Bicycle Car Accident Settlements and Claims

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Written By Rocky Horton

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Bicycle car accident settlements are on the rise as more bikers take to the road. If you are in a bicycle car accident, your number one priority should be the safety of yourself and everyone involved. After that though, you should be thinking about the future bicycle car accident insurance claim that you may make to get compensation for your injuries.

Whether you’re a bike rider hit by a car or the car driver, you will need to know the steps to file a successful bicycle car accident insurance claim to get the settlement you deserve. As always, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about what you should (and should not) do following the accident to ensure that you can make a winning claim.

Our guide includes statistics about bicycle car accidents, how insurance treats these accidents, tips to make a successful insurance claim, and how personal injury lawyers can help you make your claim.

Bicycle vs Car Accident Statistics

In the last decade, bicycle car accident frequency has gone up 44%, according to the National Safety Council. The number of preventable deaths resulting from bicycle car accidents rose to 1,260 in 2020. 89% of these bicycle deaths were male, with 50-70 being the primary age of the riders who died in these incidents.

Put another way, this means that 2% of all deaths in vehicle crashes are from people riding bicycles. While the number of deaths from the younger age groups of bicycle riders has gone down, the older age bracket has been accelerating toward danger this century.

The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) reported nearly 426,000 injuries that required emergency care as a result of bicycle-related accidents. A 2001 study by Attewell et al. revealed that the presence of a helmet reduced the risk of serious head injuries in bike car accidents by 60%.

Important Bicycle Laws

As a result of this and related studies, 22 states and over 200 local regions have bicycle helmet laws in 2022, according to the BHSI, which is the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. These laws, as well as all bicycle safety statutes, vary by state. It’s therefore important to research your state’s specific guidelines when preparing a bicycle car accident insurance claim.

In most places, bicycle riders under 16 years of age are required to wear a secure-fitting helmet. Some places use 18 years as the cutoff while others require all ages to wear helmets.

Other laws include general safety regulations that require all bicyclists to follow traffic signals and rules. Bicyclists must follow the guidelines for the number of passengers on their bikes, they must have working brakes, and they must have a seat that is fixed and secure.

Breaking any of these rules can jeopardize the cyclist’s chance for compensation from their bicycle accident settlement. In most states, bicycles are treated as vehicles under the rule of the law, so they must follow the same safety guidelines for behaving in traffic, following the signals and signs, and informing other drivers of their actions.

Does Car Insurance Cover Bike Accidents?

A bike rider hit by a car is likely covered for damages by the driver’s auto liability coverage. However, the state’s “at-fault” vs “no-fault” status is a serious consideration in every accident case, a distinction that differs by state and even between policies.

If the driver’s insurance is an at-fault policy due to state-specific regulations, the compensation amount in a bicycle car accident insurance claim will depend on who is determined to be at fault for the accident. This places importance on the police officer’s initial report as well as the conditions of the accident, such as whether you were following the rules of the road when the accident occurred, whether your equipment was in working order, and more.

In a no-fault case, the insurance adjuster will calculate the settlement in the bicycle car accident insurance claim regardless of who was at fault. If the motorist was uninsured, many car insurance policies cover bicyclists who are injured in an accident. Speak with your insurance provider to learn the specifics of your policy.

Bicycle Car Accident Insurance Claims

To help you make a bicycle car accident insurance claim, you need to know both what to do and what not to do so that the insurance adjuster will side in your favor in the eventual claim.

Gather Evidence

This is an important step in a situation involving a bike rider hit by a car, though your first concern should always be the safety of yourself and others. After that, you should call 911 to ensure that emergency personnel are on their way. Provided the other driver remains at the scene, you can then begin to gather evidence from them.

This evidence includes the driver’s full name, address, phone number, insurance policy number, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, and car description. Other evidence that you can gather on your own includes photos and videos of the scene (including property damage) and any statements made by the other driver or witnesses. Get the contact information of these witnesses if you can.

