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We previously identified that cycling isn’t as unsafe as you might think when we considered whether you should wear a cycling helmet, or not, however, accidents do happen, and it’s worth knowing what you should do if you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in one.

Fortunately, everything you need to know can be summarised in one acronym:

P – R – Y – E – R – S

Photographs

Take photographs of anything relevant. Pay particular attention to anything that is temporary and/or might be disputed at a later date.

Although nowadays we have the luxury of photographic mapping software, such as Google Street View, which is a fantastic tool allowing solicitors, police and insurance companies to piece together how an accident occurred, they aren’t infallible – things such as weather, the precise position of the parties and the lighting conditions, which can play a crucial part in how and why an accident occurred can’t be easily replicated after the event.

You’re not just limited to photographs though; video and audio recordings can also be useful – even if it’s just by recording your recollection of the event, in detail, whilst it’s still fresh in your mind. Be aware though, that because these forms of evidence require equipment to view/listen to there have been instances where judges have been unable to access them, so photos, as well as video, would be recommended.

If you’re not able to take photos perhaps you can ask a friend or bystander to do it for you.

Report

Reporting the incident is important for three reasons: –

  • Evidence that it occurred;
  • Allowing interested parties to conduct investigations; and
  • Potentially avoiding similar accidents from happening again.

Who needs to know will vary on a case-by-case basis though.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving another road user, and you’re injured, or believe the other party may have broken the law, you should report the incident to the police. If you do report the incident, obtain the attending officers name and take an incident reference number.

If you’ve been involved in an accident involving a pothole, or other highway obstruction, you will want to let the person responsible for the maintenance of that section of the road know. If the accident occurred on the public highway, you will probably need to let the local council know. Websites such as Fix My Street and Fill That Hole might help with this.

If the accident was on private property, you will need to find out who the land owner was and let them know.

Why? 

There’s no need to express your thought process to the other party at this time, the last thing you want to do is get into a debate at the roadside – leave this to your legal representatives, at a later date – but there’s certainly no harm in turning your mind to how the accident happened at such an early stage. Doing so whilst you’re still on the scene is likely to help you collect the evidence and information to help you if the accident is disputed at a later date.

Exchange Details

It’s crucial to get the name, address and registration number of the other party involved in the accident, along with the make, model and colour of the vehicle they are driving. If they have their insurance details, there is no harm in taking these.

If they don’t provide their details willingly, take what you can (the make, model and registration should be readily available) and report the incident to the police, even if you do not manage to get the full details, after all, it’s possible that they have just committed a criminal offence by driving off and it is a requirement of making a claim against an untraced defendant.

If you manage to get the vehicle registration, a legal representative should be able to proceed with a claim, as normal, for you. If it turns out they are uninsured, or even untraceable, you might still be able to make a claim under via Motor Insurers’ Bureau.

It’s a very good idea to take details of any witnesses at this stage too. Names and contacts for anybody who saw the accident can be invaluable. These arguably become even more important if the driver leaves the scene, before you can obtain any details, as a third party to corroborate your account can be invaluable.

Recovery

If you’re injured, you should visit your local accident and emergency department or your GP as soon as possible. Bear in mind that not all injuries (particularly those to the head and brain) are visible in the way that a laceration or broken bone would be, but it’s important they are checked out and treated as soon as possible.

If you make a claim at a later date, the assessment of your injuries will usually include an independent expert looking at your medical records, which will include consideration of your initial report to a medical professional.

If your symptoms persist, you might decide later that you need physical therapy. If you make a claim for your injuries, your solicitor might be able to help you arrange, or recover the costs of funding the treatment privately, to restore normality as soon as possible.

And remember that not all injuries are physical. A lot of our clients suffer psychologically as a result of being in cycling accidents, and this is perfectly normal. Remember that treatment can be obtained for these, so you should seek help in the same way as for a physical injury.

Save

Keep hold of anything that has been damaged in the accident and the receipts for replacing the damaged gear. Insurers will sometimes dispute damage you consider to be obvious, and it is your duty to prove it was damaged. The same goes for the cost of non-physical things, such as the labour costs of your local bike shop carrying out repairs.

When You’re Ready, Call the Experts

Conveniently, you only need to remember the same word: Pryers. As we have a team of experts dedicated to representing injured people, particularly vulnerable road users, such as cyclists. Our small, specialised team means, that we can provide the personal service you’d expect from your local law firm on a national scale. Just call us on 1904556600 or contact us by email.

A flyer prepared by Pryers Solicitors about what do if you have been involved in a cycling accident.

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Robyn Hawxby is a Partner at Pryers Solicitors. She is adept in advising claimants in complex injury claims, as acknowledged in this year's addition of @ChambersGuides.

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