Top 5 tips if you’re in a cycling accident
As we all know cyclists are identified in the Highway Code as one of the more vulnerable groups of road users.
In my experience having acted for numerous injured cyclists, accidents arise because of 3 reasons. These are the actions of other road users, defects in the road structure, or defective equipment, ie your bike just lets you down!
If you are injured and it isn’t your fault, you maybe entitled to make a claim for your injuries and financial losses. But crucially some of the most important evidence often needs to be obtained at the very moment the adrenaline is running to the max. So here are my top 5 tips to remember at the scene of an accident:
1. The most important thing is to appreciate whether you are still in danger following the collision. If you come off your bike, get yourself safe before doing anything else. If you are not able to, shout or wave to get the attention of others.
2. If in doubt, call for emergency backup. We’ve all experienced defensive and therefore aggressive drivers, so if you are riding on your own don’t feel bad about calling the police if you feel intimidated. If they do attend then ask them to put their details in your phone. It sounds obvious but if you need medical help, phone an ambulance, but certainly get a hospital check-up especially if your helmet was damaged. The advantage of this is that it will act as a permanent record of the accident which is sometimes the difference between recovering the cost of that replacement carbon bike or not.
3. Take your time and don’t be rushed. Hopefully you will just have a few bruises and a slightly damaged ego, but however experienced you are, there will always be an element of shock. If people have stopped then don’t get all British about it. Accept friendly help and assess whether you are fit enough to pedal off.
4. Before you do pedal away though, think evidence, evidence, evidence. Here you will be thankful you asked for that new phone clip for Christmas. Take the details of anyone who might have caused the collision. If you do one thing, take a photo of their registration plate as lawyers can carry out a search to find the relevant insurance just from the reg plate. If anyone witnessed the accident, get them to write their details in your phone. Independent witnesses will often decide a case in your favour. Take photos of the area; as many as you can that show the scene. Remember people’s memories fade, so snap away, even if you think it irrelevant. If a pothole caused you to come off your bike, take photos of it, but also of the general vicinity so it can be identified later. If there are other potholes, take pictures of those; (it gives the impression of a poorly maintained road). If you can take a photo that shows the depth of the pothole, even better. Above all though, don’t put yourself in danger doing this, you can always come back later with a friend.
5. Check your bike over to see if it is safe to ride away. Only ride off once you have looked for damage to the wheels, components and frame (especially important with a carbon frame). When you get back get an experienced bike technician to inspect it. If any claim is successful these are the type of costs that will be recoverable.
Tim Ransley is an Associate Solicitor within the Personal Injury team at Bennett Griffin. As a keen local cyclist, and a member of Worthing Excelsior CC as well as being an Advanced Driver, he is particularly well placed to advise on cycling accidents. He is able to act for clients on no win no fee agreements.