Our Top Ten Tips of Things to Do After a Cycling Accident?
Cycling is a popular form of exercise, and also a method of general transport that has been growing in popularity year on year for some time. Cycling is cheap, keeps you fit, and is great for the environment. But it isn’t all downhill cruising, as cycling injuries that are caused by a road traffic accident can be severe, especially if the cyclist wasn’t wearing any protective clothing.
Becoming the victim of a cycling accident, no matter how minor, is going to be a stressful, potentially traumatic experience. Not only will you have to deal with a possibly damaged bike, and also your own injuries, but there are also a number of legal obligations that you must fulfil, related to reporting the accident, etc. And of course, if the accident wasn’t your fault, you may, at a later stage, whish to pursue a cycling accident claim against the party that caused the accident. You will need to ensure that you take action after the accident, that prepares for this eventuality.
This page offers some solid advice on how best to deal with the aftermath of a bicycle accident. To get the help you need at the time of the accident, to ensure you have covered your legal obligations, and to make sure you are well prepared to make a compensation claim at a later stage if applicable.
- What Should You Do Following a Cycling Accident?
- The Main Causes of Cycling Accidents
- What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Cycling Accidents?
- Cycling Accident Statistics
- 10 Tips of Things to Do After the Accident
- Who Could be Liable for a Cycling Accident?
- Do You Need to Make a Claim?
- Cycling Accidents – Some Final Thoughts
- Further Information
What Should You Do Following a Cycling Accident?
Most people have a general idea of what they would need to do following a cycling accident. Move their bicycle off the road, deal with any injuries, etc. And whilst these are, of course, important things that need to be done after an accident, there are quite a few more steps you may need to take, many of which you probably won’t be aware of, or the reasons why you might need to do them.
This page aims at showing you the kinds of steps you need to take after a road traffic accident. Not all of our 10 tips for things to do will apply to every accident though. We will be covering:
Some of the main causes of cycling accidents. A road traffic accident involving a bicycle can have vastly different causes than, for example, a car accident. Cyclists are at risk of an accident caused by hazards that a car, van or lorry driver would find trivial. For example, deep puddles on a road. Most vehicles would just drive through them, hardly noticing. A cyclist, however, could find this a significant hazard.
The kinds of injuries that cyclists are prone too. As riding a bicycle, especially without protective clothing and a good helmet, places a person at risk of serious injuries if they are involved in a road traffic accident.
A number of statistics that relate to cycling in the UK, including road traffic accident data.
Our list of top ten things you could need to do if you are involved in a road traffic accident whilst riding your bike. To make sure you get the help you need at the scene, that you disburse your legal obligations, and that you have ensured that you are in the best position to make a compensation claim in the future if you need to.
We have included a section that explains who could be liable for causing a cycling accident. This, of course, includes you, the rider. We added this section so that you can a) come to understand just who might be in a position to take legal action against you if you caused the accident, and b) so that you learn which kinds of third parties could be pursued for damages if they caused the accident.
No guide to any kind of road traffic accident would be complete without a section related to the legal process of making a compensation claim for any physical harm or financial loss you have suffered. We offer some good advice on how to find good legal help, how claims management firms work, and also why a No Win, No Fee solicitor might be a good choice in some instances.
At the end of this page, we will summarise its contents, and wrap up with a few more insights into why it is important that you take the rights steps after a road traffic accident. And lastly, we have provided some external links that lead to websites that have related information that might be useful to you. We have tried to cover as much as we can on this page, but there might be specific aspects of your own circumstances that we have not covered. If you do need some advice following a cycling accident, you should probably consider contacting a legal firm for assistance.
The Main Causes of Cycling Accidents
A bicycle is a small, slow vehicle. This means that the kinds of hazards that can cause a cyclist to suffer an accident, are often the kinds of hazards that other road users might not even notice. They would be considered almost trivial by a car or lorry driver for example, but could cause a serious accident for a cyclist. Such as:
- Being cut off, or another vehicle turning into the cyclist’s path. This generally happens when a motor vehicle overtakes a cyclist and then cuts in front of them without leaving enough room behind.
