You're out for a weekend ride on your bike one early spring weekend hoping to blow out some of the winter cobwebs from your brain and get back into a cycling routine. Out of nowhere, a car pulls into your path, leaving you with nowhere to go.
As you pick yourself up off the ground, you realize that you are lucky to be alive and in one piece. Surprisingly, even your bicycle seems to have made it through the collision with only some paint scraped off its frame. The driver checking on you doesn't appear to be intoxicated or impaired, and you decide to accept their heartfelt apology and agree to go your separate ways, both glad your collision wasn't far more serious.
Don't make a snap decision at the scene
Letting an at-fault driver off the legal hook of liability for your accident is foolhardy at best. Immediately following any accident between a bicycle and a motor vehicle, the cyclist is likely to be operating on pure adrenaline from the accident. That's enough to mask any pain from injuries you are not aware you have. By the time the realization of your pain and injuries hits you, that driver will be long gone. By then, it will be practically impossible to hold them liable for any medical bills and related expenses.
Your bike might not be fine, either
Just because you can ride it away from the scene of the bike accident does not mean that your bike did not sustain serious damage in the wreck. The frame may have been bowed or bent and some of the components may never work the same again.
But once you've agreed to let the driver go without notifying the police, it will be exceedingly difficult if not impossible to later prove that your injuries and your bike's damage was a direct result of your collision.
Take action to preserve your rights
By making a police report and seeking a medical evaluation after a cycling accident with a driver, you establish the veracity of any future claims that may arise from the incident. If you are truly fine, no harm is done and no claim will be made. But should you later suffer painful injuries or discover your bike is damaged, you will have a clear path to pursue financial compensation.