Some things in life you just can’t plan ahead for, like the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Hundreds of Rhode Islanders lost their lives, and our lives now, and moving forward, will be very different. Serious accidents, in comparison, have some similarities- they can be deadly, almost impossible to plan ahead for, and the after- effects are often life-changing. Take for instance, the recent surge in bike sales across the U.S., due to people itching to get outside and move again, while still social-distancing. Many who haven’t ridden a bike in years are again enjoying the pastime. Unfortunately, with the uptick in cycling, however, comes a corresponding increase in bike accidents. As a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island, Attorney David Tapalian knows well the unexpected turmoil a critical bicycle accident can put upon a victim as well as their family. No one wants to think about death or serious injuries, but by taking a few steps prior to your next bike trip, you may be able to save yourself, and your family, some difficulties in the event you do experience a bicycle crash.
It’s Not Just You, It’s the Drivers…
Though not always the case, negligent motor vehicle operators are frequently the cause of a bicyclist getting hurt. Even the most prepared and careful cyclist can fall victim to a negligent driver. Drivers are distracted more than ever by cell phones. The ping of a text or a social media update is just too tempting for some to ignore, even while driving 60mph. In addition to technology, negligence can take the form of drunk driving, speeding, road rage, even plain inexperience. As a Rhode Island personal injury attorney, David sees an abundance of serious bicycle accidents in Providence and all over the state, caused by distracted drivers. These types of crashes are completely preventable. Why should an innocent cyclist die because of a text message?
Steps to Consider Before Your Next Bike Ride
Before we get into specific ways to prepare, as an injury attorney we’d be remiss not to mention the importance of wearing a properly fitting safety helmet! Although helmets are only legally required in Rhode Island for those aged 15 and under (aged 16 and under in Massachusetts), we can’t stress enough the importance of everyone, kids and adults, wearing a helmet every single time you get on a bike. Head injuries are the leading cause of death for bike riders and the majority of cyclists involved in fatal accidents are not wearing a helmet.
Check your Insurance
If you are hit by a driver while riding your bike, there’s a chance the motorist who hit you is uninsured or under-insured. Simply put, this means that the driver does not have insurance, or the amount of insurance coverage they do carry is inadequate to cover your damages, meaning you may be left with huge medical bills. Be prepared and check your own insurance policy to determine what type of coverage you have, if it will cover you as a bike rider, and if so, the amount of coverage provided. A number of auto insurance plans offer uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage that covers the insured, even if on a bicycle and not in the vehicle. As personal injury lawyers, unfortunately we’ve also seen our fair share of hit and run bike accidents in Rhode Island. Hit and runs may be covered if you carry uninsured motorist coverage, however its important to verify your particular coverage with your insurance carrier.
Emergency Contact Info
It’s helpful to have emergency contacts saved in your cell phone that you carry on bicycle trips, but cell phones are frequently damaged during a crash. Therefore, it’s beneficial to carry some other form of identification, such as a written emergency contact list that is enclosed in a zipped pocket on your bike, business cards with your contact information, and/or an ID bracelet that shows critical health information and medications you take. In case of an accident, providing multiple options for rescue personnel to identify you and your emergency contacts quicker and provide proper medical treatment, can be extremely beneficial.
Have an Action Plan
If you ride with others, discuss how each will respond in the event one of you are injured. Carrying a simple first-aid kit and having a cell phone on hand to take pictures of any injuries that occur, or vehicles involved in a collision, can be helpful and also aid as evidence in a potential personal injury claim after your Rhode Island bike accident.
If you are an avid bicyclist, you might consider front and rear cameras for your bike. Though these won’t prevent a crash, they can make it easier to determine the circumstances surrounding a collision, and help prove liability in a potential injury claim. Ensure your family is aware of the technology and how to access the evidence, in case you are hurt and unable to provide this information.
Contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Lawyer if You Are Hurt in a Bike Accident
If you, or a loved one, were injured in a bicycle accident in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your damages including hospital bills, medical expenses, lost wages, property damage to the bike, and pain and suffering. Consult Attorney David Tapalian, a top-rated personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts with over 20 years of experience, as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and file an injury claim within the three-year statute of limitations as required by law. Tapalian Law helps injured people in RI and MA recover compensation after they’ve been hurt in a car accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle crash, or slip and fall. Contact us today in our Providence, Warwick, or Seekonk offices, for a free consultation at 401-552-5000, or use our easy, online contact form.