The rise in popularity of cycling in recent years has not surprisingly led to an increase in the incidence of accidents. There can also be little doubt that with developments in technology & the growth of social media there is a greater awareness of the incidence of cycling accidents (19438 reported in 2014). However the National Cycling Charity CTC believes cycling to be a relatively safe activity, in fact stating that “people are more likely to be injured in an hour of gardening than an hour of cycling”.
ROSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) have produced the following statistics in respect of cycling accidents:
Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas
Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads
75% happen at, or near, a road junction
80% occur in daylight
80% of cyclist casualties are male
Almost one quarter of the cyclists killed or injured are children
Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries.
The following blog article written by guest contributor, Scott Beaman is designed as a useful aide memoir for anyone unfortunate enough to be involved in a cycling accident.
Personal Injury Claims for Cyclists – What to do if you have an accident
A recent survey carried out by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) revealed that there were 19,438 accidents involving cyclists across the United Kingdom in 2014, resulting in 109 fatalities.
According to the survey a large proportion of the accidents were caused by moments of carelessness; for instance, 57% of reported collisions were due to a failure to look properly. This is something that many individuals may be guilty of from time to time, whether it is at a junction or when entering the road from the pavement.
Act Rationally After an Accident
It is vital that cyclists are aware of the prevalence of accidents on the road, and the trauma and stress that the individuals involved will experience in such a situation, causing them to act irrationally or out of character. For this reason, it’s advisable that as well checking your brakes, lights and air pressure before a ride, that you understand how to behave if you have or come across an accident.
If you were to have the misfortune of becoming injured and are consequently faced with substantial medical bills, your actions in these highly tense and decisive moments could be vital to the outcome of a potential claim for compensation.
Follow our step-by-step guide to what to do if you have or come across a cycling accident:
· Get out of danger – it is crucial that you move yourself or the victim to as safe a place as you are able to; however, it is important to judge whether it is appropriate to move the person at all, dependent on their injuries.
· Take refuge - but do not leave the scene of the incident in any situation.
· Note down the details of any witnesses to the accident – ensure that you obtain the statement and contact details of any witnesses to the accident, bearing in mind that you may need to contact them at a later date.
· Document the scene of the accident – use your camera phone, providing that it is safe to do so, to document the scene of the accident, ensuring that you capture the registration plates of any drivers involved and the location of any CCTV cameras.
· Seek legal advice - if you are not in a fit state to gather this information then you should consult a lawyer as soon as you can as they will be able to obtain relevant information from hospitals and the police.
· Retain all documentation – including any paperwork given to you by the police or medical personnel at the scene.
· Do not admit liability – it is important, particularly at this early stage, that you do not admit any fault while at the scene of the accident as this could be held against you should legal action be pursued. Until all of the evidence is accumulated it can be unclear if other parties were in violation of the law in the lead up to the accident.
· Stay Calm - it can be difficult to retain a level head when you are in pain and adrenaline is pumping around your body, however it is vital that you take a deep breath and absorb as much of your surroundings as possible. If you are in a fit state to do so, ensure that your statement is taken immediately following the accident while you are at the scene, as trauma can alter your perception of an incident over time.
Getting a fair outcome can be difficult for cyclists
Naturally, cyclists need to be cautious every time that they take to the saddle and being aware of how to behave in the aftermath of an accident is very much a part of that. Remember that cyclists are not protected by either the law or insurance as motorists are, which can make it much more of a challenge to receive fair judgement and compensation after an accident.
Scott Beaman writes for Slater Heelis (www.slaterheelis.co.uk) providers of legal services for commercial and private clients in Manchester and the North West.