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Old 07-29-08, 03:28 PM   #1
blgaither
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What to do if you're involved in a bike + car accident?

I've read a lot of threads in many forums where people describe themselves being involved in an accident with a vehicle while biking on the street. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that it's a concern of mine every day I ride to work, but I continue to do so because I love it.

However, if I am hit by an automobile, what should I do? Gather name, address, insurance, etc... Do I call his insurance? Do I call the police? What happens if he drives away?

Let's assume that I'm not unconscious from the accident. Is there a standard list of things to do that seasoned bikers can post here?

Thanks in advance! If it makes any difference, I live in Los Angeles.
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Old 07-29-08, 03:32 PM   #2
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I'd say once this is answered completely, it should be included in the sticky "Advice for New Commuters" unless it already is. I've never read through it...
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Old 07-29-08, 03:46 PM   #3
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Call 911. That is unless you are unhurt and able to resolve things to your satisfaction with the driver. So... call 911.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:09 PM   #4
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Call 911. That is unless you are unhurt and able to resolve things to your satisfaction with the driver. So... call 911.
And even if you think you're unhurt and your bike is undamaged, get all their information, including vehicle description and plate. If they can't produce license and registration, call 911. If you turn out to be hurt later, you're going to be SOL without that information.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:12 PM   #5
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Get a copy of "Bicycling and the Law" - it's got very good information in it.

Since I was hit on 6/23 (and have to go to court on 8/18), I'll add a few of my own (and things that should have happened that day):

DON'T MOVE ANYTHING (including yourself, if you hit the ground hard). Don't want to aggravate an injury. Also, don't let the driver move his car until the scene has been documented/and the police have arrived.

Keep a cell phone camera with you and take pictures of the locations of everything before it gets moved.

Get names/addresses and phone numbers of all witnesses. Don't expect the police to do it. I'd even go as far as recording their version of events.

Know your traffic law - If anyone gets cited, know who should be cited and why.

If you are hurt at all, go to the ER. If you don't go to the hospital, the driver's insurance company may claim that you refused treatment.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:14 PM   #6
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Also, if you hit your head on anything, took a blow to the abdomen or neck/spine, then that should be an automatic 911 call no matter how you feel at the time. I'm an EMT and it's amazing to see how "good" people feel immediately after an accident, but 10-15 minutes afterward when the adrenoline wears off they start realizing how much they hurt.
Also if the other driver leaves the scene without stopping to offer help etc call 911. In CA that makes it hit and run which most of the time is an arrestable offense.
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Old 07-29-08, 04:17 PM   #7
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Also....no matter what the driver says to you that day, expect their story to change once they leave the scene. Once they realize that they're in deep do-do, they may claim that you were weaving in and out of traffic, or ran a traffic sign/signal.

When I go to court, I fully expect that's what my driver is going to say......unfortunately for him, my Garmin Edge 305 says that I was fully stopped at the sign for 10 seconds before proceeding (while I was waiting for cross traffic to clear or stop). So, while his story and mine will differ, mine is backed by hard data. (and the law as well).

That's why documenting everything at the scene is so important. If you have a helmet cam or digital camera, that will help lock down the stories. I'm going to start carrying one or the other (or both).
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Old 07-29-08, 05:03 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. I often forget that I have a recording device as well as a camera on my cell phone. Would love to get a helmet cam, too! I think I read your post a week or so ago about getting into an accident. I guess that was you, I'll have to look. I have a Garmin GPS watch, but I haven't used it to its full potential yet. I suppose when I start a new ride I could begin recording my route and do the same as you did with your data.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:01 PM   #9
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No matter what call 911. If someone has damage to themselves or the bike just call 911. You always want a police report regardless of how small the damage/injury.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:31 PM   #10
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I definitely agree this should be a sticky-I was in an accident a week and a half ago, and I treated it very flippantly. The rider wasn't malicious, but it's still difficult wading through trying to get the bike replaced. Another question is how to deal with insurance to replace the bike: It was a built up bike that I did. How should I request funding and document a replacement? Thanks for the suggestion of Bicycling and the Law-I'll have to check that out.
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Old 07-29-08, 07:57 PM   #11
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I just bought an OS ATC2K video camera and an Argus Bean caribiner 5MP digital camera. The OS will go either on the handlebars or on my helmet, and the digital will go in the bag. If I'm in an accident, I can even interview witnesses at the scene (provided I'm up and walking around). I'll have all the info on the helmet cam.

