Did I do that?
If you hit a person on bike, it might not be your fault. A recent study shows that in San Diego alone, over half of the accidents involving bicyclists and motorists, end up being the cyclist’s fault.
Accident reports reveal that oftentimes the crash happens as a result of cyclists ignoring who has the right of way. Instead of stopping at red lights or stop signs, some cyclists ignore the rules of the road and fly through the intersection.
Whether or not you cause the accident, you must know exactly what steps to take. Medical bills, damages, legal costs, and more, can all arise from even the simplest of crashes. Minimizing an accident, or falsely accepting blame, could turn a bad situation into an endless legal nightmare.
Don’t wait for the worst-case scenario to happen to find out what you need to do. Read on to learn everything you need to do if you hit a bicyclist in your car.
Call Police First If You Hit a Person on Bike
If you’re driving a vehicle that hits a cyclist, you must wait for the police to arrive. Don’t try to negotiate any type of deal with the bicyclist, even if it seems like the accident was a minor one.
You should also keep in mind that while you might think the accident’s your fault, it’s possible the bicyclist was the one to cause the crash. After you hit a person on bike, call the police, and wait for them to arrive. When the police get to the accident scene, the first thing they’re going to do is get all of the facts to create their police report.
Stop Saying Sorry
It’s natural to want to comfort the bicyclist by telling them you’re sorry this happened or empathizing with them about how they must feel. Unfortunately, however, in today’s world, trying to comfort someone with a simple sorry, can be an admission of guilt.
Even if you’re certain the accident was your fault, the truth is you don’t know all the facts yet. Don’t say sorry to the bicyclists, and never say it’s your fault. Instead, let the police do their job of collecting the information from both you and the bicyclist involved.
When you’re talking to the police, keep your emotions at bay and just give them the facts. Give them facts like, where were you going, how fast were you driving, and what was the weather like when the accident took place. Facts will go a long way in helping law enforcement figure out who’s at fault in the accident.
Determining Fault in Bicycle Accidents
Many factors come into play to determine liability after a bicyclist accident occurs. If a bicyclist fails to follow the rules of the road, they could be legally and financially responsible for the entire accident.
Here are some of the ways a bicyclist can put themselves in harm’s way:
- Failing to signal
- No lights at night
- Riding the wrong way in a one way
If a bicyclist does any of the things listed above, they can be liable for the entire accident. When the bicyclists held liable, they’re responsible for their injuries, as well as any other injuries. Finally, at fault bicyclists will also have to cover any damages that happen to the other vehicles.
If the accident takes place at an intersection, the police will want to know who had the right of way. If the car had the right of way, the bicyclist will most likely be liable for the accident.
When there isn’t a traffic signal at the intersection, determining liability can become a little bit more difficult. Here are the things the police will consider to determine liability when there isn’t a traffic light:
- Person to arrive first has right of way
- If bicyclist and driver arrive same time, one to the right has right of way
- Traffic on the major street has right of way over minor streets
Whether or not you’ll be responsible for damages and injuries, all comes down to determining the liability. If law enforcement determines the bicyclist was even partially responsible for the accident, it’s possible they won’t receive any compensation whatsoever.
Immediately after the accident, check yourself for injuries before leaving your vehicle. Make sure you also check your passengers to make sure they weren’t hurt during the impact of the accident.
Keep in mind that in some cases, it takes hours or even days after the accident for injuries to surface. The shock of the accident can send adrenaline pumping through your veins, as well as the bikers, making it tough to tell if there are any injuries.
It’s also easy to underestimate the severity of an injury at the accident scene. While it may seem like the bicyclist only has minor injuries, over time they can turn into serious or permanent issues.
Get Medical Help
Since both you and the bicyclist could be severely hurt, we suggest always going to the emergency room for X-rays. If you, or the bicyclists, do have injuries, it’s a good idea to hire a bike accident attorney. If the bicyclist is at fault for the accident, your hospital report, along with the police report, will go a long way in helping you receive compensation.
If you’re the cause of the accident, it’s still a good idea to call medical services to the scene, even if the bicyclist says they’re okay. A hospital report that shows the driver wasn’t hurt after the accident could help protect you from false injury claims. While you can’t force the bicyclist to accept the medical care, call for an ambulance anyways and let the bicyclist refuse their help in person.
Drive With Confidence
Now you know what to do if you ever hit a person on bike while driving. Calling the police, and giving them just the facts, will go a long way in helping you get back out on the road again.
It’s our goal to help our readers live with confidence and certainty, by giving them the best information. Are you ready to learn more ways to prepare yourself for life’s road ahead? Go ahead and read another one of our articles, right now!