From the Files of Leonard Lundy: When Cars and Bikes Collide
Biking is one of the most efficient ways to get around in the city. It’s also one of the most dangerous, especially in areas of high traffic during the rush hour commute. At any given moment your bike could be rear-ended by a car or a bus or other type of vehicle. As unfortunate as it sounds, it does happen and it’s important to:
1. Wear a helmet
2. Know what to do after being hit.
Being located in Center City, we have many bike-commuting friends. Because of this, we felt it was necessary to put ourselves in their shoes and talk with the Lundy team to see if they could help guide us through that difficult situation of being struck on our bike when we least expect it:
Cyclist: Well… first reaction would be: “Ouch.”
Lundy Law: That’s reasonable. You’ve just been in an accident. No matter if it does not seem serious, do not leave the scene. Check for any injuries or pain and call 911. It’s important to get an official record of the accident from the police. You can never be too careful when it comes to a biking accident.
C: After that, I’d probably think: “This sucks. Why did I ever think riding a bike on these streets was a good idea? I’m going home to throw this Huffy away immediately.”
LL: Don’t automatically assume it’s your fault and ride/walk/crawl away ashamed. If you were proceeding straight in a bike lane and a car turns and hits you, it’s the driver’s fault. As long as the biker abides by the law of the road, the driver is at fault.
C: My next thought might be: “That’s OK, but I hope no one saw. That was probably still pretty embarrassing — not one of my finer moments!”
LL: Actually, you should hope that someone did see the accident. Get the driver’s license plate number, contact information and insurance information. Check to see if there were any witnesses to the accident and collect their contact information, as well. If you have a cell phone or camera on you, take pictures of injuries, your bike and any cars involved. Document everything!
C: Flashing red and blue? Oh, $@*%! The cops! Run, right?
LL: No. You can relax — this is a good thing. When the police report to the scene, give them as much information as possible. You just documented everything, remember? Nobody wants to pay more money than they have to for insurance. So it’s important that, if possible, you’re not found to be at fault.
C: So give it to me straight: If this happens to me, am I screwed?
LL: No — you’ve got us. Once you call a lawyer, they will investigate your case and decide if it’s viable for a lawsuit. An attorney with experience handling bicycle accidents will be better equipped to get the settlement you deserve.
City bikers and drivers alike: Be cautious of your surroundings when commuting through the city, especially during rush hour traffic. Accidents do happen. Be prepared to act fast.