We are enjoying near-perfect temperatures in the St. Louis area as the fall season settles in. As many families are taking advantage of the cooler weather by spending more time outside taking walks to the park or riding bicycles, just remember to be mindful of safety as you lace up your shoes and head out the door.
Bicycle Helmet Laws in Missouri and Illinois
Everyone should already know that wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle is highly advised for safety, but do you know the helmet laws in your city and state? Not only should you wear a helmet to protect your head, but it could also protect much more if you are involved in a bicycle traffic accident.
Currently, there are no state laws in Missouri or Illinois requiring helmets while riding a bicycle, but your city may have an ordinance that does. If you live in a city where the law requires bicyclists (adult or child) to wear a helmet, and you are involved in a collision with a vehicle, you may have trouble collecting fair compensation for your injuries even if you are not at-fault for the accident.
Violation of Helmet Laws
If there is a local helmet law in your city, your violation of that law will automatically classify you as being “negligent” in connection with an accident. If this happens, you will be subject to the shared fault law or comparative fault system in your state.
When comparative or contributory negligence rules kick in, the amount of compensation you can receive could either be reduced or eliminated completely. In some cases you may need to prove that an injury would have occurred even if you had been wearing a helmet—but this can be difficult to do.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Bicycle-Vehicle Crash
Getting into a bicycle accident with a vehicle is frightening, to say the least. But the action you take immediately after the crash can have a tremendous impact on your recovery.
As you take to the pedals, remember these steps in case you are involved in a bicycle accident involving a vehicle:
- Move to a safe place. If you crash on the road, move yourself or ask for assistance from a bystander to get off the road as quickly as possible.
- Wait for police. Just as you should do for any other car accident, be sure to wait for police to arrive on the scene so that they can take and file a police report. Even if you don’t think you have an accident injury, DO NOT attempt to negotiate with the other driver. Wait until the police are present to document everything.
- Tell your version of the event to police. Even if the police do not ask for it, make sure your account of the accident is documented in the police report. Include any and all injuries, no matter how minor you think they may be. Even if it’s just a small scrape, be aware that minor injuries may later become more serious.
- Obtain contact information from the driver and witnesses. If you are in good enough condition, try to get the following information from the driver of the vehicle: name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, and insurance information. Also, if possible, try to get names and contact information from anyone else that may have witnessed the accident. If you are injured and cannot the information yourself, ask a bystander to do it for you.
- Call your attorney. It won’t cost you anything to make the call, but failing to consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after your accident can make a huge difference in the outcome of the event.
- Preserve evidence. Do not attempt to fix anything or have anything inspected by anyone other than your attorney. Don’t even wash your clothing after the accident because any and all property involved can be used as evidence to support your case.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
A bicycle accident involving a vehicle can be extremely traumatizing. Be safe, always wear a helmet, and make sure you are properly covered by insurance.
If you or someone you love has been in a bicycle accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Lieser Law Firm so that we can provide you with the compassion you need and the results you deserve.
Call us today at 314-862-7805.