It's probably like polar bear repellent - once I have these, I'll never have any need to use them, but that's just as good. I'll at least be able to record some rides and even do some POV recording when we go to Universal Studios this fall......
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Old 07-29-08, 08:05 PM   #12
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No matter what call 911. If someone has damage to themselves or the bike just call 911. You always want a police report regardless of how small the damage/injury.
+Infinity
Always always always get a police report. Otherwise it is your word against theirs or witnesses. Witnesses can forget things or change their story and that person who you had an accident surely will do whatever they can to get out of it once they leave the scene.

A recent accident where someone rear ended me, swapped information with me and then I reported the accident to insurance. Suddenly the accident happened more then 2 weeks earlier then it actually did. Why? Because the driver had just switched insurance companies so her new insurance denied the claim. Without a police report it was in their best interest to find absolutely any way not to pay <ramble ramble ramble>

Get a police report!
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Old 07-29-08, 08:28 PM   #13
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Never admit fault (my insurance card says this on the back).
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Old 07-30-08, 04:14 AM   #14
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Uhhh Maybe I missed it but GET THE TAG NUMBER make and model first in case they take off.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:53 AM   #15
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Uhhh Maybe I missed it but GET THE TAG NUMBER make and model first in case they take off.
You did miss it. Worth repeating though.
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Old 07-30-08, 07:38 AM   #16
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PRE-WRECK
keep an an accident kit in a ziplock bag.
Mine includes a sharpie pen for writing a tag number down on my arm before I forget it and a ballpoint pen
an index card to write down info
a cheap 35mm disposable camera
4 4x4 gauze dressings and a roll of cling gauze and two nitrile gloves
Some car manuals have a form to fill out for post accident recording. I suspect most insurance companies have a similar form that can be downloaded from their websites.
I also use an oregon scientific atc2k video recorder on all my commutes because if I'm incapacitated or worse I want want there to be a record of what actually happened. Right now it's on my handlebars, but I plan to add a rear-facing one as well. It adds 30 seconds to my commute to turn it on and remove it from my bars when I get to work.


POST-WRECK on scene
call 911 even if you're not hurt. You'll want a police report.
Don't inflame a situation with arguing as it won't solve anything.
Be very careful about what you say and preferably limit your conversation to the LEOs and witnesses.
Get witness names and numbers
Get the PO's name, badge number and business card
Get the driver's make, model, tags, driver's license and insurance info, and the name of the street and nearest intersection
If you have a cell phone that can do video, record witness statements on the spot and record the scene.



POST-WRECK afterwards
seek medical attention
get two estimates on bike repairs and replacement
seek legal representation from a personal injury atty, preferably one who is familiar with or represented cyclists. I think you can get a list from the League of American Bicyclists and several also advertise in Bicycling magazine.
document everything and keep all paperwork

Last edited by littlewaywelt; 07-30-08 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 07-30-08, 03:02 PM   #17
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So I see here so far 2 people have decide upon the Oregon Scientific ATC2K Waterproof Action Camera.

A quick www.cuil.com search revealed this review: http://www.digitalhooligans.com/blog...k-camera-test/

He is not happy with the image quality, but posted 2 videos, and they look fine to me. But is very happy with its durability.

Would this OSATC2K cam be the Air Zound of the Bike Cam world? Or is it just a co-ink-a-dink that two BF Forum members picked it and posted it on this thread?

It looks to be a pretty good choice and rugged enough to take daily punishments. I also like the multiple operating system support and the idea of being able to play it on a TV, you know for the judge as an example...

I do like the idea of two, one for the back, would you mount it under your seat facing backward or do you have a better spot in mind?
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Old 08-04-08, 11:05 AM   #18
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Yeah, thanks for referring me to the camera. I've been thinking about looking for a camera like that for a while now. Looks to be a great match for my needs if I can get the 2 gig storage. I've got over an hour commute and from what I've read I need the 2 gig if I want to get that much recording time. Can anyone confirm? Good list of things to do as well, littlewaywelt.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:21 AM   #19
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No matter what call 911. If someone has damage to themselves or the bike just call 911. You always want a police report regardless of how small the damage/injury.
+1. I regret not involving the police when a car hit me.
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Old 08-20-08, 10:40 AM   #20
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So I just got in a accident this morning that left my bike in 4 pieces, myself unresponsive. I came to on the way to the hospital in a ambulence. The person stuck around and filed a police but I really don't remember anything so feel I am in a bit a tough spot. I think she pulled out right in front of me from a stop sign but like I said, the whole thing is a haze. How do I defend myself if I can't remember anything?? What should I expect to get out of her insurance (assuming see is held responsible and has some). Hard because I have no insurance company to get my back on this one.
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