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What to do after a bicycle accident

A collision with a motor vehicle when you are on your bicycle can put you at risk for property damage and severe injury. It can happen very quickly and leave your system flooded with adrenaline, making it difficult to think straight.

In the aftermath of a bicycle accident, you may not know what to do, and you may make mistakes that could end up costing you later. To prevent this from happening, Consumer Reports offers guidance on what to do, and what not to do, after a bicycle accident.

What to do

One of the first things you should do is call 911 to summon authorities to the scene. This allows you to file an accident report, which is important evidence you may need later. If you sustain an injury in the accident, 911 dispatchers can also send an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Even if you do not think you need an ambulance, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, especially if you start experiencing delayed symptoms.

You should gather all the evidence you can at the scene. You may be too hurt to handle this yourself, but a bystander may be able to help you. In particular, you should exchange information with the driver who collided with you. If the driver is uncooperative, at least try to get a picture of the license plate so you can give the number to law enforcement.

What not to do

The driver may attempt to negotiate with you, offering you money in recompense if you agree not to call 911. You may have injuries of which you are not aware at first and that may ultimately be expensive to treat. The out-of-pocket money that the driver offers may cover only a small fraction of the damages you sustain.

Damage to your bicycle is evidence that you need to support an insurance claim and perhaps an eventual lawsuit. Therefore, you should not have any repairs done until you reach a resolution.