Filing a Police Report

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Lou F.

All the talk of filing a police report in a recent thread reminded me of some information I discovered several months ago. It’s a little wordy, but worth sharing. This may have been posted previously, if so . . . apologies. If you have different information please post.

Filing police reports in incidents involving bicyclists can be ambiguous. As a result many go unreported.

Police file two types of reports incident and crash.

An incident report is general and covers all things that are not crash reports.

A crash report is required in the event of a vehicle incident that involves a towing or injury.

Towing implies that a vehicle has been made incapacitated as a result of the crash. Although a bicycle is a vehicle under PA state law there is no legal precedent or known incident of a bicycle being incapacitated and the bicyclist not being injured. It is a “gray matter”. Therefore it is impossible to assume that a report would be triggered in the case of such an event.

In the event of an injury it can be as minor as a scrape or bruise and still trigger a report. A trip to the hospital is not required to trigger a report. If an officer is trying to “side step” a report it is recommended that the victim make clear that they have been injured and remind the officer that a report is required.

The most effective way to begin the process of creating a report is by calling 911 at the time of the crash. The 911 operator will collect the basic information and contact the police in the appropriate jurisdiction to respond to the call.

Alternatively I guess you could call the police after the fact and claim to have been injured, but without verification that you made a trip to the hospital or doctor it might be difficult to prove you were injured. Another reason to see a doc to make sure you’re okay.

Nick D

Great info, Lou!

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