Monthly Archives: August 2012

Bicycling Accidents: What to Do After a Bike Crash

Bicycling Accidents: What to Do After a Bike Crash

What to do if you are involved in a wreck with a car or truck: It’s important to take a few actions at the time and place of the accident. 

When bikes are involved with accidents with cars, there are usually big injuries. Try, if possible to keep your wits. The next few steps will have an incredible impact on whether and how much you might recover for your bodily injuries and your bicycle. This goes for attacks by dogs too.

If you’re injuries are not too severe, Wait for law enforcement to arrive at the scene.

You need a police report, even if you don’t initially think you’re hurt. The police will fill out a police report and detail the nature and cause of the accident. Many times bicyclists don’t realize they are hurt until hours after the accident.  Leaving the accident scene may mean there is no identification of the other driver and which party was at fault.

Wait to negotiate with the driver. Even if the driver accepts blame, wait for the police to arrive to document the accident in the police report.

Make sure your version of accident is part of the Accident Report

Explain your version of the accident. Report all of your injuries, no matter how minor.  Don’t be macho.  It happens where someone gets home with what they thought was a bruise or kink that ended up being a broken bone or torn ligagment.

Even if you don’t get to make a statement, you can contact the officer later with your own written description of the accident.

Get Driver and Witness Contact Info

Try and obtain the name of the car’s driver, as well as his or her address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license number, and insurance information.

Further, get names and contact information for everyone who WITNESSED the accident. If you are injured and cannot get this information yourself, request a bystander to help you get it.

Document What Happened

If you can, make mental notes about the accident: what happened; how it happened; where it occurred; when it occurred; and road, traffic, and weather conditions.  Afterward, make written notes while the memory is still fresh in your mind. I would prefer you do this after consulting with me or another attorney and at the request of the attorney so that it is protected, if need be, by the attorney-client privilege.

Record Your Injuries

Get immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor. Going to visit a doctor will help corroborate that you were injured, and medical records will document the extent of those injuries. Take photos of your injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Keep a journal of your symptoms and pains every few days. Take photos of your bike and the vehicle that struck you.

Preserve Evidence

Refrain from attempting to fix your bike until you’ve consulted with an attorney. And don’t send your bike, helmet, or any other equipment to anyone other than your attorney—this affects the custody of the evidence. Again, photograph your damaged equipment. Keep your helmet and clothing.

Seek Advice from a Professional

Accidents between bikes and vehicles can involve complex legal issues. Consult a personal injury attorney who understands bicycling or has handled bike accident cases.

Don’t communicate with the insurance companies before consulting an attorney. Anything you say to the insurance company could be used against you later. Sometimes a letter from an attorney to the insurance company will resolve issues while avoiding legal pitfalls.

In certain situations, and especially if contacted in close proximity with the date of the accident, the lawyers at Sanders Law Firm, PLLC can hire an accident reconstruction expert to investigate the bike accident. That expert might obtain skid mark measurements, photograph the scene, speak with additional witnesses, and/or measure and diagram the accident scene.

The attorneys at Sanders Law Firm, PLLC have handled cases ranging from broken humerus requiring a permanent rod to quadraplegia with severe brain damage. If you have a biking accident, call us to discuss at (336)724-4707 or emailkirk@kirksanderslaw.com. We’ll evaluate your case at no cost to you. We represent bicyclists statewide in North Carolina (NC). If the event happened out of state, we will assist you in finding local counsel out-of-state.

Call Sanders Law Firm, PLLC (336) 724-4707, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Statewide Representation

 

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New York City’s Bike Share program “Citi Bike” & History of Transportation Alternative

     First of all, hats off to NYC and their bicycle pioneer work. The summer of 2012 is when NYC rolls out its bike share program called "Citi Bike". It's called that because Citi Bank is sponsoring the program. The program is complete with celebrations, including a choreographed "bike ballet". Unfortunately thousands of the bikes are still in the Brooklyn Navy Yard awaiting more deliveries. The bike group, Transportation Alternatives, wants to roll out the bikes while there is warm weather.

     The New York Times' J. David Goodman wrote on the bike share and the history of Transporation Alternatives, a bicycle advocacy group that has been so influential, it's officers have become officials in the City's transportation department.The article was published on August 12, 2012. Excerpts are used in this internet article.
     Transportation Alternatives has 23 full time employees, 8,000 dues paying members and an email network of 40,000 plus. Their influence has been so strong that their members are in the government and they are part of the official policy of the City. They started 40 years ago in the early 70's. They made their public debut in a "traffic-snarling protest ride" down 5th Avenue in 1973. Within the year, their support grew to include persons such as Edward Koch, then a congressman, later Mayor and governor. When the oil crisis hit, biking grew with a surge. The Koch administration created bike lanes in the 1970's. sadly it was short lived as the 1980s saw a rebound in the City's economy and everyone resorted to driving. In fact, by the late 80's the City moved to ban bicycles from Midtown Manhattan.
     Still, Transportation Alternatives continued to build support, staged protests, blocked traffic, and painted the roads where pedestrians had been killed by cars. Then it grew more in 1991 with some big grants. In the 2000's TA made huge gains when cycling took off again. Mark Gorton, a hedge fund manager made huge donations.
    Then in 2007, Michael Bloombeg appointed TA's own Janette Sadik-Khan as head of NYC's transportation department. Together they have taken on a mandate to remake the streets. The transportation department has an aggressive pro-bike agenda. So far hundreds of new miles of bike lanes have appeared, parking spots eliminated, and some streets were narrowed to slow traffic.
     Some New Yorkers don't care for T.A.'s close relationship with the department, including Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes. NBBL is worried about making the relationship between cars and bikes too antagonistic, thus with repercussions to the cyclists.
     What's next for T.A.? They're pushing for more in-depth investigations of car accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists, want tougher penalties for speeding or negligent drivers, wider bike paths on the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as curbing dangerous cycling.
     If the bike share program is embraced by the City, it may just be the most enduring symbol of Mayor Bloomberg's policies.
     Each city and town across the nation should look to TA's influence and adopt pro-cycling groups for their area. We need more bike lanes. Hats off to NYC for such a bold endeavor. I noticed tons of cyclists in the City when I was there in 2010.
Kirk Sanders
(336) 724-4707
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