Although bicycling trips represent only 1% of all trips taken in the US, around 1,000 cyclists die each year in road crashes, and 130,000 more cyclists report mild to severe injuries.
Undoubtedly, using your bicycle to commute to the office, explore nearby towns on your weekends, or keep fit and healthy is an excellent option.
However, given the risk involved with bicycling near trafficked roads, it is important to learn how to avoid accidents and what to do in case you become a victim of a crash.
Here is what you need to know.
Remain on the Scene – But Make Sure Everyone Is Safe!
After an accident, it is essential for all parties involved to remain on the scene until the accident report is completed and all evidence has been gathered.
This is equally important for the driver, who might be found guilty of a hit and run otherwise, and the cyclists, who should stay to prove their version of events.
But while it is key to remain at the scene of the accident, it is even more important to ensure that everyone is out of harm’s way while waiting for the police or emergency services.
That is why you should move yourself and the other people involved off the road and secure the area from income traffic.
Get in Touch With Your Insurance Company
After an accident, you might feel scared, overwhelmed, and light-headed.
And, even more importantly, you might be more badly injured than you think. That is why you should find a safe area to sit, breathe, and gather your thoughts.
The next step should be to get in touch with your insurance company. Whether you are enjoying a bikepacking trip or you are simply commuting to work, having an insurance policy can help you deal with the financial aftermath of a road accident.
Pro tip: Don’t try to negotiate with the other party’s insurer or attorney – let your own insurance company and lawyers liaise on your behalf!
Make Sure No One Is Injured and Provide First Aid if Necessary
According to statistics by the Census Bureau, over 800,000 are estimated to bicycle to work on a daily basis.
But while this is certainly a positive shift, it is important to keep in mind that city roads have never been as busy as they are today. Because of this, becoming injured in a road accident is more likely than ever.
So, the first step is to assess whether you or other parties involved in the accident are well.
If someone is injured, you might be able to provide first aid, but you should not think twice about contacting the local emergency services.
Call the Police, Record Your Version of Events, and Gather Evidence
The next step is to call 911 and wait for the police to arrive on the scene.
This is important even if you don’t think you have been hurt, as some mental and physical injuries might only become apparent days, weeks, or even months after the accident.
While you should not admit any fault when answering the questions asked by the police, you might take advantage of this moment to gather evidence about the accident and write down the contact details of the other parties involved.
What’s more, the police will complete the accident report, which might be used in a court of law as evidence.
So, take the opportunity to offer your version of events and collect evidence such as photos!
Contact a Local Bicycle Accident Lawyer (e.g. in Seattle) if the Accident Was Someone Else’s Fault
If you don’t believe you are at fault, you should not think twice about seeking professional legal help.
Working with an attorney can help you safeguard your rights and obtain the compensations you need for the mental, physical, and emotional damages that the accident might have caused.
When choosing an experienced lawyer, you should opt for a local professional who is familiar with the state’s laws and local legal system.
For example, if you have been involved in an accident in the Seattle area, you should consider hiring a bicycle accident lawyer based in Washington.
Adopt Some Best Practices To Stay Safe While Cycling
Although cycling on highly trafficked roads always involves a certain level of risk, there is a lot that cyclists can do to avoid falling victim to a road accident.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Always wear a helmet
- Wear appropriate clothing, footwear, and protection gear
- Increase your visibility while on the road with high-visibility clothing and refractive details
- Kit your bike with sound and visual clues to alert other motorists of your presence
- Always cycle responsibly and on designated cycle paths
- Avoid cycling in low visibility areas, on highly trafficked roads, or while under the influence.
If you do get involved in an accident, the best thing you can do is to surround yourself with experienced legal professionals who can help you safeguard your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.