange tip, but don’t go on social media after you’re hit. Maybe you think it’s a great way to spend time waiting for the police or use it to calm you down, but it’ll backfire.
If you’re trying to prove that you were injured, stay off socials on the scene.
6. Get Medical Attention
Once the police arrive and you’ve given them your statement (which is a must!), get to a medical facility. The quicker you do this, the better. You could have a concussion, that, left undiagnosed, could lead to a stroke.
Or you could have damaged a joint that needs to be reset. Remember – your body is going to pump you full of chemicals to make you feel invincible at the scene.
Pain may not come until even the next day.
7. Contact a Lawyer
If you want a settlement or even the maximum payout from your insurance (or the drivers) you need a lawyer. They can help you with everything from drafting a letter to your insurance to representing you in court if need be.
Bicycle Accidents – How to Move On
Hopefully, you never have a bicycle accident and you can file this information away in your head as a “what if”. But even if you’re not in one, you may witness one. Then you can help the person in need at the scene.
If the worst happens and you’re the one injured, contact our firm, here.