Every so often, we hear of a car-bike accident that leaves the cyclist dead or severely injured. We shake our heads and cluck about the sorry state of affairs. Maybe we even keep tabs on the case, to see what (if any) penalty is imposed on the driver.
Now, there’s more concrete help for victims of car-bike crashes. It’s called the Bicycle Accident Victim’s Fund. Based on Boulder, Colorado, the BAVF actually comprises two separate funds — one to help with legal bills as a result of a car-bike crash, and one to help with non-legal expenses.
The Bicycle Accident Victims Assistance Fund is designed to help bicyclists defer non-legal expenses. The Bicycle Accident VAF is made possible by donations and in-kind services from corporations, foundations, individuals, government agencies, participants of organized events, and philanthropists, club and team memberships. They also sell RiderID — a sticker you attach to your bike that connects you to a national registry of rider information.
The second fund is called the Bicycle Accident Legal Defense Fund (LDF). This is the one that helps with legal bills, and according to the BAVF news release, is funded by annual memberships from law firms.
To qualify for assistance from these funds, the bicyclist must not be at fault in the crash, and must be in the 48 contiguous states or the District of Columbia. Sorry, Alaska and Hawaii.
The fund is just starting up. It will accept applications for funding for crashes that happen after December 31, 2010, and expects to start paying out sometime during the first quarter of 2011.
It’s an interesting — and in my view, welcome — concept. I’m not sure about the RiderID, though. It strikes me as much the same thing as RoadID — but stuck to the bike, instead of worn by the rider. Frankly, I don’t want a sticker on my bike. I’ve had bikes in the past that I had to put registration stickers on, and they’re not aesthetically pleasing. I wonder if the BAVF could have partnered with RoadID to do something similar.
In fairness to the RiderID concept, the BAVF news release notes that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of RiderID will go to the Bicycle Accident Victims Assistance Fund.
In any case, I’m glad to know that cyclists who find themselves on the losing end of a car-bike crash now have a way to recover some of the costs of recovery.