The unthinkable has happened – during a short bike ride around town your buddy is injured in a bike-car collision. What’s your best course of action?
I’ve seen plenty of lists on lawyer sites but rarely are they addressed specifically to cyclists. Bike Law attorney Ann Groninger has handled hundreds of bike accident cases, and that makes her advice invaluable to cyclists.
She offered these pointers during her Oct. 16 presentation on law and advocacy at the North Carolina Bike Summit in Charlotte.
- Be sure to get medical attention. This seems obvious, but a surprising number of injured bicyclists initially decline medical help and ride off, Groninger says – only to later discover that the pain they’re feeling is actually a broken wrist or some other serious injury. Get checked out immediately, she says.
- Document the crash scene. If your riding buddy is one who has been injured, do him or her a favor by using a smartphone or other camera to take pictures BEFORE the car or the bike are moved. Try to thoroughly capture the scene.
- Get the names of all witnesses. Chances are that other cyclists, motorists or bystanders saw the collision and can offer useful testimony. However, in the excitement of the moment, cyclists all too often fail to document those witnesses, making it difficult or impossible to track them down later. Help your buddy out — use your smartphone to take pictures of witnesses. Also note their name, phone number, and other vital information.
Groninger made her remarks during a session titled “Legal and Advocacy Updates.” The seminar was billed as “an opportunity to learn the latest in the realm of bicycle law and bicycle advocacy in North Carolina.” She presented along with Lisa Riegel, executive director of BikeWalk NC.