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Blogger, Athlete
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America has seen an increase in people interested in cycling over the past few decades; mostly because of up-and-coming stars like Lance Armstrong. While the sport’s fan base is concentrated in Europe, cycling owes its popularity in the U.S. thanks in part to its high octane atmosphere. What NASCAR is to car enthusiasts, cycling has become to athletes. Yet unfortunately, because of high speeds and limited maneuvering room the sport carries an ever lurking danger: crashing.

Chances are every competitive cyclist will crash, or get caught up in one, whether it’s during a race or a training ride. And when a crash involves a vehicle, we hope it never happens. Although I pray you never experience what is a cyclist’s greatest fear, if an accident were to occur, its best you know how to handle the situation. So this is what you do:

Call the Police

If after the collision the driver has noticed what happened and stops, you should immediately call the police. Although most accidents are minor, asking an officer to meet you at the scene so they can file a report saves you from doing the work yourself. Most cyclists don’t make that call because they believe they can settle the dispute themselves. However, remember that cyclists are of secondary concern to many motorists. This makes the rider feel at fault and take the blame.

Perhaps because of the shock from the collision, you may feel you aren’t injured. It’s often in car accidents that the drivers’ minds are trying to process all the information, as well as the released adrenaline, that they don’t realize they’ve been injured until hours afterwards.

Above all, remain calm and non-confrontational; especially if the driver’s vehicle is damaged and they are visibly upset.

Be Honest

While you deserve your side of the story to be heard, do not exaggerate the situation. I’ve heard stories of cyclists sustaining minor injuries and using their position to badger money out of the drivers. They then use that money to pay for equipment or clothes that they claimed were damaged but were actually not.

Some officers will not even think to ask a statement from the cyclist, so be sure to get your word in. If the officer refuses to take your statement in the police report, you can always have it amended later.

Get Your Own Information

We have every reason to trust the law but we all know there are instances where things fall through the cracks. If the officer on scene fails to write down all the information or you have decided to work it out with the driver yourself, remember to always get the following information from the driver:

• Name
• Address
• Phone number
• Driver’s license number
• Vehicle license number
• License plate number
• Insurance information

Also jot down the names and contact information of any witnesses. If you are too injured to get this yourself, ask a bystander to assist you.

Keep Records after the Accident

Even if your injuries seem minor initially, you won’t know their full extent until a few days later. Visit a doctor if your injuries worsen, not only to seek the proper medical attention, but also to serve as proof that you were injured. Medical records and a personal journal will be helpful if a lawsuit emerges. Also take photographs right after the accident as well as days proceeding in case something like bruising develops.

Leave your bike, clothing, and any other equipment in the same state. The only person who should be able to see these items is your attorney so make sure to take photos of these too.

Find a Professional

Look for someone known as a personal injury attorney who’s handled similar cases. Although the cost may seem more than the trouble, they will have experience negotiating with the insurance companies. Never talk to the insurance agencies before speaking with your attorney.

Kyle Beck
Blogger, Athlete

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