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  1. #1
    robots in disguise beppe's Avatar
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    Bike Accidents, Evil Drivers, and Making Yourself Useful

    A couple of threads active right now regarding bike/car accidents reminded me to make this post.

    ****

    Over the course of 2 months, I was a witness to two serious accidents in SF, one at about Folsom and 9th and the other Folsom and 7th. The second one was a red light runner that missed the light -- which was on a delay! -- by a good two to three seconds. In that case, my life was essentially saved by a friend of mine who shouted not to move -- the driver ended up nailing a motorcyclist in a pickup. My WAG is that he was going about 30-35 mph at the time, and if he had hit me instead, I would have been seriously injured, if not killed, even though I was wearing a helmet. During the same time there were a number of everyday scrapes and near misses as well.

    ****

    I know that in an emergency, your instincts can take over. However, remember that tending to the victim is more important than catching the perpetrator. To that end, if you see a serious accident:

    1. Call 911 immediately. This should be obvious.

    2. Do not move the victim, or help him/her sit up. This is for spinal injuries, including the neck, that can result in paralysis or quadriplegia.

    3. Follow the next steps, as best you can remember them, of treating to victims as a first responder. There are links below.

    4. Stick around and give a report to the police. I know it's cool to hate on the police in some quarters, but they're around to make your city a safer place. This is morally obligatory in my mind -- tell them what you saw, so that they can do their jobs. (Ok, end rant.)

    ****

    Most states, including California, have "good samaritan" law, in which you are legally protected as long as you try to help someone in a reasonable manner (i.e., not with leeches or quackery).

    I also recommend carrying a pen that will write on your skin in an easily accessible location. Mine's in the outer pocket of my bag. That way, for things like license plate numbers, you can easily write them down and then attend to the accident victim.

    ****

    Clicking any of the links in this sentence should bring you to providers of basic first aid information.

    FEMA (yes, I know) also offers some online classes to make you a better first responder.

    Please think about looking through some of this, or taking a class (via the Red Cross or other organization) in first responder training. I hope you never have to use it, but you very well might.

  2. #2
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beppe

    4. Stick around and give a report to the police. I know it's cool to hate on the police in some quarters, but they're around to make your city a safer place. This is morally obligatory in my mind -- tell them what you saw, so that they can do their jobs. (Ok, end rant.)
    i agree. keep in mind that this may help the victim later on as well with regards to court cases, insurance, settlements, etc. it's not just paperwork for the police.

  3. #3
    So I says to Mable I says somnambulant's Avatar
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    In addition, go take a basic first aid course in person! Even if you don't renew your certification, you'd be surprised how much information you'll retain. Helpful for helping others as well as yourself.

    I took a bunch of first aid training when I was a ski patroller about 8 or 9 years ago, and I still remember a great deal of it.

    Sometimes approaching the HR department (or something similar) at your place of work can nab you some company-sponsored training as well.

    Great topic!
    -Milpool

  4. #4
    Senior Member brunning's Avatar
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    as someone involved in a bike-car accident recently, i'll add:

    if the driver stops and is cooperative (i.e., it's not a hit-and-run), make them stick around till the police arrive. it'll make the police report a lot more credible and complete if the police can verify all information with the driver and get their info on the report.

    if possible, record the license place number, make, model and color of the car. get the driver's name, phone number, insurance provider, policy number and contact number for the insurance co.

    getting the insurance info down the road can be a real pain (as i learned).

    if you have insurance or if your state has no-fault auto insurance coverage, don't refuse a medical check, even if you seem unhurt.

    get the name, address and phone number of your witnesses. the insurance company will ask for this info.

    start the insurance claim immediately, even if you don't have the police report number or all info put together. the insurance company will get to work asap and then fill in the blanks later.

  5. #5
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brunning
    start the insurance claim immediately, even if you don't have the police report number or all info put together. the insurance company will get to work asap and then fill in the blanks later.
    you seem to have better human beings working for you. the insurance company i'm dealing with at the moment (the driver's) is terrible. we're 6 months into it and still no reasonable settlement has been reached.

  6. #6
    i believe in me evanyc's Avatar
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    also, kinda common sense but common sense flies out the window often in moments of panic... get the drivers info directly from his/her license. dont ask them what their info is, see for yourself.

  7. #7
    Senior Member soyboy's Avatar
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    also the red cross first aid video has a bike messanger in it, they don't say it but he's got a messanger bag with a radio attached and it's from like 1990, fairly rad

  8. #8
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    If you are a witness and can't stick around for whatever reason, at least give out your contact info and make sure you are giving it to someone lucid who can get it to the victim when needed.

  9. #9
    live free or die trying humancongereel's Avatar
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    bump, since everyone's getting hit lately.

  10. #10
    likes avocadoes
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    heh, like that info would fit here...
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan
    you seem to have better human beings working for you. the insurance company i'm dealing with at the moment (the driver's) is terrible. we're 6 months into it and still no reasonable settlement has been reached.
    this is exactly what lawyers/legal-advice-centers are for. The other guys' insurance company is in the business of NOT giving you money. While I have a strong dislike for most personal injury attorneys and their methods, I'd take a dozen of them over a defendant's insurance claims office any day. They will get you all that you are entitled to, will front money (if necessary) for medical bills, and they are generally paid by the other guy's insurance company. You can go to a local community law center and get a reference to a good 'honest' personal injury lawyer (non ambulance chaser.)

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