Image by flickr user rickyrhodesImage by 20080412bike.jpg Bicycle accidents can be nasty, but there's lots you can do to handle the accident after the fall. This New Yorker was OK after being hit buy someone who ran a red.
We'd like to point out SCBikeLaw.com to our readers, thanks to it's vast resource of links, tips, and information on bicycling in South Carolina. Now, we should point out that this story doesn't really address the basic safety tips that you should wear a helmet or use lights at night.
Preparing for the worst
The Web site offers a set of tips for bicyclists in accidents. We generally feel the need to add mising information, but they're good enough as is, so we wanted help get the word out:
1. Ride with a cell phone, personal identification, emergency contact, and something to write with.
2. Dial 911: call the police or an ambulance immediately. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to help.
3. Always wait for the police to arrive and file an official accident report. A police report provides documentation detailing the incident, including the identity of witnesses.
4. Get the business card of the officer.
5. Leave your bike in the same state it was after the accident, if possible. It is best if the police see the accident scene undisturbed.
6. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses.
7. Immediately seek medical attention, either at the scene, the emergency room, hospital or doctor's office. When in doubt go to the ER! Give all complaints to the doctor. Medical records are proof that you were injured and document the extent of your injuries.
8. Take photos of injuries and keep a diary of how you feel after the accident.
9. Never negotiate with the driver of the vehicle, regardless of who may be at fault. Get the driver's name and his or her insurance information, along with the names of any passengers.
10. Give no written or recorded statements to anyone.
If the worst does happen
If you're in accident consider contacting Peter Wilburn (843-723-9804), the lawyer who runs SCBikeLaw.com. Here's what he says about his services: "Seeing more and more cycling accidents and knowing how hard finding an attorney with cycling experience can be, I felt there was a real need to let riders know that I am here to help them. I work on a contingency basis for bicycle injury cases. You do not pay any fees unless money is collected on your behalf. So do not hesitate to contact me regarding an accident or injury."
Getting in touch with the community
His Web site also offers a handy list of area bicycling clubs and municipal laws, among other resources.
Tougher laws and the state of cycling
And, don't forget that South Carolina's laws were recently toughened to help protect bikers from harassment and injury. Also, note that the new law necessitates a light at night at not riding two-bikes wide down regular roads.
A few days ago, we did a round up of the state of cycling in the Charelston area.