The de Maisonneuve bike path. Photo by James D. Schwartz via Flickr
So you just got cut off by a driver who turned left into the bike path, and you’re lying on the ground with adrenaline pumping, head spinning and bike totaled. Thoughts are racing through your mind, and you say to yourself, “Shit — that sucked! What do I do now?”
Unfortunately, this is a situation that many Montrealers have experienced, and often all that comes from it is a story to tell your buddies when you get to work.
But believe it or not, getting some street justice is not as difficult and confusing as it may seem — you just have to stay sharp. Here are some steps to take after you’ve been hit.
Always call the cops
Listen, we all hate dealing with the police, but whether you like it or not, filing a police report could mean the difference between getting a new bike and riding the bus for the next three months. The police report will allow you to get money from the driver’s insurance company and open a file with the SAAQ to receive many different types of compensation.
Can I get a witness?
Want to make the whole process of getting money even more simple? Find a witness and get him or her to comment on the police report. Doing this is basically like writing your own cheque. Get their contact information and include it in whatever documents you fill out.
Confirm the facts
The last place you want to be is in a position where you are at the mercy of a poorly written police report. It’s your right to make sure everything is written correctly, so use those beautiful eyes of yours and check that the report is clear, concise and reflects exactly what happened.
Amazingly enough, this province offers great support for people who get into road accidents. We have this little thing called no-fault insurance, which basically means that it doesn’t matter if you are completely in the wrong, you still get money for missed hours at work, clothing destroyed during the accident and even for pain and suffering. This is all administered by the SAAQ.
What the SAAQ doesn’t cover is any damage to your trusty steed. Not to worry, though: the driver’s insurance company has lots of money. Just go down to your closest bike shop and ask them to write up an estimate for the damages. Once you have that, you will wait about 10 days to get the the police report from the city, then send all that stuff to the driver and their insurance company. Be sure to send it registered so they can’t say they never got it.
All in all, getting into a bike accident is no joke. To be at the mercy of someone simply because their mode of transport is bigger than yours seems completely unfair and wrong. In light of last week’s death of Tyrell Sterling, who was killed by a dump truck on St-Pierre in Lachine, everyone should be more aware of the power they have behind the wheel of a car. ■