New to cycling – what to do if I have an accident?

Posted on 17th September 2020

As a result of the current pandemic, many more people have either recently taken up cycling for the first time or are cycling more. This might be to avoid public transport in commuting to work, to improve fitness or perhaps to help the environment.

The government is also encouraging people to walk and cycle more and temporary cycle lanes and wider pavements are being created to free up space.

Understandably some people, particularly those who are new to cycling, are nervous about cycling due to the risk of having an accident. Changes have been proposed to the Highway Code to improve cycle safety.*

Tips on staying safe when cycling

Cycling is not without risk though. So what do you need to know as a cyclist to reduce the likelihood of having an accident or mitigate the impact if you are caught up in an accident?

Firstly you need to know and comply with the Highway Code. All cyclists should seek to follow these simple steps to make their journeys safer, including:

  • Always wearing a helmet
  • Always wearing brightly coloured and / or reflective clothing
  • Always having front and rear working lights on their bicycle and making sure they are on even in the day time
  • Using a bell
  • Ensuring their bicycle is in good working order
  • Getting lots of practice to become a confident cyclist (I can say this from personal experience; when I was new to cycling I would cycle too close to the pavement thinking I was safer there, but this is not the case. Cyclists should adopt a strong position in the road and not be afraid to make cars wait behind them).

Watch out for other road users

Cycling accidents can be caused by other road users, most commonly other drivers, but I am also dealing with several cases where the cyclist has struck a defect in the road causing them to fall off the bike leading to serious injuries.

What do I do if I have an accident when out cycling?

Unfortunately, accidents happen and it is important to know what to do if you have been in an accident:

  • Obtain the name and contact details of the person who caused the incident and if a vehicle was involved, the vehicle registration number
  • Make a note of witnesses names and contact details
  • Take photos of the accident scene and road layout
  • Take photos of other vehicles involved
  • Take photos and measurements of any defects that have caused the accident
  • A simple diagram setting out the road layout, to include road names and direction of travel is very helpful and will be required by the solicitor if a claim is pursued
  • Consider reporting the accident to the police and follow up to obtain the police reference number and details of the outcome of any investigation
  • If you are injured seek medical attention as soon as possible, so most importantly the injuries can be addressed but secondly so that there is further contemporaneous evidence of the accident occurring

Time Limits

If you have been in involved in an accident, it is important to obtain legal advice as soon as possible. Under the Limitation Act, whilst an individual has 3 years to pursue a claim from the date of the accident (or in the case of a minor, 3 years from their 18th birthday), it is important to pursue a claim as soon as possible so that vital evidence can be obtained.

If you have suffered a cycling injury due to somebody’s else negligence, you may be entitled to compensation to help get your life back on track. For a free consultation with our specialist Personal Injury Solicitors please call us today 0808 231 6369 or request a call back online.

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* Take this quiz to find out about some of these changes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-54027461

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