- Being run off the road. Again, caused by overtaking vehicles. The driver that is overtaking the cyclists fails to leave enough room on the left-hand side. The bicycle is either pushed off the road physically by making contact with the overtaking vehicle, or wind caused by the passing vehicle pushes them off the road.
- Drivers failing to see a cyclist. When turning at a junction or when changing lanes. Every vehicle has a blind spot in their rear-view mirrors and a bicycle is small enough to disappear in such a blind spot.
- Vehicles pulling out in front of a cyclist from a junction. Due to the driver not paying due care and attention, and not seeing the cycle coming along the road that they are pulling out on to.
- A driver or passenger opening a car door in the path of an oncoming cyclist. When a bicycle is close to a car, it is almost impossible for people in the car to see it, unless they look out of the rear window or the side windows.
- Bad road conditions. More than any other road user, a cyclist is at risk of a serious accident from nothing more complicated than a pothole or a rut in the road.
These are some of the kinds of hazards that can result in a cycling accident. As you can clearly see, these are really fairly unique hazards that other road users would handle safely without a hiccup.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Cycling Accidents?
We have already shown how people who are riding a bicycle are put at risk of an accident by a fairly unique set of road hazards. And of course, due to the nature of a bicycle, with its complete lack of any protection for the rider, the injuries a cyclist can suffer can be quite serious. Especially if the rider is not wearing an approved cycling helmet. Some of the most common cycling accident injuries are:
- Road rash, scrapes, and grazes caused by contact between the skin and a road surface. In some cases, these injuries can be quite severe, and require skin grafts as part of the treatment for them.
- Cycling accident head injuries. If the cyclist isn’t wearing a helmet, they are at far greater risk of suffering head injuries, and also catastrophic injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), that in an extreme case, could be fatal.
- Soft tissue injuries, such as a cycling accident foot injury, caused by the limb being flexed the wrong way. Sprains and strains are a common cycling injury.
- Fractures, specifically of the legs, arms, shoulders, wrist and ankles. These are all high-risk parts of the body in a cycling accident, likely to be fractured.
Cycling Accident Statistics
The Royal Society for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), undertook an investigation into bicycle accidents in November of 2017. These cycling accident statistics were published in the findings of this study, they relate to the year 2016:
- Accidents involving children resulted in 8 deaths, 309 serious injuries, and 1,664 slight injuries.
- Accidents involving adults resulted in 94 deaths, 13.314 serious injuries, and 16,496 slight injuries.
- 81% of all cyclist injured in a road traffic accident were male.
- Almost 2/3rd of all cycling accidents took place on or near a road junction.
- 80% of all cycling accidents happen in the daytime.
- 75% of serious or fatal accidents involving a cyclist happens in an urban area.
- Around 2/3rd of all fatal accidents involving a bicycle, head injuries were the cause of death.
10 Tips of Things to Do After a Cycling Accident
As promised, here are our 10 top tips for things to do if you have been involved in a cycling accident. Each of these will either help to make sure you get the help you need at the time of the accident, make sure you have fulfilled all of your legal obligations, and also prepare you for making a compensation claim if you need to.
1. Ensure Everyone Is Safe and Call for Help If Needed
Make sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe, unless of course, you have such severe cycling injuries that you cannot help. Move people off the road into a safe place, unless they appear to be suffering from serious injuries. In such cases, they should be left where they are and not moved.
2. Notify the Police If Applicable
In certain situations, you must report a road traffic accident to the police. This is your legal duty and failing to do so could see you prosecuted. Probably the best idea is always to inform the police of any road traffic accident. This will ensure that you can get a cycling accident report from the police if you need it as evidence later.
3. Gather Driver Details and Evidence
As a cyclist, you are not expected to provide your documents to other drivers involved in the accident, apart from your name and address. You don’t need a licence or insurance to ride a bicycle legally. However, you should get the details of other drivers yourself, as you might need them later.
Also, consider taking some photographs of the scene of the accident, to show how it happened and the positions of the vehicles. These might be needed as evidence later on. Similarly, getting the names and addresses of any witness is a good way to prepare for making a claim in the future.
4. Get Medical Treatment
If you were to suffer bike accident anywhere, such as a cycling accident Oxfordshire, you should visit the local Accident & Emergency Department at a nearby hospital to have your injuries checked over. Do this even if you think your injuries a slight and don’t need treatment. Some injuries such as a concussion are hard to self-diagnose.
