One minute your wheels are spinning along the ground and the next a vehicle crashes into you. Before you inspect your bike and ride away — or call for a ride — consider what you would do if you had been in a car rather than on a bike.
Here are three tips that could keep you from suffering needlessly.
1. Stay on the ground
If you can safely stay put, it may be a good idea to go ahead and pause for a few minutes. Granger Medical Clinic notes that exercise such as riding a bicycle causes your body to release endorphins, which makes you feel good. Add that to the adrenaline flooding your system after the alarm of the crash, and you may be unable to tell how you feel at first.
2. Check for concussion
A serious traumatic brain injury is not always immediately obvious, but you may notice several warning signs. First, check your helmet for damage. If it has cracks or dents, you probably hit pretty hard. Feeling confusion, dizziness or nausea is common with concussion. Your ears may ring, or you may feel off balance or disoriented.
You could have a brain injury without hitting your head if the force of your crash was enough to jolt your brain inside your skull. Any warning signs justify seeking medical attention.
3. Assess your body
When you are ready to move, ask yourself whether it causes pain to tilt your head backward and forward and side to side. If so, you may have a soft tissue or spinal cord injury. If not, then move on to your arms. Can they move in all directions? If so, then you may want to try walking. At a safe spot away from foot, bicycle and vehicle traffic, check the mobility of all your joints and try putting weight on them.
Once you feel safe to move, continue following car accident protocol by collecting contact information from the driver and witnesses, photographing the scene and calling the police to make a report. If a medical exam does reveal injuries, you will have what you need to pursue compensation.