Every person riding a pedalcycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle. –PennDOT Vehicle Code 3501 (a)
Unfortunately, sometimes smooth sailing isn’t in the cards for everyone riding Pittsburgh’s streets. If you are in a crash, though. Here are some things you should do.
- If you are in pain, stay put. Don’t try to move. You could end up injuring yourself even more.
- Call 9-1-1 or tell someone else to do it for you.
- If your crash involves a car, make sure to get the driver’s a) Contact Info b) License Plate c) Insurance Info. If you are not incapacitated, collect witness contact information if there are any. Ask someone to write down the license plate number and their own information and give it to you, or put it in your pocket. If a Port Authority bus is involved click here for more information on how to handle this situation.
- Go to the hospital. Do not take minor injuries lightly. They can check for a concussion and other less obvious, but serious injuries. Not only will you rest better knowing that you got checked out, if you need a police report for legal reasons or to get compensated from an insurance claim, you must go to the hospital via an ambulance to trigger the report. Read this post for more information on who pays in the event of a crash with a car, the importance of going to the hospital, and what insurance you can get to further protect yourself.
- Get a police report to officially document the crash. Police are required to create a report if a participant in the incident goes to the hospital. An injury, no matter how small, may be the only way to guarantee a police report. You will need one if you seek compensation for medical bills, etc.
- Contact a lawyer.
- Document everything. Witness info, the responding officer’s badge number, your trips to the hospital and all corresponding expenses related to your crash.
- Contact your city councilperson and the Mayor and tell them your story and that you want safer cycling conditions in the city. Also dial 3-1-1 (or email) and tell the City about the road hazard or dangerous situation.
Note: We have also been keeping track of crash stories and locations, with the result of finding patterns so that we can better identify trouble spots. Not only are we able to pass these results on to the city, but it’s useful for you, the cyclist, to know where the dangerous locations are. Please report your crash story to us using this form. The more experiences that we compile, the better informed we will be on when, where, and how crashes are occurring in Pittsburgh. See the results on our online crash map.
- Protect yourself: Everything a bicyclist needs to know about car insurance – Did you know that if you’re hit by a car while riding your bike either your car insurance or the motorist’s insurance will pay for your trip to the hospital? Don’t have car insurance? You can purchase “non-owner’s” car insurance that will further protect you in the event of a crash.
- “Dooring” is always the Motorist’s Fault – PA Vehicle Code 3705: No person shall open any door on a motor vehicle unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on a side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.
- PennDOT Resources: Pennsylvania Bicycle Driver’s Manual. The PA Vehicle Code also has a whole section on the operation of bicycles.
- Bicycling and the Law – A web site that offers bicycling accident advice for cyclists including those injured by motorists, unsafe conditions and defective cycling products. At this site injured cyclists will find information about what to do after an accident to best protect their rights.
- Pennsylvania Health Law Project – Provides free legal services and advocacy to Pennsylvanians having trouble accessing publicly funded health care coverage or services.
- Be Well! Pittsburgh – Great Resource List, Healthcare Options for the Uninsured
- Bicyclist’s Rights and Crash FAQ – Great Resource from a lawyer in Philadelphia
- Report a Road Hazard – Many road hazards are not detectable by inspectors in cars, and can be extremely dangerous to those of us on bikes. In order for dangerous conditions to get fixed, we need you to report these hazards and get them on record. Also, as mentioned above, utilize the Mayor’s 3-1-1 line, it logs citizens’ needs and establishes a paper trail. Also, you can report potholes using the effective City 3-1-1 line.
- If your crash involved a Port Authority Bus, click here for some useful tips.
- To report a road hazard on a State of Pennsylvania road, call 1-800-FIX-ROAD
- If you had trouble with or experienced an officer acting discourteously to you, contact the City of Pittsburgh’s Citizens Police Review Board. And of course, if you receive particularly exemplary service from an officer, we encourage you to contact her/his supervisor to thank them.
- Bicycling Magazine offers some advice on whether you should fight a ticket or not – especially relevant in the case of a crash
- “Hit-and-runs,” since they are a crime, qualifies for Pennsylvania’s Victims Compensation Assistance Program. This program can help with everything from medical expenses to work loss to broken eyeglasses