What To Do After a Bike Accident
Many cities across the U.S. are starting to create bike lanes and cycling-friendly areas. While riding a bike is great exercise, it comes with risks – just like any other mode of transportation. If you are involved in a bike accident, your immediate actions may impact your recovery and future lawsuits. Here are some tips on what to do after a bike accident:
- Before assuming you are fine, take a few moments to slow down, catch your breath, and make sure you can feel all parts of your body. Many cyclists assume they are okay, stand up, only to bend over again in pain. Take your time getting up, stretching, and assessing any damage before getting back on the seat and pedaling away. Some quick tests including walking back and forth a few times, moving your arms in all directions, and looking up, down, left, and right to evaluate whether you have any pain. If you do, call for help.
- If you feel nauseous, dizzy, or see any blood, don’t move around too much. Wait for medical assistance. A quick way to check on whether you hurt your head is to look at your helmet. If it is cracked or bent, consider a checkup with a medical professional as soon as possible since some injuries take a day or more to show up. Confusion or disorientation are signs of a concussion so if you don’t know where you are right away, there’s a chance you have one.
- Once you have checked yourself out and concluded you don’t have any serious injuries, check the condition of your bike. Wheels tend to take most of the beating in bike accidents, but make sure your tires are holding air, that the wheels are true, and that there aren’t any broken spokes sticking out. Test out the brakes in case they have jammed up.
- Next, take a look at the position of the brake levers and shifters. It’s usually easy to push them back into place, but riding away without checking may cause you more problems! Assess any damage or misplacement of the chain, and ensure the saddle is firmly attached to the seat post. Finally, inspect the frame for scratches and cracks that may have occurred due to your fall because even minor cracks can cause more damage as your pedal away.
- To minimize the injuries sustained with bike accidents, prepare a basic bike kit – especially if you are riding in remote areas, or for an extended period of time. It should include a multitool, chain link, spare tube, and mini-pump. A few basic first aid supplies are also recommended – bandage and wrappings, for example.
If your bike crashes into a car, or gets hit by a car, you should go through the steps of a vehicle-to-vehicle accident:
- Call the police so they can take an official report. Do not attempt to negotiate with the car driver or entertain the idea of accepting money they may offer to fix your bike. You may not know for several days whether you have actually sustained injuries that cause sprains, whiplash, or joint pain.
- Give the police an accurate account of what happened, get the contact information for any witnesses, and swap contact information with the driver. If your accident is serious enough, consider consulting with an attorney to understand what your options are for recovering damages for your property, as well as any medical expenses.