1. Wear a Helmet
Make sure that your helmet has the correct sizing, to ensure that your forehead and back of your head are protected. This means it should be level on your head with an inch or less above your eyebrows and it should be snug but not obnoxiously tight.
2. See & Be Seen
The easiest way to be seen is to avoid riding your bike at night and if you must then it is important to wear a headlamp. Not only does this help vehicles be able to see you but it helps you see where you are going and other obstacles. Be sure to wear bright reflective clothing even during the day and to add a reflective design to the bike if it doesn’t have it already.
3. Where to Ride
Look at the speed limits on the roads you ride on and try to ride on ones with slower speed limits to protect from high-impact hits and allow more time for the driver to see you. Not only does the speed of the vehicle affect your safety but how many vehicles are on the road, if you are looking to prevent injuries, ride on roads that have less traffic and that will statistically lower your chance of getting injured. In addition to slower streets and less trafficked areas, ride on wide roads that keep you away from hitting the curb while still providing room between you and traffic.
If you know that there is going to be construction or work done in the area, take a different street to avoid any damage to your bike that could cause a malfunction resulting in an injury as well as the additional machinery and workers that add to the likelihood of an injury. As with driving and even walking it is best to not travel in snow, heavy rain, strong winds, or ice. Before you ride, take into account the weather and how it will affect your safety and visibility.
A few simple and cheap additions to your bike could save your life. Getting a light or reflective piece on the back of your bike can let vehicles passing you know where you are and where you are headed. Attaching a mirror to the front of your bike similar to a side mirror on a vehicle will allow you to see the vehicles behind you and assist you in turning without risking running into something in front of you.
Lastly, the bike, the same as your helmet, need to be adjusted to your body. You can do this by making sure you can straddle your bike with your feet flat on the floor, when you are sitting on the bike you should be in a position that gives you a fair amount of bend in your arms without forcing you to reach for the brakes. Your torso should form a 45-degree angle with your hips, and a 90-degree angle with your arms. While your foot is at the bottom of the pedal stroke, you should have a slight bend from your knee, reaching about 80-90% of full leg extension.
5. Keep Control of Your Bike
One of the best ways to steer clear of an injury is to take preventative and defensive action. Ride slow, alert, and patient, and assume drivers and pedestrians don’t see you on the road. This will help you stay safe and in the chance, you are hit by a car, liability would not be in dispute because you did everything in your power to avoid an injury.
What to Do if You are Hit by a Car While Riding a Bike:
1. Call 911
If you are able to call 911 then you should request police and EMS to arrive at the scene. If you are unable to, then have a witness or someone nearby call the police and request medical attention.
2. Take Pictures
Whether it is you, a witness, or a family/friend, make sure pictures are taken that thoroughly document the car, license plate number, bike, helmet, the scene, and your injuries, like bruises, scraps, and any visible blood. Then continue to document how these injuries heal over time to show any possible scarring.
3. Do not make a statement to anyone except the police.
After the police arrive be sure to obtain witness and driver information. When making a statement to the police make sure to document what exactly happened and if you can, write the event down in a witness statement. Don’t discuss what happened with the driver or with a witness only with the police and in your own words.
When EMS comes, make sure you tell them every injury and pain you are experiencing so it’s thoroughly documented. When your insurance or the driver’s insurance calls to take your statement it is best to consult with an attorney before giving any sort of statement with the insurance but especially with a recorded statement.
4. Seek Legal Representation
In order to protect your rights, put your best foot forward, and ensure the best possible outcome for your case, it is wise to consult with an attorney that understands the process and can walk you through what needs to be done according to insurance policies. Attorneys can help with giving statements, evidence, compensation, and legal processes.
5. Preserve Your Evidence
A common mistake people make is to throw away or fix broken equipment. It is important to keep the bike, attachments, helmet, and anything worn or used during the incident in case they need to be inspected. A picture is worth a thousand words but the actual bike that shows you had a reflective light on the back can tell the whole story.
Same with the actual size of the bike, a picture can only do an estimate of the size and it can be disputed but if you have the physical bike then there is no argument about its dimensions. Something as simple as the position of the dents on your bike can determine how a crash happened when the scene is reconstructed. Even though the helmet from the crash shouldn’t be worn again while riding a bike it is important to keep it in case of a trial.
6. Seek Medical Attention
A critical step to take after any collision when you are not at-fault but especially when you are hit by a car while riding a bike is to get medical treatment. This does not mean that you have to ride in an ambulance or even go to the ER but make sure that you are seen by a doctor, whether that’s a primary care physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist.
Medical providers are able to see and diagnose injuries that you might not have felt yet due to the adrenaline from the wreck. It is important to have your injuries recorded by a medical provider so that pain you get after your body has had a chance to react aren’t in dispute with the insurance later on. An injury that frequently doesn’t manifest itself to the injured party immediately is a concussion. Even with a helmet it is very possible to get a concussion when in a collision, so it is a good idea to get checked out with a medical provider to diagnose it and start treating you to prevent more trauma to the brain.
The most useful thing you can do to protect yourself while riding a bike is take action in adding safety attachments for your bike, wear a cool visibility vest and helmet, and take your ride slow. After getting in a wreck the next step would be to call police and seek legal representation.
Here at Johnson Livingston, we will take you and your case seriously. We offer free case consultations so see if we are the right fit for your case. We can even let you know how viable your case is, and you can count on us to take you and your case seriously. You can reach out to us here to schedule an appointment or give us a call at 801-948-9670.