When bikes and cars collide, it’s scary. (Fortunately, most bicycle crashes do not involve cars.) If you are the person riding the bike, it’s especially important to keep your wits about you after the crash. What you do in the immediate aftermath of the collision may have a big impact on how much you recover for your injuries and damage to your bike. It may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the accident.
At the scene
- Call the police. In the event of an emergency, dial 9-1-1. The Houston PD non-emergency number is (713) 884-3131.
- Once police are on the scene, make sure they complete a report. Include information on all your injuries, no matter how minor. If the police refuse to include your statement in the accident report, you can later have the report amended.
- Get the officer’s name and badge number.
- Get contact information for the driver and all witnesses. Get the driver’s license plate number, driver’s license information, and insurance information. Don’t assume the police will handle this for you.
- Take photos and videos of the scene with your phone. If you catch the driver admitting guilt on video or audio, do not post on social media.
- Get immediate medical attention for your injuries, even if they are minor, and photograph them.
After the crash
- Document what happened as soon as you can. Record your memories of what happened, how it happened, where and when it happened. Include road, traffic, and weather conditions. If you haven’t already, contact the police and file a report.
- Contact witnesses and ask them to email you their versions of the incident while it is fresh in their mind.
- Preserve evidence. Leave your bike and other damaged property in the same state as after the accident. Don’t attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected. Don’t wash your clothing. Take photos of your damaged equipment.
- If you were severely injured or were injured in the course of a crime, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible. Contact the Houston Bar Association at 713-759-1133 for recommendations on bike-friendly lawyers.
- Report the incident in the Kinder Institute’s Near Miss Study.
- Lawyer Referral Service: This sets you up with a consultation with a lawyer for $20. The number is 713-237-9429.
- Legal Line: The line is open from 5- 9 p.m. on the first and third Wednesdays of the month. You can ask general questions of a lawyer for free. The number is 713-759-1133.
- Houston Volunteer Lawyers: There are need-based financial qualifications for this service. They only take civil cases. The number is 713-228-0732.