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What should you do if you are involved in a cycling accident?

View profile for Rebecca Bennett
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It’s no secret that, in the UK, cycling is in the middle of a boom, with over 2.7 million adults throughout the country taking to their bikes at least once a week.

Unfortunately however, as cycling has increased in popularity, so too has the number of cyclists being injured whilst out on the roads.

I have previously blogged about how to stay safe on two wheels here. However, no matter how many steps you take to minimise the risk, there is always the possibility that, in heading out on to the roads, you may be involved in an accident.

So, what should you do if the worst happens and you are involved in an accident whilst out cycling?

This recent article by the BBC provides a useful checklist of steps to take after a crash.

Of course the first, and most important, step to take is to move to a safe spot if you are able to do so. Calling an ambulance or the Police as appropriate should be a priority, particularly if there is a serious injury, so ensure that you take a fully charged mobile phone out with you on every ride.

From a legal perspective, the call log made to the emergency services may be useful evidence if a legal claim is later contemplated; and from a road safety perspective, the data and statistics recorded from such calls can go on to inform decisions regarding road design and policy and, hopefully, improve safety in the future.

As with any accident on the road, whether it be in a car or on a bike, you should take the details of the other party and ensure that you get the registration number, make, model and colour of any vehicles involved. If an independent third party witnessed the accident try to also get their contact details where possible.

As highlighted in the BBC article, it is a good idea to take photographs of the incident. If at all possible, try to take photographs as soon after the accident as you can, before the vehicle involved, your bike, or any debris is moved. Take pictures, not only of the accident scene itself, but also of any relevant surrounding hazards, including parked cars, curbs, drains, painted lines, lamp posts, skid marks, road scratchings etc.

Again, from a legal perspective, having a full picture of all of the circumstances surrounding the crash is essential information and evidence to assist in piecing together what happened and the cause for the accident.

As many people who have been in a bike accident will attest, it is often not until you get home that you realise the full extent of your injuries. Some injuries are clear to see, such as the notorious ‘road rash’, but there may also be other injuries that aren’t immediately visible. A medical check-up can be a sensible idea and will help to ensure that any injuries are diagnosed and treated, and that you are back on your bike as soon as possible.

It can be a good idea to take pictures of any injuries and bruising that you have suffered, and subsequent pictures throughout the healing process, recording the dates of the same. This can be particularly useful in order to illustrate the degree of your injuries if a legal claim is pursued.

That said, as cyclists, often our initial concern is not for our own injuries, but rather whether our bike is still in one piece (!) Hopefully you will have a suitable insurance policy in place - not sure? You can read more about bike insurance in my past blog here - which will compensate you for damage to your bike and equipment.

It is important to keep receipts of any costs incurred, particularly if you are considering making a legal claim for your injuries, as your solicitor is likely to seek to recover those costs as part of the claim.

In some instances, being involved in a cycling crash can have knock-on consequences that can have a huge impact day to day, far beyond the initial pain and inconvenience.

Severe injuries may mean a period off work, which may mean a loss of earnings, as well as potential rehabilitation costs for physiotherapy or treatment, amongst a host of other unseen, and often unplanned-for, costs. These costs may arise in the immediate aftermath of the accident but can also be, in the case of severe injuries, long-term considerations. In the worst-case scenario, injuries can be permanent and life-changing.

In any case, and particularly in those involving severe and life-changing injuries, if you are contemplating a legal claim it is essential that you seek advice from a specialist solicitor experienced in dealing with claims of this nature.

JCP has helped a number of clients who have had serious accidents on two wheels due to the fault of another road user. If you have been involved in an accident and would like to discuss this further with a member of our team then please feel free to contact us here and we will be happy to discuss this further with you.   

Rebecca Bennett is an Associate Solicitor from our Injury Services Team and a seasoned, podium winning triathlete. Rebecca won her age group at Ironman Wales 2017, going on to qualify for, and compete in, the Ironman World Championships 2018 in Kona, Hawaii.

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