What To Do If You’re In A Crash

Crashes and Incidents

Incidents on the roadway can include improper turns in front of bikes, close passes, harassing behavior, verbal abuse by a driver etc.

Incidents can result in a bicycle rider crashing and being injured, even though no contact is made (for example, swerving to avoid a close pass and skidding out on sand). Police may be summoned to these types of events, and may create an incident or a crash report.

Under Maine Law, “reportable crashes” are incidents that 1) involve a motor vehicle and 2) cause personal injury or death OR 3) at least $1000 worth of property damage. These are the type of events for which police will create a crash report to document.

If you are involved in any incident or crash like the ones described above, you should contact the local police.

What to Do If You’re In an INCIDENT

  • Try to get a vehicle description and license plate number.
  • Call the local police and report the incident.
  • If you have a description of the vehicle and a license plate number, you can download this note and ask the law agency with jurisdiction use it as a script for a call, visit, or note to the owner of the car.

What to Do If You’re In a CRASH

What follows are some general tips that were compiled from various sources, including materials from Bike Law attorneys Bob Mionske and Lauri Boxer-Macomber, about what to do if you are involved in a bicycle crash. The tips below should be reviewed and considered proactively so that you are prepared to respond appropriately if you are ever involved in a crash as a victim or a witness. They may also be re-reviewed after a bicycle crash, collision or other incident.

You can also learn more about what details should be covered in the crash investigation by downloading and reviewing this document.

Additional resources you may wish to consider include Maine’s Bicycling Laws Quick Guide, which is a publication that the Coalition puts out summarizing its interpretation of Maine’s bicycle laws, and the Bicycle Law Enforcement Reference Guide, which outlines common motorist and bicyclist violations and the recommended traffic citations and fines for the same. For legal advice about a specific incident, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced bicycle crash attorney.

Keep Yourself Safe

  • Stay calm, signal for assistance and ask for help blocking traffic
  • Ensure that appropriate calls are placed to 9-1-1 and the police
  • Report all injuries to first responders, regardless of whether they may initially seem minor
  • Do not refuse emergency medical treatment and/or transport if it is recommended to you

Collect and Preserve Evidence

  • Tell the persons involved in the incident to stay at the scene until the police arrive
  • Enroll someone to help gather information on your behalf
  • Collect information from the responsible driver, including name, license #, state of issue and insurance information
  • Document the time of the crash, the scene of the crash, road conditions and weather conditions
  • Photograph the motor vehicle involved in your crash, including all damage to the vehicle, the license plate, inspection sticker, registration information, headlights, tires, etc.
  • Photograph and preserve your bicycle, your clothing, your helmet, your accessories and other damaged property
  • Ask witnesses to stay at the scene, provide their contact information and give statements to you and the police
  • Photograph your physical injuries and keep track of your medical treatment
  • Make sure your bicycle is stored in a safe place if you cannot leave with it from the scene

Enforce Your Rights

  • Get the responding officer’s name and badge number
  • Confirm the police will file a crash report
  • Suggest that the police issue a traffic citation and/or criminal summons when appropriate
  • Ask the responding officer if s/he is willing to inspect the motor vehicle operator’s cell phone
  • Speak to a qualified attorney about your case, your rights and your potential remedies
  • Report your case to appropriate insurance companies, giving statements only as necessary and after consulting with counsel
  • Document lost wages and opportunities

Report an Incident Form

The Bicycle Coalition of Maine collects data on crashes, collisions, close calls and incidents of bicyclist harassment. We collect this data because we believe it assists us in identifying issues faced by our constituents and with advocating for better infrastructure, education and enforcement efforts.You are welcome to report your crash or incident, but if you were involved in reportable crash you may wish to consult with an attorney before doing so. Staff members of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine are not attorneys. Any information provided here is potentially discoverable in a legal action.

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