What steps should bicyclists take after an accident involving a car?

This year, avid cyclists have been joined by many new bicycle riders on North Carolina’s roadways. The New York Times reported that sales of leisure bike sales increased by 121% this spring. Despite this increase in riders, the roadways are not necessarily safer for bicyclists. Crashes with motorists can leave beginner and experienced cyclists alike unsure of what to do.

First, contact the authorities.

After an accident, you and the driver of the motor vehicle should call the police and wait for them to arrive. Reporting any injuries or property damage ensures that there is a record of the accident and its impact.

However, it is important to remember that the officer who arrives at the scene may not have training in investigating bicycle crashes or in bicycle law. Because of this, they may take a motorist’s experience more seriously than a bicyclist’s. Make sure that they take your statement, and report as much information as possible, including seemingly minor injuries.

Get the contact information of the motorist and any witnesses.

Just as you would in an accident between two motor vehicles, exchange contact information with the motorist. This information should include:

  • Name
  • Phone number and address
  • License plate number and make of the car
  • Driver’s license number
  • Insurance policy number

You should also record the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident.

Documents the accident with as much detail as you are able.

While the police will record your statement, you should also keep a record of the accident. Take pictures, if possible, to document the crash scene and any injuries you sustained. Write down any information you remember. You should also preserve any evidence of the collision, including damaged or bloody clothing and damaged bicycle parts.

Get medical attention.

A bicycle leaves its rider relatively unprotected, and symptoms of severe injuries like traumatic brain injuries may not appear for days after an accident. Your injuries may seem minor, but you should still seek medical attention after an accident. Getting medical care allows doctors to assess your injuries and create a record of the harm caused by the crash.

Consider speaking to an attorney.

Your recovery after a bicycle accident may depend on the financial support you receive from an insurance company or a lawsuit. An attorney can help you explore your legal options, negotiate with insurance companies and get you the support that you need to recover.

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