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This question pretty well covers what to do when you collide with a vehicle. But how do you best handle the following situations:


  • You are a biker and you hit a pedestrian
  • You are a biker and you hit a biker
  • You are a biker and you hit an inanimate object

  • You are a pedestrian and a biker hits you
  • You are driving a car and a biker hits you
  • You are an inanimate object and a biker hits you

  • You are a biker and you fall over in the middle of the road and everyone laughs at you

Does the answer change if you are at fault vs. not at fault (assuming you can make an educated guess)?

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3  
For the last one, punch out the closest guy you can catch. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 6 '12 at 20:54
2  
Answers being given are opinion only; it's too difficult to answer this, as every jurisdiction has different laws. You're also specifically asking people to speculate. Voting to close. –  Neil Fein Sep 6 '12 at 22:38
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There are at least half a dozen questions here, but certainly few with demonstrable, measurable answers. –  Unsliced Sep 7 '12 at 8:39
    
There are some relevant comments to some of the questions asked here in this question - bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/5644/… –  Unsliced Sep 7 '12 at 10:11

5 Answers 5

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You are a biker and you hit a pedestrian

I've never done that, but in many places you are legally required to stop and render assistance. Also, it's the non-a**hole thing to do.

You are a biker and you hit a biker

Again, stop, make sure the other person isn't hurt and doesn't have any mechanical trouble that'll stop them from riding. If there is an injury or either party thinks it necessary, exchange contact info and/or wait for a responding officer.

You are a biker and you hit an inanimate object

If it's someone else's property, like a car or a mailbox, and there's damage, leave a note with your contact info.

As Johannes points out, in some jurisdictions, a note might not be enough. You might be assumed to have fled if you don't make an attempt to contact the owner or file a report with the police.

You are a pedestrian and a biker hits you

In many places, the cyclist is probably at fault since there are no highways for bikes where the pedestrian isn't assumed to have right-of-way.

Ask for contact info, and offer assistance if the cyclist is injured. If the cyclist leaves the scene without stopping, remember details (what the cyclist looked like and was wearing, their frame color and design), and file a police report.

You are driving a car and a biker hits you

Same as in a car/car collision. Stop, render assistance and give a report to any responding officer if either party is injured or thinks a report is necessary.

You are an inanimate object and a biker hits you

Impotent rage.

You are a biker and you fall over in the middle of the road and everyone laughs at you

I've done this.

Pick yourself up, and declare that you meant to do it. Ride off pouting. Realize your wheel is now out of true. Stop. True it enough with the wrong size nipple wrench until it stop scraping against the fenders. Ride off pouting again.

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"If it's someone else's property, like a car or a mailbox, and there's damage, leave a note with your contact info." - In German jurisdiction just leaving a note might be illegal ("unberechtigtes Entfernen vom Unfallort" / "unauthorized leaving of the accident scene") - You have to try to identify and contact the owner or at least register the accident with the police. - I'm not saying everybody does though .... sometimes their are people witnessing this, though –  johannes Sep 6 '12 at 22:50
    
@johannes, Thanks for the info. I will edit. –  Mike Samuel Sep 7 '12 at 2:16
    
If you are an inanimate object can you really feel impotent rage? –  mgb Sep 12 '12 at 15:07
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@mgb, philosophy.stackexchange.com –  Mike Samuel Sep 12 '12 at 16:32

Stay calm. It is very easy to get heated when something like this happens. Both parties will assume that the other is at fault. Stay cool and be nice.

Make sure that you and the other person involved are both OK. Seek medical assistance if there are injuries that warrant that.

If there are no injuries, then make sure that any property damage is noted. Exchange contact information or leave a note if appropriate.

At your nearest convenience, write down as much information that you can remember regarding the incident. The amount that we remember falls off dramatically after only a few hours after something happens.

Also, before you hop back on your bike give the rims a thorough going over. It would be a shame to survive a collision, then totally wipe-out due to a weakness in a bent rim.

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+1 to your first point. It's amazing how quickly people get aggresive and assume its the other person's fault when an accident occurs. Also - perhaps even more so - in a near-accident. And then everything escalates and things get worse. A little calm and "niceness" goes a long way in those first few minutes after something happens. –  Eyal Sep 7 '12 at 10:11
    
Your cell phone (if you have one) is very useful - take photos and/or video of damage/injuries, don't forget to get a few that clearly show location on road etc. I may pay to ask the other guy if he minds. If it gets aggressive it may be best not to, but put the voice recorder on and stash the phone in a pocket / under shirt etc out of site (be aware of your local laws around recording conversations though). –  mattnz Sep 12 '12 at 23:20

In addition to the above answers,

For most jurisdictions - Don't admit fault (insurance, legal etc). Be careful when / if you say sorry as it can be interpreted as admission of fault. "Sorry we had a prang" is OK, "Sorry, I did not see you" is not. The reason for this is most insurance policies have clauses that won't pay out if you admit fault. You don't want a witness later telling the police "He admitted he was in the wrong" etc.

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What jurisdiction is this? My suspicion is US/UK. –  GordonM Sep 8 '12 at 11:00
    
In my case Australia, however I would be surprised if it's different in UK/US and many other places. Admitting fault would make it hard for the insurance company to dispute it later- possibly costing them money. –  mattnz Sep 9 '12 at 21:43

It should be noted that in many/most US jurisdictions any "traffic accident" (basically, an accident on public property involving a "vehicle") that results in either personal injury (to any degree) or property damage over some dollar amount (which varies from $50 to several thousand) must be reported. And in many cases it's best to summon the authorities rather than plan on reporting the accident at a later date.

Strictly interpreted, this rule could require reporting a skinned shin from a "forgot to unclip" fall at a stoplight, though reasonableness would suggest that reporting of such minor injuries only occur when there is a second party involved.

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You are an inanimate object and a biker hits you

Happened last week. Two bikes hit me from behind and I took a dive into the tarmac. Cuts, big bruises, grazes, and dented helmet, but no broken bones. If you are insured, a case for your insurers so get witnesses.

But for me, it was with a cycling club. I just staggered to my feet, gritted my teeth, said "forget it", and got back on the bike for a painful ride home.

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Well, you said it -- I didn't. –  Daniel R Hicks Sep 12 '12 at 17:12

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