Cycling is not an inherently risky activity. Deaths are rare – just one death for every 32 million kilometres, which is 800 times around the world. However, cyclists are vulnerable road users and collisions do occur.
When collisions occur, the cyclist is more likely to be injured than a motorist because they have less protection.
If you are involved in a collision it is important to understand what you as a cyclist can do to protect yourself from any allegations and how you may bring a claim yourself for any personal injuries and financial losses.
- Contact details of the parties – Exchange name, address, email address and phone numbers with everyone involved in the collision. It is important that the other party is properly identified as they would be the Defendant in any civil proceedings. Put the contact info in an email to yourself so you can easily find it later.
- Registration number of the vehicle(s). – Taking note of the registration number is vitally important as it will be possible to trace the driver if he/she has supplied bogus details. It is also possible to identify the vehicle insurers through the Motor Insurer`s Database by entering the registration number. If possible take a photograph of the number plate and attach it to the email you send to yourself. Also obtain details of make, model and colour of the vehicle.
- Witnesses – Speak to anyone who witnessed the collision. Be sure to get their names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Photographic evidence – Take pictures of the position of the vehicle(s) and any injuries sustained as well as any property damage.
- Reporting – It is important that you report the incident to the police as soon as possible. If the police attend the scene of the incident, record the name and serial number of the officer(s). It might also be useful to record the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) reference.
- Video evidence – Helmet cameras are becoming more and more widely used. Video from helmet cams can be used as evidence in court. If the video file is too large to email to yourself then store it in cloud storage and email a link to yourself. Was the incident captured on CCTV film? eg from a street camera, bus, pub or shop. If so, this evidence needs to be preserved before it is wiped.
- Medical treatment – If you were injured in any way it is worth having your injuries checked by a qualified medical professional. This means that there will be an official record of your injuries that can be used in court.
- Property damage – If your bicycle, equipment or clothing was written off in the accident do not dispose of it before the insurers have a chance to inspect it otherwise there could be a dispute about the pre-accident value of these items.
- Behaviour at the scene of the incident – Don’t panic. Take a couple of deep breaths and then calmly collect the evidence you need to support your case. Don’t try to defend yourself or blame anyone for the collision.
- Legal advice – If injured contact a solicitor who specialises in cycling cases.