In a Bicycle Accident? Here’s What to Do

Immediately

  1. Be safe, be smart.
  2. Stop as soon as it is clear, safe and legal to do so.
  3. If you’re uninjured, check on others.
  4. Call 9-1-1. Include the exact location (look at street signs, landmarks) and mention any injuries.
    • No cell phone? Ask a witness to make the call. Get their contact information in case the police or insurance company needs to speak with them later.
  5. Injuries? Explain the injury to the 9-1-1 operator and take advice from them.

WHN TIP – Safety: Keep safety in mind. Traffic may not see you until it’s too late. Do not stand in front of a pulled-over car; it may be hit from the rear.

  1. Leave as much of the scene intact as possible.
  2. Remain on site until the police arrive. Ask the other person(s), including witnesses, to do the same (medical emergencies notwithstanding).

If A Vehicle Was Involved

Having all of this information documented will help you if there is a disagreement. You do not need to wait for authorities to arrive to start writing things down.

  1. Don’t be shy. Ask bystanders for what you need: pen, paper (napkins can work in a pinch) and a camera or their cell phone to take pictures.
  2. Begin taking photographs
    • If someone is uncomfortable handing over their camera or cell phone, ask them to take pictures for you. Be sure to get their contact information (name, e-mail, phone number) so they can send you the pictures later. If they are using their phone, give them your contact information so they email or text the images.
    • Keep in mind that you want your photos to show the overall context of the accident.

WHN TIP – Listen and Write: Listen carefully to what the other bikers and drivers say about the events leading up to the accident, e.g. “I didn’t see you,” and write it down.

  1. When the police arrive, they may provide an accident form packet – the info may be similar to the fields below. If no officer is present or responding to the accident, use this form to jot down contact details and accident info. It includes this info:
  2. Accident
    • Date ________________________
    • Time ________________________
    • Location _________________________________________
    • Nearest Intersection _________________________________
    • Weather conditions __________________________________
    • Road conditions (bumpy, potholes, road signs and signals)
      ________________________________________________
    • Bicycle damage _____________________________________
    • Injuries __________________________________________
  3. If They Were Driving: The Car
    • Color ____________________________________________
    • Make ____________________________________________
    • Model ____________________________________________
    • License Plate Number _________________________________
    • Registration Number (VIN) ______________________________

WHN TIP – License Plate Number: Be sure to jot down the license plate number! If the driver provides false contact details, it’ll be hard to track them down.

  1. Write down info on the driver(s)
    • Name ____________________________________________
    • Address ___________________________________________
    • Phone ____________________________________________
    • E-mail ____________________________________________
    • Description (physical/other traits – ie., intoxicated, aggressive, helpful)
      _________________________________________________
    • Insurance company ___________________________________
    • Policy number _______________________________________
    • Name on policy ______________________________________
    • Agent’s name (if they know it) ____________________________
    • Passengers: Name/Address/Phone Contact Details
      _________________________________________________
    • Injuries ___________________________________________

WHN TIP – Who Are They? If the driver’s name is different from the insured’s name, find out the relationship between the two; get the name and address for both people.

  1. If possible, get contact information from witnesses
    • Witness #1/Name/Phone/E-mail
      __________________________________________________
    • Witness #2/Name/Phone/E-mail
      __________________________________________________
    • Witness #3/Name/Phone/E-mail
      __________________________________________________
    • Witness #4/Name/Phone/E-mail
      __________________________________________________
  2. Either you or someone on the scene should draw and photograph the accident site:
    • Streets, traffic signs, any obstacles in the road – anything that provides details of the accident
    • All directions of travel (for cars and bikes) and lane directions (one-ways, etc.)
    • Landmarks to help you later to determine where you came to rest.
    • Jot down any other important details that you think might be of use to you or the insurance company later.

When Authorities Arrive

  1. Once the authorities or medical personnel arrive on the scene, get (or ask someone to get) the following information:
    • Police Officer/Name/Badge Number
      __________________________________________________
    • Police Officer/Name/Badge Number
      __________________________________________________
    • Paramedic Name/Badge Number
      __________________________________________________
    • Paramedic Name/Badge Number
      __________________________________________________
  2. Ask the police for an accident report, you’ll want a copy.
  3. If an ambulance responds, get examined even if you think you are okay. Your condition can change, and refusing treatment after an accident can be used as evidence that you were not really hurt.
  4. No ambulance? Seek medical treatment on your own.
    • Tell your physician about the accident, what happened and how you felt afterward (even minor physical problems)

Later At Home

  1. Start an accident folder to store all receipts and documentation related to the accident. Keep copies of police reports, medical visits, repair receipts and so on. These will be important for insurance claim purposes and also for when you file your taxes.
  2. Call your home owner’s insurance agent to file a claim. Your bike may or may not be covered under that policy.
  3. Document the damage and take pictures of your damaged bike. Add these to your folder.
  4. Make an appointment to get an estimate for repairing your bike. You may need to purchase a new bike if the damage is considerable.
  5. Make an appointment to see your physician to be checked for injuries.
  6. Consider hiring a lawyer if needed.

WHN TIP – Store This: Print out our Car Accident-No Other Driver Involved and Car Accident-Another Driver Involved and bring it on your next bike ride (just in case!) Be ready for emergencies! Download the free RedCross first aid mobile app – just in case!


Remember …

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional legal or medical advice. These tips are from first responders, lawyers, insurance agents and people who have shared real-life experiences; always check with a doctor or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal or health-related decisions.

Thank You …

A special thank you to the industry professionals, lawyers, insurance agents, first responders and people who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.