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What should I do if I get hit by a car on my bicycle?

In a perfect world, bicyclists would be treated with the same respect as motorists. But the reality is that most motorists take little notice of cyclists, except to express annoyance at their presence on the roads.

Those attitudes can make wrecks more likely. If you get into an accident with a driver, below are some do's and don'ts to follow.

DO:

-- Carry a cellphone so you can call first 911, and then someone to come out to assist you.

-- Get the name, number and address of the driver who hit you, along with their insurance information.

-- Get witness names, numbers and addresses too.

-- Snap a few pictures of the damage to your bike and their vehicle if you are able.

-- If road hazards or debris caused or contributed to the collision, take photos of the dangers.

-- If you have a GPS device enabled at the time of the collision, preserve this data. It can be useful later on.

-- Seek medical treatment even if you don't initially appear hurt. Many injuries manifest only later, so you need to document them immediately to tie them to your accident.

DON'T:

-- Make any statements about the collision at the scene or to the other driver. Your words can be twisted and misconstrued, then later used against you to deny a claim.

-- Leave out any pertinent information about your injuries to your doctor. These medical records are your evidence of the harm you suffered.

-- Take any money at the scene or enter into negotiations over fault or compensation.

-- Leave before the police arrive. You will need this official record if you plan on pursuing a claim for compensation.

If the driver tries to blow you off, or the insurance company doesn't want to settle, you may need to retain legal representation in order to receive a settlement or judgment.

Source: Rhode Island Department of Transportation, "Bicycle Commuter Guide," accessed Dec. 02, 2016

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