What Do You Do If You Hit A Cyclist?
Posted on February 17, 2021 in Bicycle Accidents
Bicycling is a popular activity throughout the state of Oregon. In general, drivers must treat bicycles as vehicles and proceed with caution when operating on the roadway around them. Unfortunately, there are still times when vehicle versus bicycle accidents occur. What happens if you hit a bicyclist with your vehicle? Here, we want to discuss the steps that you can take immediately following a bicycle accident so that you cover your bases and protect yourself.
1. Notify the police immediately
If you strike a bicyclist, you need to call 911 immediately and let the dispatcher know where you are and what happened. This ensures that police and EMS are on the way to the scene. Even if everybody looks fine, a bicycle accident needs to be reported.
2. Make sure every injured party receives medical attention
Make sure that every party involved in the accident receives the medical care that they need. This includes the bicyclist as well as any driver or passenger that may have sustained an injury in the incident. It is not uncommon for a vehicle driver in these situations to end up striking other vehicles or fixed objects after striking a bicyclist.
3. Do not assume you were at fault
One of the best pieces of advice that we can give any person involved in an accident is not to say too much. Even if you think you may be at fault for the incident, this is an assumption you need to keep to yourself. As a vehicle driver, you are not always going to be at fault in a pedestrian or bicycle accident. It could be the case that the bicycle accident was caused by a defect in the roadway or by a malfunctioning bicycle part. However, if you start apologizing or accepting blame, this will quickly shift the investigation towards your actions and not on any other possible cause.
4. Gather as much evidence as possible
If it is safe to do so at the scene of the crash, you need to begin gathering as much evidence as possible. If you have a phone or another device, you should take photos of anything that could be used in the case. This includes damage to the vehicle or bicycle, injuries, debris on the roadway, skid marks, other possible causes of the crash, traffic and weather conditions, and more.
You should also get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the crash. Eyewitness testimony could be invaluable evidence for insurance carriers or during the personal injury lawsuit process.
5. Contact an attorney
You should speak to a skilled Portland bicycle accident attorney if you have been involved in a vehicle versus bicyclist accident. An attorney will be able to examine the facts of the case and help you make an informed decision about the best steps moving forward for your situation.
Operate carefully around bicycles
Any time you see a bicyclist in or around the roadway, you need to be cautious. In general, treat bicyclists as if they have the same rights as other vehicles on the road. Bicyclists are incredibly vulnerable to sustaining severe injuries in the event of an accident occurs. Even when a bicyclist wears a helmet, an impact with a vehicle is likely to cause severe injuries.