Bike sharing programs are becoming more and more popular in the United States. These programs allow people to rent bikes from different stations around a city and deposit them at another station once they are done with it. Whether it is to reduce traffic, environmental impact or to improve public health, more cities are implementing bike sharing programs for their citizens and Salem might be soon joining the ranks.
However, many people who are taking advantage of these programs have little previous experience with sharing a public road with other vehicles and cyclists while biking. There is always potential for accidents and injury when operating any type of vehicle on a road and bicycles are no exception. If there is a bicycle accident, what should the cyclist do?
The most important aspect of cycling on public roads is adhering to the established cycling traffic laws. The state of Oregon has an online manual that outlines the laws cyclists should follow when on the road. The best way to deal with an accident is to prevent it before it happens. Knowing the traffic laws for both bikes and cars will help you be as prepared as possible for dealing with situations on the road.
In the case of an accident
· Seek medical attention – If someone involved in the crash has been injured, the first priority of everyone involved should be ensuring that they are given immediate medical attention. If needed, call 911.
· Collect information – This includes the driver’s name, address, license number, insurance information, etc. The more information you can gather, the better. The state of Oregon requires that drivers have valid insurance policy information available and that their insurance covers injuries sustained by both pedestrians and cyclists. If you are able, collect information from witnesses as well.
· Provide information – Give everyone involved in the accident all of the information you want to collect from them. In these situations, it can be easier to assume that someone else will gather information, but this should never be taken for granted. Making sure this is done will provide peace of mind and may cover you in insurance claims.
· Document as much as possible – This means taking pictures of different aspects of the scene, saving receipts from damages, repair estimates, medical information, etc.
If there is property damage valued at or exceeding $1,500, you should submit an accident report to the Department of Transportation. These situations can be frightening and confusing. Knowing the rules and regulations regarding the use of bikes on public roads will always be helpful for you if you choose to take advantage of the opportunity to bike around the city.