Visiting the hospital will also ensure that there is an official paper trail, showing what your injuries were, how severe they were and how they were caused. This could be valuable proof if you end up making a claim later.
5. Inform the Insurer
If a third party was to blame for the accident, and your bicycle was damaged, you might be able to claim some damages against the other driver’s vehicle insurance. So, you will need to contact the insurer (this is why you already gathered to driver information in a previous step).
6. Find A Solicitor
If you have suffered any level of cycling crash injuries, or incurred any financial losses due to the accident and your injuries, you may be able to make a compensation claim. An accident and injury lawyer would be able to help you to make a claim.
7. Be Truthful
Don’t exaggerate your injuries, the damage to your bicycle, or the financial losses you have suffered. If a claim goes to court, you would likely be found out and this would jeopardise your legal position.
8. Don’t Sign Anything
The insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident might send you a letter. This letter may offer to provide you with free legal help to make a claim, and other benefits. However, don’t sign any documents until a solicitor has looked at them. You could be limiting the liability of the insurer if you do.
9. Think Before Accepting an Out of Court Settlement
In many cases, an insurance company will offer a pre-medical, out of court settlement to the victim of a cycling accident. However, you need to keep in mind that any such offer you are made, will not be taking into account your injuries, their severity and whether they will have any long-term negative effect on your life. Unless your injuries were trivial, you would likely get more compensation by turning down this offer and making a full compensation claim.
10. Be Patient
The legal process of claiming compensation can take some time. Even if your solicitor deals with things quickly and efficiently, they could be left waiting for a response from the defendant’s legal team. Complex claims can take many months or even years to resolve. Your lawyer should give you regular updates about what is going on with your cycling accident claim.
Who Could be Liable for a Cycling Accident?
It is important that you understand the kinds of legal entities that might be liable to pay damages for a cycling accident. In all but a fatal cycling accident, this could also include you the cyclist. If you were not to blame for the accident, the kinds of third parties that could be, include:
- Another driver – this could be the driver of a car, lorry, van, bus, taxi, motorcycle, or any other road user.
- The passenger of a vehicle – including a passenger on a bus or some form of public transport, or the pillion passenger on a motorcycle.
- A pedestrian – when a person is walking on a public road or pavement, and they cause a hazard which results in a road traffic accident, they could be liable.
- The owner of an animal – such as a pet dog that has escaped, a farm animal that has strayed onto the road, or a horse rider. If the animal causes an accident the owner could be liable.
- A Government organisation – including the local highways authority and the local council. If a government organisation causes a road hazard, and this results in a cycling accident, they could be liable. This includes hazards such as damaged road surfaces and potholes.
- A privately-owned company – if a business causes a road traffic hazard, and this, in turn, causes a cycling accident, the company could be liable for compensation.
These are the main kinds of legal entities that could be liable for damages if they are responsible for causing a bicycle accident. There could be others, and a solicitor would be able to tell you just who is liable in your own case.
Do You Need to Make a Claim?
If you are harmed in a bicycle accident that wasn’t your fault, then you could in the right circumstances, be able to make a cycling accident claim. You have a couple of options here. You could approach a solicitor directly and engage them to help make your claim. Or you could get in touch with a claims management firm, who will find the right solicitor for your claim and handle everything for you. Both have advantages, but using a claims firm is the easier option. A claims form might also be able to offer you a No Win, No Fee deal, meaning you won’t have to pay any solicitors fees unless your claim is a success.
Cycling Accidents – Some Final Thoughts
The takeaway here is that this page has given you a framework for dealing with the post-accident situation. If you were to witness a fatal cycling accident today involving a person you were riding with, you should now be equipped to manage it effectively.
And of course, you are now in a position to follow the proper protocol if you, yourself become the victim of a bicycle accident, whether you intend to make a compensation claim for the accident or not. Cycling is a fun source of exercise and a great way to travel, either commuting or long distance. You can now be confident that even in the worst case, if you are involved in a road traffic accident, you will manage the incident properly.
We have included these external links, and all of these sites have some useful information you might like to check out: