Steps to keep in mind if you are ever involved in an accident

It’s a horrible thought, but it is far better to be aware of the steps needed if you are in an accident or indeed if you witness an accident with a cyclist and need to help.

When we tweeted about this it got a lot more clicks than expected so understandably this is something people want to be aware of. To produce this guide we’ve worked with CAMS who have a ton of experience in this area. We also followed the ever helpful guide on the LFGSS forum. Here are the list of steps you should take following an accident.

Step 1

Get yourself out of danger. This should largely go without saying. If you are unable to move then make yourself visible in any way you can.

Step 2

If injured seek medical attention or get someone to call an ambulance for you.

Step 3

If possible look for witnesses. Or if you are injured get someone to find witnesses for you. People may move on quickly so it is important to do this early on. It is really useful to have at least 2 independent witnesses who can vouch for what happened. Ideally get their business card and make a note of their details including where they work. This makes it easier to track them down. Witness statements are crucial in a court and for the police.

Step 4

Exchange details. You should make a note of vehicle registration plates, make, colour and model. You should also have full insurance details as well as names and addresses.

Step 5

Gather evidence. Look around for CCTV cameras and make a note of these passing them on to police (and always keep a note for yourself as the police have been known to lose them). Use your camera phone or ask someone to take pictures of the scene. This should be done before the vehicle and your bike is moved. Be as thorough as you can with your picture taking including the damage caused. Ideally also grab a picture of the driver to prove that he was the driver at the time.

Step 6

Keep copies of everything. You should ask for copies of police reports, ambulance reports and also tell the police to keep in contact with you regarding any progress of the case. You should also make notes of attending officers names and details.

Step 7

Compensation. Bicycles need replacing and medical care needs paying for. The best thing you can do is keep detailed receipts and the damaged items. If medical care is needed then get detailed notes from the doctors to be used as evidence. Ideally find yourself a good solicitor who has experience in bicycle accidents.

Tip: Don’t ride the bicycle away from the scene. If you want the police to follow up the report and take it seriously then riding the bike away doesn’t help.

Tip: Don’t get angry! It is important not to lose your temper as it will act against you.

Fill out the claims form to get advice on your accident from CAMS.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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28 Responses to Steps to keep in mind if you are ever involved in an accident

  1. Bart Govaert 21/09/2010 at 10:27 am #

    Thank you for this article, this is really useful.

    Quick question regarding insurance. I do actually have an insurance (including third party and all that stuff), but if ever I would have an accident, I would not have the details on me, should I be carrying my insurance papers?

  2. Dave Escandell 21/09/2010 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Bart,

    No, you do not need to have the details with you, so long as you are able to provide any other party with them.

    As a cyclists it is probable that a motorist may not know you have insurance and may not even ask you.

    If you did want to carry basic insurance details with you, maybe you could have a small buiness card size bit of paper in the underside of your helmet if you wear one, or anywear else on your cycle kit – stuck under your saddle maybe?

  3. LTMWB 21/09/2010 at 12:27 pm #

    I had an accident back in April a car pulled straight out in front of me the upshot was I went over the handlebars and broke both my elbows and the nice car driver looked at me and drove off, also two other cars drove round me while i was laying in the road nice aye.

    I did report the accident to the police but didn’t hear any more from them, there was no CCTV in that main road where is CCTV when you want it.

    I was off work for twelve weeks but back now and back on my bike :-)

  4. Peter 21/09/2010 at 1:26 pm #

    really helpful, thanks.

    got hit by a car a few weeks ago (they jumped a light at a crossroads) and was so shaken up I didn’t really know what to do at the time.

    the guy stopped (although every other car drove past, some even shouting abuse at me!), we exchanged details, turned out I was OK, the bike wasn’t. I reported it to the police after the driver had gone (police seemed fairly uninterested, in fact still haven’t heard anything from them). when I got in touch with the driver, he offered to pay for all the repairs, fortunately. feel extremely lucky not to be more injured/ out of pocket.

    thanks to Tom at Bobbin Bicycles who stopped and gave me loads of heloful advice at the time..

    • Dave Escandell 21/09/2010 at 2:00 pm #

      LTMWB – Peter – You have both described the two spectrums of what we generally see as cyclists.

      On the one hand a driver who doesn’t care and illegally leaves the scene of the accident. On the other, a driver who takes responsibility. Unfortunately it’s relatively common that motorists simply treat injured cyclists with frustration and distrust, often blaming the cyclist in some way..

      LTMWB – Although you may not have details of the responsible party, If you do have details of the police that the accident was reported to, then you may still have the option of pursuing a claim via the MIB, as an untraced driver.

      • LTMWB 21/09/2010 at 2:35 pm #

        Thanks Dave that is what I have done through solicitors no win no fee.

  5. Bart Govaert 21/09/2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Dave, this is really useful. Can you expand a bit on the MIB thing, what is this, how would you go about?

    Thanks

    Bart

    • Dave Escandell 21/09/2010 at 2:23 pm #

      The MIB are the Motor Insurers’ Bureau. They are a quasi governmental organisation set up and funded for by insurance companies to enable victims of road traffic accidents to be compensated if the responsible party was uninsured or they are untraced. There are limitations and rules to exactly what qualifies for either scheme. They can be found here.

      http://www.mib.org.uk/Home/en/default.htm

      My advice would be that should a claim fall into either of these schemes and one is injured then to approach a firm of solicitors as independant legal advice should be taken in respect of any medical evidnce and subsequent offers of settlement.

  6. Filippo Negroni 21/09/2010 at 3:20 pm #

    It would be wise to highlight that accidents can happen between cyclists and that it is very important to have 3rd party cover while cycling.

    CTC provides such cover.

    • Dave Escandell 21/09/2010 at 3:38 pm #

      Check household insurance policies, credit card agreements or any other financial service documents that you already have. You may already have cover and are unaware of it.

  7. John 21/09/2010 at 7:17 pm #

    I have insurance with ETA and keep the details on a slip of paper in my wallet with me, also comes in handy for the person in the group that starts the old argument that all cyclists should have insurance, they go very quiet when I pull that piece of paper out!

  8. Neil 23/09/2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I went over the handlebars when a car pulled out in front of me on a main road. It was lucky he saw me at the last second and stopped or it could have been worse – I got away with just a few cuts and bruises. The bike suffered £100 worth of damage.

    At the scene, the guy was very concerned and gave me all his details. I also took a note of the registration number and photo of the vehicle.

    It turned out his details were false and when I went to the police they found he was driving on false plates too.

    If I’m involved in something like that again, I’ll be checking the tax disc on the car and asking for proof of ID from the driver. I would certainly be quicker to call the police to the scene. Has anyone experience of how the police respond to these type accidents when called to the scene?

    • Dave Escandell 23/09/2010 at 2:11 pm #

      Neil.

      If you call the police as a result of an accident and you have an injury – they should always attend.

      My advice is that no injury is too minor – what seem like superficial cuts and bruises at the time have the potential to get worse.

      Keeping the party at fault there may be more of a problem, thats why it’s important to get witness details asap.

  9. Sheridan 01/10/2010 at 12:37 pm #

    On Monday night I was hit by a bus on Regents Street – they overtook me, cut me up then batted me into a dustbin on the pavement, then drove off onwards, so a hit-and-run.
    Probably a hundred tourists around who saw what happened, but no ‘witnesses’ (not to mention the people who were in the bus). No-one saw if I was alright. I tried to remember the licence plate number: LK04 CV4, but can’t be sure of the last part of that.

    Regarding the advice not to ride the cycle afterwards – how would I have gotten home otherwise? If the idea is to leave the bike there as evidence, I wouldn’t trust my bike in the centre of London overnight, no matter how much I’d locked it up – there’d be no evidence at all in the morning!

    • Dave Escandell 01/10/2010 at 12:44 pm #

      Sheridan.

      While you may not have witnesses to pursue any claim if you were injured, for the benefit of other cyclists it’s worth at least letting Transport for London know.

      Even with a part registration and the time one would expect that the bus could be traced. Did you get the number?

