In the unfortunate event of a bike crash or incident, it’s important to know what steps to take to properly address the situation.
Incidents on the road can range from verbal harassment by a driver to a crash that causes serious injury or death. Police may be summoned to these events and will determine if an incident or crash report needs to be filed.
Under Maine Law, “reportable crashes” are incidents that involve a motor vehicle and either cause personal injury or death or at least $1,000 worth of property damage.
If you are involved in a bicycle crash (any collision with a car, pedestrian, or bike) or other bicycle incident (any occurrence not involving injury or property damage), follow these steps:
For all bike incidents
- Try to get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle involved
- Call the local police to report the incident
- If you have a description of the vehicle and a license plate number, you can download this note and ask the local law agency to use it as a script for a call, visit, or note to the owner of the car
For bike crashes
Keep Yourself Safe
- Stay calm, signal for assistance, and ask for help blocking traffic
- Ensure that appropriate calls are placed to 911 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 plate number, 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 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
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
For more information about what details should be covered in a crash investigation, familiarize yourself with this document. You can also learn more from local Bike Law attorney and Bicycle Coalition of Maine Board of Directors member Lauri Boxer-Macomber.
For a quick overview of Maine’s Bicycling Law, check out our Quick Guide.
Incident Report 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, as well as advocating for better infrastructure, education, and enforcement efforts.
If you would like to report your crash or incident to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, please use the form below. Please keep in mind the staff members of the Coalition are not attorneys and any information provided here is potentially discoverable in a legal action. If you were involved in a reportable crash, you may wish to consult with an attorney first.
If you would like to speak to a Coalition representative about your incident, please call us at 207.623.4511.