You’ve just been hit by a car. Your adrenaline is rushing, your motorcycle is on it’s side, and your world is spinning. Here’s how to respond to an accident.
Step 1 – Safety, Get Clear
Your first priority is to get to safety. Realize that your adrenaline is pumping at full capacity and you probably aren’t going to feel a lot of pain. Do a self-examination for any major injuries, checking your neck, back, and head for trauma and then make sure your legs are in decent shape before standing.
You need to get to safety to make sure you aren’t hit again. Leave your bike where it is (it will now be evidence of what happened) and get to a sidewalk or somewhere you can sit down. Only stand once you’re sure you’re not hurt or won’t incur more damage by standing.
Call 911. Do it yourself if possible to ensure you get all of the information to EMS as accurately as possible. Stress the importance of an ambulance should you need one. If you have someone else call, make sure they give accurate location information to assist emergency services in getting there as quickly as possible.
Step 2 – Your Bike
Leave your bike where it is, but make sure the engine is off. If it’s leaking any fluids, set up a buffer radius around it to make sure everyone is clear should something ignite.
If fault is clear and you don’t want to obstruct traffic, and the damage is minor, you can (legally) move your bike to the side of the road. We don’t recommend it, however, as you never know what the other driver is going to claim. Yes, it’s a hassle to wait for police and go through the whole process, but it’s also the best way to make sure everything shakes out as it should.
Step 3 – The Other Person Involved
Avoid admitting any fault or discussing what happened with the other driver, as they can use it as evidence against you should the matter go to court. You probably want some time to think about what happened before discussing the situation.
Swap driver’s license and insurance information. Be sure to get as many details as possible and ask if all of their information is still current (many people don’t get new licenses when they move).
Step 4 – Wait for Police/EMS
Cancel any plans you had or let work know you’re going to be late. Often, we feel a rush just to get home so we can decompress, but this often leads to missing things which later can come back to haunt you.
Wait for the police to show up and give your statement. Refrain from talking about fault or what happened until they arrive. They’ll be able to tell you what to do next.
While you’re waiting, take photos of EVERYTHING. Take photos of the driver’s information (license, license plates, insurance card) as well as of the other vehicles involved, with close-ups of any damage. Take pictures of anything else that could be used as evidence to what happened, such as skid marks, and take pictures of the locations the vehicles entered the accident from. Also, take pictures of any damage to your body and your gear.
Also, get names and contact information for any witnesses. Even better, get a video of witnesses giving their account of what happened. Either way, if it turns into your word against the other driver’s, having witnesses to back you up could be the difference in a judge’s decision.
Step 5 – Get Home
Arrange to get your bike to a shop or home, and then have someone come pick you up. Even if the bike is ride-able, your body is full of adrenaline and your nerves are shot and you don’t belong on a motorcycle. Get home and get some rest, everything else can wait.
When in doubt, get a tow truck. You don’t want to put your fate in your ability to notice something wrong with your bike after such a harrowing experience. Whatever the tow truck costs is the fee for knowing you’re done crashing for the day.
What’s your best advice for handling this situation?
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