1. Stay on the ground and go by ambulance to the ER. Doing so will:
- a. document and begin mitigating any injuries you may have sustained, including injuries you may not even notice at the scene;
- b. satisfy legal requirements that injured parties do everything in their power to lessen the damages they sustain; and
- c. ensure that a police report gets written.
2. Do not rely on the police to investigate the crash, document the facts, or collect the names of witnesses. It’s been my experience that, whether intentional or not, the entire system is rigged against bikers, so:
- a. Always carry a flash-equipped disposable camera and, if you are conscious and able to speak, ask someone at the scene to take pictures that capture everything—your position, your bike’s position, the vehicle(s) involved, any relevant traffic control devices, etc. Remember—pictures can tell 1,000 words.
- b. Carry some pre-printed “witness cards,” and try to get the first people at the scene to give you their names and contact info even if they didn’t see the crash itself. First responders see and hear all sorts of relevant things (e.g. your bike headlight was on, or the car driver saying “I didn’t see him!”). Include line items on the card that beg for answers, such as “headlight was ___” or “Did the driver say he saw me? ___”
- c. If you can get to your cell phone or have someone get it for you, call yourself and leave a message describing what happened. You will forget things over time, and small details from the scene can really matter later on. Leave the phone connected because it might record the driver saying things, like “I didn’t even see him” or “I was running a bit late getting home.” If it’s not too much of a strain, do a play-by-play of everything you hear and see while waiting to be hauled off in the ambulance.
- d. Write your own “courtroom-grade” incident statement as soon as possible and submit it to the police. Use googlemaps or other satellite images of the scene marked with points A, B, C, etc, then write a narrative of what happened at each of those points. You can also submit the statement to insurance companies in lieu of the verbal statements they sometimes prefer. Which is more reliable—your memory of what happened days or weeks after the incident, or a statement you wrote within 24 hours based on a phone message you left for yourself describing the scene as it unfolded?
3) Get a copy of the police report and confirm that what you wrote is either appended to the official report or accurately transcribed. If it’s not, complain immediately to the filing officer’s supervisor and consider filing an internal affairs complaint. These reports form the basis of national statistics about the cause sof bike/car crashes, and it’s been my experience that the police tend to absolve drivers of wrongdoing in collisions involving bikes. This, I believe, contributes to the common knowledge that all bikers are scofflaws and, therefore, we sort of deserve to get hit.
Ride as safely as you can. Full article: <a href="http://chaingangdc.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/revised-info-incase-the-worst-happens/">http://chaingangdc.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/revised-info-incase-the-worst-happens/</a>