Legal Tips for Cyclists
Each bike turnout installed on Mount Diablo prevents countless collisions. But if you are involved in a collision while biking on Mount Diablo, knowing what to do ahead of time can help you be prepared.
Get a police report.
If you are seriously injured, seek medical attention immediately. But, if you are physically able to do so, call the police and stay at the scene of the collision until they arrive. The responding officer will create a Traffic Collision Report containing the driver’s contact and insurance information as well as statements from any witnesses. If you do not get a police report, be sure to obtain insurance information directly from the driver and get the contact information for potential witnesses.
Seek medical attention right away.
If you are struck by a car on Mount Diablo, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to bet checked out. Some injuries are not immediately obvious, and your doctor will be able to recommend whether you may benefit from an MRI or CT scan. Additionally, if you will be making an insurance claim, any lapse in time between the collision and seeking treatment raises the likelihood that the insurance company will attempt to use this against you.
Take photos of everything: the collision site, your bicycle, your injuries, and anything else you can. Having photographs can be useful evidence. If your claim is disputed, having photos can help prove how the collision happened by where the vehicles came to rest. Photos of your injuries can document what you endured. And photos of your bicycle can act as proof of the damage to your property. Keeping a journal is also recommended. As cyclists, we can tend to forget or minimize our past suffering, it’s the reason we keep coming back to the mountain. Having a journal helps keep the facts fresh for your insurance claim.
Get your bike repaired professionally.
If your bike is damaged in a collision, take it to a shop you trust. Let them know the nature of the collision so they can look out for frame damage. If the bike is repairable, ask them for an itemized repair estimate and present this to the driver’s insurance company for payment. If the bike is totaled, then you are entitled to a replacement. If your bike cannot be easily replaced with one the of the same make, model, year, and condition, then you deserve a new bike as the only true fair replacement.
Talk to a lawyer before you talk to the insurance.
The driver’s insurance company is not in the business of paying you a fair amount for your medical bills and bike damage. Do not give a statement to the driver’s insurance company if they call you first. Speak with a bike lawyer to learn about your legal rights. You may not need to hire an attorney, but it’s always good to have some advice.
If you need legal advice, reach out to Paceline Law for a free consultation. Kyle R. Smith of Paceline Law lives, rides, and practices in the East Bay and is always available to talk with cyclists in need.