This week we watched and cheered as Bradley Wiggins completed the most important hour of his cycling career when he rode 54.5 km to claim the world hour record.

Most of us will not share Wiggins’ goal. Unfortunately, we might well at some time or other be involved in an accident. Former national champion and cycling accident specialist, Richard Teare considers how an hour might help you to avoid or respond to an accident.

Before

  1. Prevention is better than cure: Check the condition of your bike before you use it to make sure that it is safe and you are not going to be the cause of an accident.
    1. Are the tyres inflated and in good condition?
    2. Do the wheels spin freely?
    3. Do the brakes work?
    4. Does it steer smoothly?
    5. Do you gears work?
  2. Be seen and be safe: It is compulsory to have working front and rear lights if you’re cycling after sunset. If you don’t, you could be fined. You could have some or all of your compensation refused if you are injured.
  3. Damage limitation: It is not compulsory to wear a helmet. If you choose not to and you then sustain an injury that would have been prevented or reduced, the defendant will argue (and the Courts have accepted) that your compensation should be reduced in the same way as if you do not wear a seat belt in a car.

During

  1. Safety first: If you are in an accident try to remain calm. Consider any immediate dangers such as oncoming traffic. Unless it is unsafe to do so, stay where you are until you have assessed your injuries or been medically checked.

After

  1. What’s the…cause: Do you know what caused your accident? If it was a hazard in the road, try to find and document details:
    1. Where is it (road name or number and precise location – is there a landmark you can reference?)
    2. What is it (can you take photos?)
    3. Put it in context (use something in the photograph to show the size and take pictures of the surrounding area as well as the hazard itself)

If it was someone else, make sure that you obtain their details. A car driver is legally obliged to provide the following information. It is an offence to fail to provide information or to report a car accident within 24 hours:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Insurer
  1. He said, she said: Are there any witnesses? Can you collect names and contact details or, if you are incapacitated, can you ask someone to take details for you?
  2. The police: If someone is hurt or there is disagreement about the cause of the accident or who is at fault call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Take details of the responding officer (name, number, station and incident reference).
  3. Leave it, yeah: If there is a dispute as to how the accident happened or whose fault it was, avoid or withdraw from confrontation. This is not an argument for the roadside.
  4. Check, check and check again: Before leaving the scene, consider your own injuries and any damage to your equipment. Is it safe for you to continue or do you need medical attention? Repeat your bike safety checks – see 1, above. Remember that carbon fibre damage may not be visible to the naked eye and should be assessed by an expert – the supplier or manufacturer.

We sincerely hope that Richard’s advice will help to keep your rides safe and enjoyable. If you are involved in an accident that causes a significant injury or damage to your equipment you may make a claim for compensation. Our cycling accident specialists, John Knight and Richard Teare, will understand your concerns and priorities and ensure that you get the expert advice you need. To speak with either Richard or John call 01522 561020.

 

 

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