Top ten tips for after a crash
1. Self Defence
Remember that, as a cyclist, you are vulnerable in a collision with vehicles, particularly left-turning Heavy Goods Vehicles. Having the ‘right of way’ is no use when you are crushed. Cycle intelligently and safely.
2. Are you still in danger?
When toppled from your bicycle, your first priority is to avert further danger to yourself. If unable to move out of harm’s way, then shout, wave or whistle to attract assistance.
3. Independent witnesses
Unless a ‘hit and run’ incident, a vehicle driver will generally stay around. Get their registration number immediately, perhaps by writing it on your hand. However, your main concern must be to acquire independent witnesses. If you are injured and struggling, and anyone appears remotely sympathetic, then ask that ‘Good Samaritan’ to collect contact details and stop the driver or potential witnesses from leaving.
4. Beware tactics
If involved in a collision, never say ‘sorry’ as a polite courtesy, or engage in unguarded casual conversation, as this may be used against you later as an admission of liability. Be assertive. Beware too the ‘professional delinquent driver’, who will quickly reposition their vehicle so its new location appears innocent, often on the pretext of ‘moving it out of the way’; embarrass that driver by loudly pointing out this ploy to passers-by.
It is a legal requirement to supply details after a collision, but watch out for bogus personal details, so note down the number plate, make, model and colour of any vehicles involved.
5. Emergency assistance
Always telephone 999 for Police (and Ambulance if you need them), indicating you have been the victim of a ‘running down’; this call will be logged and can be very useful evidence subsequently [Note too the European-wide, and increasingly international standard emergency number 112, which can be placed on your mobile contacts list]. Never assume a road incident is ‘too trivial’ to call in, because the research based on these records is critical for road design and the future safety of cyclists.