If you’re a cyclist, you’ll know that riding on the road and navigating in traffic can be dangerous. Even if you practice safe cycling, bike accidents can still happen as some things are just beyond our control. So it’s important to be prepared and to know what to do in the unfortunate event that you’re involved in a bike crash.
Here’s our step-by-step guide to ensure you protect yourself and have the info you need in case any medical or legal issues arise or you decide to make a claim for compensation.
1. Get yourself to safety
The first priority if you’ve been in a cycling accident is to avoid further danger. Get yourself and your bike clear of the road to a safe location as soon as possible. Ask for help from someone nearby if you need to. If however you’ve lost feeling in a part of your body, it may be best to not move and to wait for medical assistance.
2. Call for help
It’s always a good idea to call someone after a bike accident. Even if you and your bike seem ok, call your family or a friend to let them know what’s happened. You may suffer from some shock or concussion without knowing it. So take precaution and have a person around who’s thinking clearly and can make sound decisions such as whether you should get back on your bike.
Depending on the nature of your collision, you may need to call 000 (triple zero) for an ambulance and/or the police. If you’re injured or feel pretty shaken up, call an ambulance so that someone qualified can provide you with the medical attention you need. If the incident involves a collision with a car, serious injury, a hit-and-run, traffic obstruction or anything else of a serious nature, it’s best to request police assistance. Don’t hesitate to ask a bystander to help you make the call if you’re unable to do so yourself.
3. Exchange contact details with the driver or witnesses
Once you’re safe and have called for the help you need, take note of the name, address, vehicle registration and description of the driver. Also take note of the names and addresses of any witnesses who are at the scene of the crash. In the circumstances of a hit-and-run, the car may still be tracked down by its number plate or distinguishing features. Further, witnesses can verify what happened and assist in confirming essential details if you decide to report the accident or make a claim.
4. Get a medical checkup
If you’re injured, visit your local GP or hospital for a medical evaluation and advice on next steps. Even if there’s no apparent injury, it’s still a good idea to get the all-clear from a doctor especially if the accident wasn’t a minor one. Remember you could be suffering from shock or concussion which can have serious consequences if left untreated. Also, there maybe delayed onset of injuries where symptoms won’t show for many hours or days after your accident. Symptoms from whiplash or brain injury often do not present immediately so if you later start to experience neck pain, headaches, nausea, dizziness, numbness or anything else that’s not typical, make sure to consult with a medical professional.
5. Check your bike is safe to ride
After a collision or fall, it’s very important to check your bike is road-worthy before you resume riding on it. Inspect your wheels and tyres for damage, make sure both wheels are rotating properly and the quick release skewers haven’t been loosened. Check your rear derailleur isn’t damaged or bent. Test the changing of your gears and test your front and rear brakes are working. Inspect the frame, forks and handlebars to ensure there are no cracks or bends that would compromise the structural integrity of your bike. Ideally, have a professional bike mechanic look over it – make sure to let them know it’s been in an accident so they give it a thorough checkup.
6. Pursuing a personal injury claim? Seek legal advice
Hopefully if you’re ever involved in a bike accident, you’ll walk away without injury or medical bills to pay. The reality however is that as a cyclist you’re more vulnerable and often times you won’t leave the situation unscathed. Fortunately in Queensland, cyclists are protected and you can make a claim against insurers to get compensation for your injuries. Should you decide to pursue a claim, seek advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer with expertise in cycling injury compensation – they can help make the claim process easy and stress free.