After the Fall, the Do’s and Don’t in the Aftermath of an Accident?

What starts as a pleasant enough jaunt down to the shops, or a get-together with fellow cycling enthusiasts, in the blink of an eye can turn nasty.

Riding a bike is, by definition, an act that puts safety at the forefront.  The very idea of falling is not something we set out to do.  All of us can recall that first moment when, perhaps it was a parent, let go and we found ourselves riding safely down the road.

From that first thrill, we amass experience and skill: riding no hands, tagging along to another cyclist, navigating bollards, and making quick turns.

But no matter how good any of us get on a bike, the one thing that we can never master is to fully predict what we do not know.  Especially when it comes to unexpected obstacles and the behavior of others.

While you cannot know the future, you can take both precautions in advance and have a little knowledge of what to do in the aftermath.

1. Pre-Cautions

The safety checklist is well-known.  There are the usual considerations such as:

  • having the right clothing
  • Ensuring there’s nothing loose either on your person or the bike
  • Wearing a helmet
  • Following the traffic rules for the region you’re in
  • Having safety equipment such as a bell and lights
  • Ensuring that tires are at the right pressure
  • The brakes are in working order.

But there’s also knowing if you are in an accident what you should do, and what your responsibilities might be.  This knowledge could keep you from putting yourself in jeopardy, abrogating your rights, and possibly impacting another.

2. At the Scene of Accident

In most situations involving a motorist and where there has been damage or an injury, you are generally required by law to remain on the scene.  Regardless of whether you have sustained an injury or damage, you are expected to await the police.

Leaving the scene can change the way it might be interpreted later if there is an investigation, and you might also not realize that you have, indeed, suffered an injury.

It may also prove impossible to later track down the motorist.  Or, if you have the motorist’s details, there might be a subsequent debate as to what has happened as you were not on-site to give your account to the authorities.


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    3. Casting Blame

    While you may feel you are at fault, or the driver acknowledges responsibility you need to keep in mind that, more than likely, your reasoning (and that of the other party) is being fueled with adrenalin.  Even if you are convinced you are a hundred percent in control of your faculties, this is not a place to negotiate.

    As mentioned earlier, you may not know that you have been injured until later.  And the motorist might have a change of heart.

    4. Do the Admin

    Just as you would if it were just vehicles, you need to collect information.  Exchange information such as name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, the license plate of each vehicle involved, the vehicle’s make and model, and the insurance details.  Though these are not the same for you on a bike, you should share such.

    In some countries, there are forms specifically to complete.

    You should also take pictures if you can of the scene and determine if there are any witnesses and record their contact details as well as their position at the time of the accident.

    Next, you need to document the conditions: this might involve a diagram or map, recording the traffic and weather conditions, where people were at the time, lights, road signs, distances, etc.  Be sure to also document the damage to all elements involved: the vehicle(s), your bicycle, your person, and anybody else caught up in the collision.

    5. When the Police Arrive

    Be prepared to relive the accident at this point.  Having to recount the situation, especially when it is to the authorities can cause unexpected emotions to surface.

    Be aware that there might be bias at play as some countries appear to tolerate cyclists as opposed to feeling a need to protect them.  You want to be sure that your version of what transpired gets into the record.

    If you are unable to express yourself at the scene (perhaps as you were injured), let it be known that you want to give a statement later.

    Also ensure that any evidence, even if in pieces, is noted by the police and preserved.

    6. Seek Medical Assistance

    Given that there could be claims of liability and unexpected costs, seek proper medical treatment.  This should be documented as these costs might not arise immediately, but over time, while you are trying to get your Health Back.

    7. Compensation

    a man fixing a bicycle

    You might be contacted by an insurance company.  You should consider first engaging legal advice like Hurt 123 who are versed in such claims.  Not knowing the law which varies from state to state, can cost you.

    Just because you are on a bicycle, you still have civil rights.


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    After the Fall, the Do’s and Don’t in the Aftermath of an Accident? — Bike Hacks