      • Sheridan 04/10/2010 at 5:25 pm #

        Dave – took me ages to find anywhere on the TFL website to let them know (and I still didn’t find anywhere – I just picked the closest I could) – now reported to them.

    • Andrew Craig 28/10/2013 at 6:24 pm #

      If you get knocked off and the driver doesn’t stop, call the police straight away on 999. It’s a serious crime.

  10. Adrian 01/10/2010 at 1:40 pm #

    I use my own cctv. It’s similar to this camera from ebuyer (mine was from ebay shipped from hong kong). It’s proved pretty good so far, although I’d not trust it in the wet. I use a lacky band to strap it to my helmet. Here’s an example:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMyFAjyhnnI

    • Adrian 01/10/2010 at 1:46 pm #

      Sorry link to camera here:

      http://www.ebuyer.com/product/183959

    • Dave Escandell 04/10/2010 at 9:08 am #

      Shocking ignorance of the law in that video, and from one in charge of a very large and potentially dangerous vehicle.

  11. david 04/10/2010 at 7:57 pm #

    CTC have excellent insurance as part of membership Also a scheme whereby you can report bad driving One report won`t make any difference but a seriesof reports by different cyclists will add up to a case I have no doubt that the guy who broadsides me and shouts that I`m too far out in the road does it to others as well

  12. Big Softy 30/01/2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Step 8: Never apologise, as this could be taken as an admission of guilt.

  13. Tinkwalker 16/05/2012 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi,

    All cyclists should be aware of this and keep a checklist on them just in-case.

    I was cycling in a straight line along a cycle path, a car cut left in front of me onto a side road, I did not have sufficient time to stop, I swerved to the left but hit this car. I gave the driver my details. I went to A&E with minor injuries, my bike is damaged, and it was a shock to say the least.

    The driver is now chasing me for cash for repairs, what do I do?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Andreas 09/08/2012 at 7:00 pm #

      Doesn’t sound like you would be liable here – I’ve sent you a quick email to see if you’d like to take this further.

  14. Hetty 09/08/2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Hi there,

    This is a really useful guide, thanks for sharing! My fiance was recently knocked off his bike by some idiot boy racer – he’s ok, but has some minor injuries.

    When you say you’re ‘collaborating’ with access legal, what exactly do you mean? We’re thinking of making a claim, as the driver was definitely in the wrong. What makes access legal’s services so good that you’ve partnered up with them? (I don’t mean this in a bad way, I’m just curious as there are so many firms and companies that say they do cycle accident claims, I want to know what to look out for and what makes a firm a good firm!)

    • Andreas 09/08/2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Just got in touch with you via email!

  15. Lydia Israel 11/06/2013 at 12:10 am #

    Yesterday at 08:00 a car cut left in front of me onto a side road and we collided somewhere along Coldharbour Lane. The driver stopped and so did two other cyclists who left me their mobile numbers to be witnesses for me and a pedestrian who took the driver’s name, mobile number and registration plate. I was so shaken I couldn’t say or do very much, or remember very much, except seeing a flash of blue on my right just before the collision, and screaming.

    Thankfully I don’t seem to have any injuries apart from bruising in my left thigh where the handlebar hit me. My bike is unrideable – the front wheel wouldn’t turn, I had to lift it on its hind wheel and drag it along. The driver was in touch the same day to check I was ok, and to offer to pay for a broken light as ‘a gesture of good will’. I think he should pay for my bike repair.

    I’d been advised to report it to the police, even though it is after-the-fact.

    How should I proceed? Your guidance would be much appreciated.

  16. Ben Davies 13/06/2013 at 10:25 am #

    Hi Lydia.

    Sorry to hear about your accident. You are absolutely right that the driver and his insurance company are liable for the bike repair.

    It would be wise to report to the police. They are unlikley to take action, but there will at least be a record of the event.

    I would also look at taking your bike into your local bike shop to get inspected, it sounds like a heavy impact, so I’d recommend a professional check it over.

    CAMS would be able to help with this if the driver isn’t prepared to settle in full. There are many other benefits, and they will arrange the inspection and repairs for you. Get in touch with Andreas if you require further details.

    Ben

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