Spring has sprung. If you haven’t already lugged the bike out of the garage and hit the road, it’s about time. Unfortunately, as healthy and wholesome of an activity as biking is, it comes with hefty risks. We here at McCormick & Murphy personal injury law firm in Colorado offer three tips for avoiding bicycle accidents, as well as a few pointers on what to do if you are, unfortunately, involved in one.
Let’s avoid accidents, shall we?
It’s pretty obvious: Preventing a bicycle accident is the best course of action. Here are a few tips for making sure you get where you’re going safely.
- Eye contact is your friend. Make your presence known at intersections by locking eyes with drivers. (This is even more vital in the age of texting-and-driving.) If eye contact can’t be made, wave an arm, recommends bicyclesafe.com.
- Be shiny. According to a 2013 study of bicycle accidents in Australia, many drivers looked, but did not see, the biker they hit. Among injured cyclists who were involved in crashes during low-light periods, nearly two-thirds were not wearing reflective clothing. “We’re concerned that this means cyclists are making themselves more vulnerable by not being adequately visible to an oncoming driver,” a researcher told biking website road.cc.
What’s more, in 2015, most vehicle-versus-bicycle crashes occurred between 6 and 9 p.m., one of the darkest periods of the day, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute.
- Glow in the dark. Buy a headlight for your bike or a headlamp for your helmet. Reflective clothing is helpful and necessary but just may not be enough. “Headlamps (mounted on your head or helmet) are the best because then you can look directly at the driver to make sure they see your light,” bicyclesafe.com advises.
When tragedy strikes
You did everything right. You wore a helmet, purchased reflective clothing, mounted a headlight on your bike and did your very best to make eye contact. And you were still hit.
It happens all too frequently.
In 2015 alone more than 800 bikers were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute — up 13 percent from the year prior.
What should you do (and avoid doing) when tragedy strikes? Here are a few tips.
- Get off the road. If you can move, get out of the way of oncoming cars as soon as possible.
- Take a picture of the license plate. If you’re able to take a picture of the license plate of the car that hit you (or at least memorize a portion of it), it will help both police and your case. (Never put yourself in further danger to do so.)
- Limit interaction with the driver. Some people are forgiving by nature. That’s a great way to be. Just don’t put that part of your personality on display in an accident situation. Perhaps the driver who hit you says something like, “Man, I am so sorry. I didn’t see you.” Absolutely do not reply with something like, “You know, I could have been more careful too.”
Never. Admit. Fault.
(It’s very unlikely that you’re to blame for the accident anyway.)
- Contact a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. Bicycle accidents are serious business. Without a vehicle to shield them, bicyclists are much more vulnerable to catastrophic injuries.
Your best bet?
Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Have them assess your case. It won’t take long, and it won’t cost you a dime. Reputable personal injury lawyers don’t collect unless they win your case. Becoming a victim at the hands of a careless driver likely left you feeling vulnerable, and rightly so. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone had your back while you focused on recovering?
Many tips that apply to those injured in car accidents apply to this situation, too. Check out our handy checklist here.