What to do After a Crash in Alabama
If you enjoy cycling, you are one of a growing crowd of people who believe the form of transportation is an efficient, fun, and healthy way to get where you need to go. Unfortunately, a cyclist does not stand much of a chance in a crash with a motorist. Never assume that drivers will see you. Instead, do what you can to protect yourself and make yourself seen. By following Alabama’s local cyclist laws, you can help keep yourself safe when cycling and significantly reduce your odds of being in a crash.
Alabama Cycling Laws
It is important to keep up with the current laws pertaining to bicycling in Alabama. Every person who is riding a bicycle in the state is granted the same rights and is subjected to all the same duties as the driver of a vehicle. Here are some laws you should follow* to make sure you stay safe while cycling:
- When you are riding a bike, you must ride upon or astride seat that is permanently attached.
- You cannot transport more people on your bike than for which it is equipped and designed.
- Ride your bike as near the right side of the roadway as practical and safe, being cautious when passing a vehicle going in the same direction or a vehicle that is stopped.
- If a bicycle path has been provided adjacent to the roadway, you should use the path instead of the road when safe to do so.
- When riding at night, your bike should have a white headlamp that is visible from 500 feet away at night. A rear red reflector that is approved by the Department of Transportation should be visible from all distances ranging from 100 feet to 600 feet. This is not just to make sure you can see obstacles in the path—it’s so motorists can see you as well.
- Every bike should be equipped with a brake that will enable you to skid on clean, level, dry pavement.
- Anyone younger than 16 must wear a helmet when riding a bike in Alabama. Local helmet laws in Montevallo and Homewood require riders of all ages to wear a helmet.
If You are Involved in a Crash
Even the safest cyclists can be involved in a crash. You can’t keep drivers from being careless. If you are involved in a crash, there are some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Even if you are tempted to do so, don’t leave the scene of the accident (unless you are seriously injured and need to visit a hospital immediately). You need to stay at the scene until everything has been properly addressed and settled.
- Call the police so they can come to the accident scene and complete a report.
- Make sure you give your statement to the police so it can be included on the report. Sometimes officers only take statements from drivers. Make sure the officer takes your statement as well.
- Get the name, contact information, and insurance information for the driver.
- Take photographs of the scene with your smartphone. These can be beneficial in proving your case in any future insurance claim.
- Get statements from witnesses and get their names and contact information.
- Seek medical care right away. Go to the nearest emergency room. Your injuries can be worse than they initially appear.
- Keep any damaged equipment, such as your clothing and your helmet, and don’t repair your bike. This is again for insurance purposes.
- Keep your medical bills and copies of your medical records.
- Obtain estimates for damages or get the costs to replace damaged gear.
- Follow-up with the medical care that you need to make sure you make a full recovery.
There’s no way to stay fully safe while on a bicycle, but if you stay alert, follow Alabama’s local cycling ordinances, wear bright clothing and always wear a helmet, you will have the best chances of making sure you get from point A to point B without incident.
Submitted by Deanna Powers - Personal Injury Help
*This article was not written by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem after a bicycle crash, you should contact a licensed attorney in your Alabama.