Today on my ride home from work, along Fell St. between Divisadero and Broderick, I saw the guy cycling just in front of me get hit by a car which made a sudden left turn, into the bicycle lane, and into a parking lot.

The car was moving slowly at the time, but the guy was going pretty fast, so it was essentially like he rode into the front of the vehicle at a pretty good clip while getting bumped from the side. Myself and a couple of other cyclists immediately came to his aid. Fortunately, he wasn't badly hurt - his glasses had banged just beneath his left eye so there was some bleeding there, and it looked like he cut his lip - but no broken bones. Of course, he was pretty shocked. The guy who hit him was pretty shocked too. The car driver was - quite pathetically - apologising over and over - as if thats going to make anything better. Nobody seemed to know what to do. So if you are hit by a car, what should you do? According to Cyclist you should do the following:
When involved in a bike accident, call 911 immediately, assume you are injured and DO NOT REFUSE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE you could be in shock or your injuries just may not be apparent. ALWAYS make sure police are called to the scene and the police take a detailed report. Make certain the other driver has provided his or her driver's license, insurance information, license plate of the vehicle driven, and take a description of the driver and the vehicle.
Other resources for bicycle accident reporting and bicycle safety I have found: San Francisco accident map, a Google Maps mash-up. Bicycling Street Smarts, an e-book about how to ride safely. How not to get hit by cars, another bicycle safety resource. SFBC's Bicycle Safety page, which contains information about law, safety, etc.

Niall O'Higgins is an author and software developer. He wrote the O'Reilly book MongoDB and Python. He also develops Strider Open Source Continuous Deployment and offers full-stack consulting services at

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