A cyclist on a public roadway in Alabama has basically the same rights and responsibilities as anyone operating a motor vehicle. Most wrecks involving adult cyclists and automobiles are due to a lack of attention on the part of the driver of the automobile. This problem is further compounded by the increasing number of people who use cell phones while they are driving.
Wrecks involving cyclists are different from automobile wrecks in at least two ways:
- The severity of injuries; and
- The complexity of issues involving insurance coverage.
Because insurance companies will not issue coverage for the operator of a bicycle, it is important to maintain sufficient uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on any motor vehicles that you own if you, even occasionally, ride your bicycle on a public road. If you are riding your bicycle on the street and are involved in a wreck in which the driver of an automobile leaves the scene, uninsured motorist coverage that you maintain on an automobile you own may be the only source of recovery available to you.
At the Ryder Law Firm, we have extensive experience representing both adults and children who have been seriously injured while riding bicycles.
If you are involved in a collision with an automobile while riding your bicycle, it is advisable to take the following steps to protect your rights and preserve available evidence:
- Contact 9-1-1 and notify them that you have been involved in a wreck.
- Do not move, or allow anyone else to move, your bicycle or any debris until the police or other law enforcement officials have arrived and recorded its location and resulting damage.
- Get the name, address, and contact information for the driver of the other vehicle and all witnesses to the wreck.
- If injured, seek immediate medical attention and follow all instructions/restrictions provided by your treating physician.
- Take your helmet, gear, and any broken or lost parts and place them in a box or bag to preserve as evidence. Do not throw any of these items away or give them to an insurance adjuster or investigator.
- Place your bicycle in your garage or another secure area where it is out of the way and not exposed to rain and weather. This is a key piece of evidence. Do not, under any circumstances, allow an insurance company to have your bicycle. To do so could be extremely detrimental to your case.
- Take several photographs of your injuries and resulting damage to your bicycle and gear as soon as is practical. Save them on a CD or PEN drive.
- Do not provide a recorded statement (assume all telephone conversations are being recorded) to an insurance adjuster or “investigator.”
- Obtain a copy of the Alabama Uniform Traffic Crash Report from the police department or other law enforcement agency.
- Contact Ryder Law Firm and we will evaluate your case and further advise as to the best course of action to take.