Get Medical Treatment

Emergency personnel will be on their way after you or the other driver calls 911. One of the most important steps you can take in making your bicycle car accident insurance claim is to accept medical treatment when paramedics arrive, even if you do not feel hurt.

If you refuse treatment at the scene, you risk further injury since whiplash and other vehicle crash-related injuries often have a delayed impact. Significantly, you also jeopardize your accident injury claim because the insurance adjuster will claim that you were not hurt in the crash if you refuse help. 

Document Injuries

Along with your initial response at the accident scene, your case may depend on how well your injuries are documented. This starts with the paramedic’s report at the scene, which is one reason you need to accept their care.

After the bike car accident, you should see an emergency room doctor as soon as possible. A primary care physician is another good option for less severe injuries. You just need someone to authoritatively document your injuries so you can prove them to the insurance adjuster. Delaying treatment after the crash could cause them to claim that you got the injuries later.

Along with the doctors’ reports, you should keep a pain diary to document your injuries and their impact on your life. This includes your relationships, pain and suffering, mental state, and any other feelings impacted by the crash. Remember to take pictures of your injuries right after the crash and throughout treatment to demonstrate their severity.

Bicycle Car Accident Settlements

Common injury types in a bicycle accident are as numerous as those in a normal car accident. The difference is that since one person in the accident is not shielded by a car, the bodily damage, particularly to their head, can potentially be far more severe.

Head injuries make up the most serious injuries in situations with a bike rider hit by a car. Accidents can cause concussions, skull fractures, brain injuries, and more. These can occur without any evident damage to the cyclist’s head and only reveal themselves later in the form of memory loss, mood swings, or neurological damage, which can be permanent.

Cyclists can sustain other types of bodily damage as well, including trauma to their shoulders, hands, arms, and legs, facial injuries like fractured jaws and broken teeth, back injuries, and more.

Settlements when a bike rider is hit by a car depend on many factors, including the rider’s injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and fault status. Most settlements resolve in the range of $10,000 to $150,000, but this number could be far greater depending on the situation.

Filing a Bicycle Car Accident Insurance Claim

Car insurance plans often include policies for injuries sustained while riding a bike. However, a successful claim requires following a precise filing process that begins with the documentation and medical treatment previously discussed.

After that, you will need to negotiate with the driver’s insurance company, including setting your demands and making your case using the documents gathered in the weeks following the accident. Receipts from medical treatments, slips from work for lost wages, and even your diary could be useful evidence in your case.

Timing these steps is important since a bike car accident has a statute of limitations to file a successful claim. This differs by state so it’s important to look up your area’s regulations. The statute is normally 2-4 years from the date of the accident.

Bicycle Accident Lawyers

A bike car accident is a traumatic experience, and the claims process extends that experience to the weeks and months after. This is why a bicycle accident lawyer can help you make a successful claim – they know the dos and don’ts of the claims process and can help you retrieve and assemble the evidence you need to get the compensation you deserve.

Often, a law firm’s reputation alone can help you negotiate with the insurance adjuster, who may try to take advantage of a person who lacks representation with lowball offers. Having a representative in your corner that knows the ropes of the settlement process in bicycle accident insurance claims will help you take the right steps and avoid costly mistakes.


Bicycle car accident insurance claims are complex processes that begin as soon as the accident happens. The insurance adjuster will scrutinize what you say and do following the crash, including the claims you make and the treatment you accept (or refuse) from medical professionals.

You must call 911, accept treatment, and document the scene of the accident, including everyone’s contact and insurance information. Then, you need to see accredited medical professionals to begin documenting your injuries, while forming your own records of your post-accident care. Learning the laws in your state is important to your bike accident claim even if you do not have an attorney.

However, an experienced personal injury attorney comes with the advantage of their experience, reputation, and knowledge of the claims process. They can help you take the right actions following your bike car accident to make a successful claim as well as negotiate with the insurance adjuster for maximum compensation.

Rocky Horton

Rocky Horton


Rocky Horton is a health and safety expert from Chapel Hill, NC. He is the founder of AccidentAdvisor and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, and other publications. Learn more.