Cycling Accident Tips: What to Do After a Cycling Incident

Cycling Accident Tips: What to Do After a Cycling Incident

Getting into a cycling accident can be a scary and overwhelming experience. Even minor spills can leave you rattled, and more serious crashes can result in injuries that affect you for months or even years down the road.

While no one ever expects to be involved in a bike crash, knowing what to do after an incident can help you take care of yourself physically and legally. This article provides tips on the steps to take immediately following a cycling accident, from assessing your injuries and bike damage to collecting information and contacting the right authorities.

With the proper response, you can minimize further harm, protect your rights, and get back on the road to recovery. Stay calm and follow these cycling accident tips, so you can handle the aftermath safely and efficiently.

What to do if you fall while cycling

Ensure your safety

After a collision, check for injuries promptly.

James McNulty-Ackroyd, clinical projects manager at St John Ambulance, a first aid charity assisting the UK’s National Health Service with public events, including organized cycle rides, advises: “If you’re not injured or have minor injuries, move to the side of the road and to safety immediately.

At the same time, if you suspect a broken bone, keep the affected area still.

McNulty-Ackroyd adds: “Use blankets or a jacket to support the affected arms or legs.

For arm fractures, a triangular bandage is best, but you can achieve the same effect by tying a jacket’s arms together and placing it over your shoulders to rest your arm in the loop.”

In an incident involving one or more cars, if you or someone else can’t be moved safely, turn off the engines and activate the hand brakes and hazard lights.

Use high-visibility aids like vests and warning triangles where possible.

If Needed, Report the Incident.

If someone, including yourself, gets injured in a UK road accident, report itto the police “as soon as reasonably practicable,” but within 24 hours.

In some European Union countries and American states, you can report a traffic accident to the police, even if it involves only property damage like cars.

According to McNulty-Ackroyd, for serious injuries, such as being unable to move or having significant bleeding, call 999 and request an ambulance.

The police are usually dispatched routinely to such incidents, and the ambulance service can keep them updated on any scene developments.

For non-serious injuries, report to the police online or call 101 (the police non-emergency line).

If you’re unsure about the injury severity or need further advice, call 111 (the NHS non-emergency line) or visit an urgent care or emergency service.

In case of a non-life-threatening incident, an ambulance might take longer, so consider arranging an alternative way to get to the hospital if possible.

After a bike fall, the safest approach is to stop riding, even if both you and the bike seem undamaged.

If you find yourself far from a way to get home without riding and you’re physically well, Rob Granville of Carbon Bike Repair states that your bike is safe to ride after a thorough frame inspection for damage.

Conduct a basic safety check, also known as an M check.

Get Information From The Other Party And Witnesses.

If you’ve been in an incident with a pedestrian, motorist, cyclist, or caused damage to someone else’s property, get their contact info.

This applies to witnesses too, no matter their connection to the incident.

It’s essential for the police and insurers who may need to contact them to determine what happened and establish responsibility if fault is disputed.

Liz Murray, Operations and Insurance Manager at British Cycling, advises noting the time, location, and details of any vehicles, property, or people (third parties) involved in the incident.

Also, record:

  • Contact details of third parties
  • Make, model, and registration number of all affected vehicles
  • Insurance details of the driver(s) and vehicle(s) involved
  • Contact information for all witnesses
  • If safely possible, details of the incident location – including photos and any road defects

Keep calm, avoid arguments, assigning blame, or admitting faults.

Murray emphasizes: “If the other party fails to provide contact or insurance information, or if you suspect the information given is incorrect or incomplete, report it to the police immediately.”

Take Photos

Capture photos to document the incident scene. If a road defect caused it, take a photo, including an object like a water bottle for size reference.

If the area has CCTV coverage, request a copy of the footage from the property or business owner.

Helmet camera footage, if available, is valuable, especially when filing a claim against another party or defending yourself from allegations.

Ensure the images are saved and not overwritten.

The more testimonials and documentary evidence, like images and videos, you gather, the smoother it will be to manage any ensuing insurance or legal claims.

Save Damaged Items

Keep anything damaged in the incident as evidence for an insurance claim.

This includes not only your bike but also riding equipment like a helmet, clothing, and any accessories. Make sure you’ve collected everything from the scene.

Don’t attempt to repair or replace your bicycle until you’ve obtained permission from your insurer or the other party’s insurer (if it was their fault).

Inform Your Insurer.

If you have bicycle insurance, promptly notify your insurer about the accident. Provide details on when, where, and what happened.

Share information about the damage to you, your bike, clothing, and accessories. If possible, get a repair cost estimate from your workshop beforehand, including specifics on the required repairs, the expected duration, and when your bike will be ready to ride again.

Additionally, provide your insurer with details about other parties involved in the incident, their contact information, and insurer details. Include information on any witnesses.

Care After an Accident

If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, pay close attention to your symptoms in the following days, especially after a head injury or concussion.

According to McNulty-Ackroyd: “Watch out for worsening drowsiness, persistent headache, vomiting, confusion/loss of coordination, or any loss of consciousness after impact.”

If you’re too unwell to help yourself or if any of these symptoms appear, head to the emergency room or call an ambulance immediately, as advised by the paramedic.

If someone you care for or in your household experiences or reports such symptoms, take them to the hospital promptly.

Follow medical advice on preventing infections if you lost skin during the incident.

What Should I Do With My Bike And Helmet After A Fall?

Ensure your bike gets a “health check” at a bike shop after any accident, even if there’s no visible damage.

A professional mechanic will thoroughly inspect the frame for cracks and dents.

Regardless of the frame material, contact bicycle manufacturers like Giant after a cycling incident.

According to Max Ratcliffe, a Giant technical support agent, “If in doubt, consult an authorized dealer for the best advice.”

Examine your helmet for damage, even if you believe you haven’t hit your head. In the chaos of a cycling incident, you might not always notice it.

Most brands advise replacing your road bike or mountain bike helmet after contact with an object or hard surface. Some offer a replacement policy in case of an accident.

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