Arizona is home to thousands of bicyclists and has in the past been recognized as one of America’s top “Bike-Friendly” states. That is not surprising since many people, including college students, rely on cycling as their primary means of transportation. People can also save a lot of money if they ride their bikes, which makes choosing to ride a bike to school an easy choice for students.
However, with an ever-expanding population of cyclists comes a greater demand for safety. According to Arizona State and University of Arizona students, bicycle accidents are considered the norm near campus. “I see at least one bike accident everyday,” said Connor Ray, an ASU student DART Driver for the Disability Resource Center. Ray’s job consists of picking-up and dropping-off students with disabilities around campus, so witnessing collisions has become routine. “Every friend I know who has a bike has gotten in some type of accident,” said Priscilla Rivera, a UofA student. Factors such as distracted driving or failing to obey other traffic laws have contributed to the increasing number of bicycle crashes caused by motor vehicles.
So, if Arizona is so Biker-Friendly, why is it also considered one of the deadliest states for cyclists? Why have Arizona’s once higher “Bike-Friendly” ratings consistently fallen over the past seven years? There is no simple answer, but too many cyclists are killed in vehicular collisions each year. Many more are seriously injured. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, over 1,276 of the 1,434 cyclists who were in a vehicular collision were injured in 2015. Personal injury claims involving cyclists can be problematic because it is sometimes difficult proving who is at fault.
Imagine you’re a college student on your way to class and out of nowhere comes a car that strikes you because the driver was carelessly texting or updating their Facebook status. You complied with traffic laws, you had the right of way, but you still ended up involved in a crash due to another person’s negligence. What do you do next?
Here are some general steps to take when you are the victim of a bicycle crash:
- Call 911 and wait for a police officer to arrive. Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have spoken with the officer and been evaluated by any responding emergency medical technicians.
- Tell the investigating officer exactly how the collision occurred so he or she can document your version of the events in a police departmental report.
- Exchange contact information with the driver of the vehicle that hit you. The responding police officer will often assist with this on arrival, but you should at least write down the other driver’s license plate information and take a picture of their vehicle as quickly as possible in case they leave the scene.
- Preserve evidence and document what happened to you. For example, take photographs of your injuries, the accident scene, and all damage to your bicycle and the vehicle that hit you. Safeguard any incident report numbers given to you by the investigating police officer. Do not dispose of the damaged bicycle even if you ultimately obtain a new one.
- Seek medical attention. This is important both for your personal health and for any legal claim you have for your injuries.
- Seek the advice of an experienced bicycle accident attorney. Do not speak to any insurance company representatives without an attorney.
These are just a few general tips regarding some of the steps to take if you are involved in a bicycle accident. They are not a substitute for obtaining legal advice and representation. Every bicycle injury case is different. For this reason, you need to immediately seek the legal advice of an experienced bicycle lawyer. Quintana Law can provide that representation. If you are the victim of a bicycle accident, give us a call for a free consultation at (602) 418-0733 right now.