In 2015 approximately 45,000 people sustained injuries in bicycle accidents. The previous year, 50,000 people were injured in bicycle accidents.
With more people seeking to reduce their carbon footprint by driving less, we will only see bicycle usage increase. With this usage comes the likelihood of bicycle accidents.
If you’re in a bike crash, you can take specific steps to protect yourself and recover quickly. Read on to learn more about what to do when you’re in a bike crash!
Before You Have a Bike Crash
Your success after a bike crash depends on what you do before you sit on the saddle.
Begin by riding within your limits. Bike crashes easily occur because a cyclist is riding in a dangerous place beyond that rider’s limits.
Start off by riding in safe places with friends. Take safe lines as you ride and stay aware. As you pedal from place to place, scan the area and have an exit plan.
This way when you see a car barreling through you, you know where to dive.
Also, always carry the right supplies. Make sure to always pack your phone. You can put it in your back jersey pocket or on a bike carrying bag.
Bring your identification with you in case you crash and are unconscious. Pack a snack and water bottle if you’re riding in a remote area.
If you do not do any of these things, do one major thing: wear a helmet. Your head is vulnerable, and you cannot replace the brain you damage in a bike accident.
Wear a helmet. It could save your life.
Immediately After a Bike Crash
Even when you’re extremely careful and do all the things right, you can still crash your bike. When this happens, keep a few key actions in mind:
1. Evaluate Your Position
When a car hits you or you have an accident in traffic, you could land on the road. Evaluate your position as much as you can.
And then, if you must move, move. Even if you’re in pain, try to get out of the way of traffic. Moving cars will not see a cyclist lying on the road.
2. Check Your Body and Your Mind
Do a quick evaluation of your body. Do you have a road rash? A deformed limb?
Evaluate your mind as well. You may want to punch the driver of the car who just hit you. Refrain from doing this.
Physical and verbal retaliation will come back to bite you, so keep your distance from the driver of the car in the accident.
If you are calm, talk to the driver to obtain his contact information and insurance information. You will need this later.
3. Call Authorities
Break out that phone that you stashed, and call 911. Even if you do not think you need medical help, you need a police officer so you can file an accident report.
Do not assume guilt verbally. Even if you think you might be at fault, do not say “this is all my fault” ever from the start. Let the authorities sort out what happened based upon their interviews.
You will need a police report for your insurance. So ask for a copy of it after the police have finished their job.
Be aware that often police officers have a skeptical eye toward cyclists. They tend to think the road belongs to the motorists and the cyclist probably made a mistake. Stand up for yourself and focus on making sure the police write down your side of the story.
4. Accept Help
You might feel fine initially following an accident. However, adrenaline tends to mask injuries.
The most common bike crash injury is a clavicle break or collarbone break. A concussion comes in a close second, especially if the cyclist is not wearing a helmet. Road rash is also common and needs special attention to help you avoid infection.
If you fell on your bicycle, have your abdomen checked for internal bruising. Many a child has sustained abdominal bruises and internal injuries due to handlebar bruising.
If the paramedic on the scene insists you take a ride to the hospital to get checked out, go to the hospital. Doctors can run diagnostics tests to identify any lurking problems that may arise later.
5. Take Pictures
After you’ve finished calling authorities, use your waiting time to take pictures. Take pictures of your bicycle on the scene so you can send it to your insurance agent.
Some homeowners’ insurance will cover bicycle crashes, so prepare yourself with as much information as you can gather at the scene.
Take a picture of the car or cars that you crashed with. Take a picture of your injuries if possible as well. You never know what images you will need for proof.
Sometime After a Bike Crash
After you’ve been released from the hospital and brought your broken bicycle home, see out an attorney. Look for a specialty attorney such s a car accident lawyer.
While you may want to contact your lawyer, an accident lawyer knows the laws best that will serve you. You will need an attorney to help you pay for the rehabilitation from injuries and the loss of your bicycle.
If your bicycle is your only means of transportation, you will need to replace it quickly.
As time goes on, continue to go to follow-up appointments with your doctor. Watch out for lingering injuries.
Finally, get back on your bicycle. Some cyclists suffer from a form of PTSD after crashing their bikes, and they never ride again.
If you enjoy the exercise and are physically able to cycle, get back on your bike. Recruit a friend to keep you company. Go to a counselor if necessary to help you find the freedom to ride again.
When you know what to do after a bike crash, you can ride with confidence and not fear. Run through the list periodically as you prepare to hit the road on two wheels.
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