What should I do if I’m hit by a car?

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Few things are worse than those first few minutes after a crash with a motorist. You might not be able to tell yet how injured you are or if your bike is still rideable. You’re probably facing a driver who is just as distressed as you are. Emotions and adrenaline are running high for everyone. It’s a tough time to try to think clearly, but there are some things you need to do to make sure your rights are protected after the fact.

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The Lumen

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It was a little over a year ago that I first wrote about my reflective bike, introducing a major advance in bike safety.  In that time, my partners at Halo Coatings and I have been working hard to bring our tech to the bicycle market.  That work has paid off.  Today I’m proud to announce that you can order a reflective bicycle of your very own.

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Not all cars are created equal—certain vehicles on the road deserve extra scrutiny. The following is an illustrated guide to some of the characters you should be keeping an eye on while you’re navigating the mean streets. If you know what to look for, you can stay streets ahead of these bozos.

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Staying Covered

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(Note: This post was originally written for publication in the current issue of Momentum Magazine, where I am presently writing their “Legal Brief” column. Below is the original version, entirely unedited and 100% pure. Enjoy.)

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Most bikers don’t spend much time thinking about their insurance. After all, what good will a car insurance policy do you when you’ve been doored? And who cares about renter’s insurance when your bike was stolen off the street? 

But every biker should be thinking about what their auto and homeowner’s insurance policies can do for them. As it turns out, these policies can mean the difference between being slammed with medical bills or the cost of a new bike, and having those expenses fully paid.

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Hi Josh, I had an incident with a motorist today: she beeped, swore, and drove really aggressively around me- all the while texting! I wrote down her license plate. Is this something I can or should report to the Cambridge police? Thank you for your help.

Asked by
Anonymous

Hell yeah you should report that shit!  Not sure how much they’ll do about it, but I’d say it’s worth your time to find out.  Good luck!

-JZ

Do you know if a driver's license would be required to use something like the upcoming FlyKly Smart Wheel in MA?

Asked by
Anonymous

Yup.  According to Massachusetts General Law Ch. 90 §1, that thing makes your bike into a “motorized bicycle.” That means that under Ch. 90 §1B, you need a valid driver’s license (or learner’s permit) to operate one.  Other regulations:

  • You have to be 16 or older
  • You can’t go faster than 25MPH
  • You have to wear a helmet
  • You can’t ride on the sidewalk or on bike paths
  • Hand signals are mandatory

The same rules apply to all ebikes, not just smart wheels.  Bummer, I know.  Still, that thing seems like a cool idea, especially for the weak and/or lazy. (jk)

-JZ

Hi Josh, I think what you're doing is fantastic. I recently had my bike stolen and I'm trying to cover ALL my bases to recover it. Only thing I'm missing is access to some distribution lists for bike groups in the city where I can ask people to keep their eyes peeled for my bike. Any ideas on this? I'm obviously not expecting to recover it, but I have to try.

Asked by
Anonymous

Aww, thanks friend.  Sorry to hear about your bike, that’s the worst.  Do you have renter’s/homeowner’s insurance?  If so, that should cover the loss.  If not, you should get some, it’s stupid cheap ($150 a year!).

Boston Fixed has a stolen bikes thread, so you can give that a try.  Not sure about other lists for bike groups.  Send me and email with a pic of your bike and the other relevant details (make, model, where/when it was stolen), and I’ll add it to this post.

Good luck!

JZ

I realize you're Boston-based, but why are NYC's bike lanes on the left side of one-way streets?

Asked by
Anonymous

Hmmm, I actually have no idea.  We have some like that on Comm Ave in Back Bay, and I have wondered about them.  Maybe because there’s no parking on the left side, and it keeps bikers out of the door zone?  Maybe?

Does anyone know definitively?  Leave a comment if you do.