In A Crash? Follow These Basic Steps:
- If you are in pain, don’t try to move, you could end up injuring yourself even more.
- Call 911 or ask someone else to do it for you.
- If applicable, get the driver’s information (name, license plate, contact and insurance info).
- Get the name and contact information of any witnesses, this is your only chance to obtain it. Write down the badge number of the officer on the scene as well.
- File a police report to officially document the crash. Police are REQUIRED to create a report if someone is injured.
- You will need a Police Report if you seek legal compensation for medical bills. Do not take minor injuries lightly, go to the hospital immediately or visit a doctor soon after the incident to be sure that you are alright.
- Contact your local City Council or County Board of Supervisors. Tell them your story and that you want safer bicycling conditions where the accident took place.
- Contact Bike SLO County, we have legal resources to share with you and are here to help: email@example.com or 805-547-2055.
Have A Close Call? Report Aggressive Drivers
The Close Call Database is a helpful web based tool to document and spread the word about aggressive drivers. According to the Close Call Database founder Ernest Ezis:
“Drivers that are hostile to cyclists are often serial offenders. Cataloging their aggression and documenting their hostility towards cyclists provides important information to fellow cyclists, local police and prosecutors. When you record an incident here, it will be shared with cyclists in your area. When other cyclists report an Incident, it will be shared with you. When problem drivers are identified this site will contact police where the Incidents have occurred so that they can intervene before another tragedy occurs. If that same driver does harm a cyclist at a later date, the information in the Incident Reports will increase the likelihood that justice is served.”
You can register here: https://closecalldatabase.com/accounts/register/
or log in with Strava here: https://closecalldatabase.com/get-strava-login
Have Video of an Incident in the City of San Luis Obispo?
With concern for their safety, many cyclists have begun to use cell phone cameras and “Go- Pro” type video cameras to record the actions of motorists around them. Often, the cameras capture Vehicle Code violations that result in near collisions as well as the vehicle description and license plate number. But what to do with these images other than posting them on social media?
In 2016 The San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club and Bike SLO County joined forces and met with the City of San Luis Obispo Police Chief Deanna Cantrell and members of her staff to talk about creating a system that would allow cyclists to report Vehicle Code violations to the police utilizing the digital images from their devices. This information could lead to a criminal complaint assuming all of the necessary information for a complaint is available. If a criminal complaint cannot be obtained, the San Luis Obispo Police Department is open to sending a letter to the registered owner of the offending vehicle, advising him/her of the driver’s unlawful behavior and urging safe and responsible driving habits.
What types of violations can you report? Violations of the 3-Foot Rule, failure to yield, opening a car door in the bike lane without first looking to see if a bicycle is present, passing over double yellow lines, throwing of objects at riders, aggressive driving etc. If in doubt, report it, but be aware that only actions that break the law will result in a criminal complaint or letter.
If you use a phone or video camera while riding your bike and record a motorist committing a vehicle code violation that endangers you or others on the roadway, you may submit this information to the San Luis Obispo Police Department using the steps listed below. It is important to note that the violation must occur within the City of San Luis Obispo.
- Edit, save and download the segment of video to a commonly used video format (there are many) showing the violation, license plate number and vehicle type or save screen shots of the video with these images as a .jpg file on your computer or phone.
- E-mail the file, along with your description of the incident, to Dave Abrecht of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dave will submit your e-mail and file to the SLOPD Traffic Unit Supervisor who will review the file and send an appropriate letter to the registered owner of the vehicle.
PLEASE NOTE: This process takes time. You will not hear back immediately. When it is determined that a violation has taken place, it usually takes about one week for the police to send a letter to the owner of the vehicle. Once a determination has been made someone should contact you to let you know any actions taken. Please be aware that not all incidents that feel like violations will prove to be violations. Camera footage helps law enforcement judge whether or not recorded incidents violate the law.
If this project continues to work as planned, SLOPD Chief Cantrell is willing to share this program with the other law enforcement agencies in SLO County as well as the local California Highway Patrol offices.