Have you ever had a collision with a pedestrian? I’ve heard of friends damaging their bike after they perform of an emergency stop. However, that’s nothing compared to a story London Cyclist reader Tiva sent me.
It all took place on Aldwych road. A pedestrian stepped out in Tiva’s path and did the classic “left-right-left-right-freeze” dance coming to a halt directly in the path of the bike. Tiva tried to slam on her brakes and in the process fell off the bike damaging her knee.
The pedestrian apologised but Tiva was clearly injured. An ambulance was called. However, Tiva, in that classic British way that seems so common in these accidents, thought she was able to get to the hospital on her own steam and that an ambulance wasn’t needed.
This is now classed as a Road Traffic Accident
The 999 call was cancelled but an ambulance that was in the area turned up anyway. Unknowingly at the time, by cancelling the call, Tiva was also cancelling the police call out. When a cyclist is knocked off their bike by a pedestrian, this is now classed as Road Traffic Accident. As such, it needs to be recorded by the police and investigated if emergency services have been called out.
Tiva made it to the hospital where the damage was assessed and then attempted to pass on the pedestrian’s details to the police. Shortly afterwards it was discovered that the pedestrian had given fake details.
After lengthy conversations with the Traffic Criminal Justice unit, it became clear that even if the pedestrian had been tracked down, the case wouldn’t have been taken any further. In the words of one of the officers “Never in the history of London had a pedestrian been prosecuted for being at fault”. Whilst it would be a criminal offense to give fake details if the road traffic accident involved a car, beleaguered cyclists, have once again slipped the cracks.
Amazingly, 10 days later, the pedestrian was spotted again. However, Tiva couldn’t get off the bus in time to confront her. Short of becoming a psycho vigilante, a task that would be tough to perform on crutches as Tiva notes, there’s little that can be done. Meanwhile Tiva is looking at a year of physiotherapy, a knee operation and £150 worth of repairs to her bike.
What the story does highlight for fellow cyclists is the importance of knowing what to do in this situation. You can’t always rely on people to be good citizens.
British cycling have an incident checklist and we’ve also discussed the steps to keep in mind if you are ever in an accident. In particular, you shouldn’t be afraid to request an ambulance and the police. Not only is this important because the adrenaline may make you feel like you are fine at the time, but also because a claim may help you out post accident. Not calling the police also means it’s hard for police to have a realistic image of the number of incidents that occur and therefore give this the attention it deserves.
A special thank you to Tiva for sending in her story to help others and I wish her a full recovery.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.