Re-Cycle Engineering Logo

Now in our 22nd year

Re-Cycle Engineering Title

 

 

Advice: Accidents

 

Re-Cycle Engineering Accidents

 

If you've had an accident, get your bike and yourself to Re-Cycle Engineering - we'll refer you to a solicitor.
She ONLY deals with bicycle claims and it wont cost you.

 

We can also do a 50+ point Accident Report for her.

 


 

Let's get a couple or four things clear:

  • Cycling is a safe activity - serious accidents are rare.

  • Cyclists are just as likely to cause an accident as to be a victim of one.

  • Car drivers are just as likely to cause an accident as to be a victim of one.

  • Pedestrians are just as likely to cause an accident as to be a victim of one.

In our experience, those cyclists who wear reflective clothing, a crash helmet & have suitable lights are far, far less likely to be involved in a crash and suffer significantly less injuries.

 

Helmets: The debate on cycle helmets as raged on for many years. For many years I didn't wear a helmet (my excuses used to be "they look silly", "they're too expensive", "they're only for people who can't cycle", ...). Now, due to the anecdotal evidence of our customers, I wouldn't think of going for a ride without the lid ("they're good-looking, cheap and vital"). Some will say that a motorist, on seeing a helmet-wearing cyclist will be less cautious.

 

Nevertheless, at least once a week we're asked to repair bikes involved in an accident with (usually) a car - more so in the winter months and especially when the clock go back in the autumn.

 

Here's a couple of quotes:

  • "I was run down by a car and even before I could get up, the drive stuffed a £10 note into my hand and drove off. I was still dazed and in shock so I didn't get the registration number."

  • "I was knocked of my bike by an lady. Oh, she was so sweet. She took me and my bike to her house, gave me a cup of tea and then took me home. She even admitted that the accident was her fault and said that she would pay for the damage. The situation gave me back my faith in humanity. I then got my bike assessed for the repair (£90) and called her. Wow, what a change. She became defensive and said that she was only willing to make a token gesture of £30. I had to take her to court to get the full compensation."

The direct cost of these repairs usually range from £15 to £600. The indirect cost can rise into the thousands of £££s - extra travel costs, lost income and job loss (not forgetting permanent disability and death).

 

In a city like Kingston-upon-Hull (flat terrain) there are a lot more cyclists per head of population and consequentially, car drivers (and pedestrians) are far more aware of pedal-powered road-users. They are therefore more cautious and considerate of cyclists.

 

In Leeds the matter is very different: less cyclists = less awareness.

 


 

So what should you do to minimise the chances of being involved in an accident?

 

DON'T:

  • Drink and cycle (this has to be said - in our experience too many cyclists threaten their, and others' safety after a 'drink or three'.

  • Go out without reflective wear.

  • Go out (at dusk, night and dawn) without lights and reflectors.

  • Go out without wearing a helmet.

  • Be intimidated by other road-users pushiness.

DO:

  • Make sure that your bike is the right size.

  • Ensure that lights and reflectors are kept clean and in good working order.

  • Keep your tyres in good condition and inflated to the pressure shown on the tyre.

  • Have your gears set correctly.

  • Keep your chain properly adjusted and oiled.

  • Set the saddle and handlebars to the correct height.

  • Fit a bell to your cycle and use it.

  • Ensure your brakes are efficient .

  • Learn the Highway code (you have a legal duty to know this as a road-user). Check out this link.

  • Increase your visibility - wear the reflectives (9 out of 10 drivers involved in fatal collisions with cyclist say they never saw them.

  • Get yourself into the correct position on the road (keep away from the gutter, ride at a door's width away from parked cars, place yourself either in front or behind a car at a junction - especially when turning left). Car drivers don't want to tangle with you and they'll be a lot more considerate and patient if you actions are predictable.

  • Make eye contact with other road-users - they will alter their actions when they know that you've seen each other.

  • Ride assertively and smoothly - not aggressively and nervously. Take the space YOU need on the road - as a predictable rider you will be given that space.

  • Beware of taxis suddenly swerving to the pavement to pick up/drop off passengers.

  • Beware of pedestrians stepping out into the road without looking.

  • Beware of passengers emerging from in front of stationary buses.

  • Be particularly aware of vehicles turning left in front of you.

  • Look into parked cars for anyone about to exit into your path.

  • Ride within the limits of your bike, the road and your ability.

Of course this isn't a comprehensive list  - search the internet for more advice.

 

Be alert and use your common-sense. Learn from others (and your own) actions and share your experiences.

 

Realise that you are benefiting from the exercise, enjoying the endorphins and contributing to re-greening our planet.

 


 

What should I do if I am involved in an accident?

 

So, you're in the middle of the road and looking up at the car. You're probably dazed and confused. Unfortunately, this is the time to start thinking:

  • Don't get up immediately - spinal injuries will be exacerbated if you move (get someone to call an ambulance if you're not able to). Whatever your injuries, they'll feel a lot worse the following day.

  • Check yourself gently and carefully (arms, legs, head, shoulders, hips, neck, back, etc.).

  • If you're OK, get yourself to a safe place.

  • Make sure the car is stationary (by law the driver MUST STOP if anyone is injured).

  • Identify the witnesses (or get someone else to) and get their names, addresses and telephone numbers - ask them what they saw so that the story doesn't change at a later time.

  • Use your camera phone to take some pictures.

  • If necessary, exercise some crowd & traffic control (or get someone else to) - rubber-necking will only cause more trouble.

  • Call the police (the non-emergency number for Yorkshire is 0845 60 60 60 6). For other areas try this link. They will want to talk to you and the driver.

  • Now its time to talk to the driver - get his/her name, address, telephone number, insurance details & policy number, license plate and driving license number. If they are at fault, ask them to admit it - people tend to change their minds when the realise the consequences of their actions.

  • Make the driver wait for the police. In the meantime, gather your thoughts and try to make written notes of the incident - its very difficult to recall the incident at a later time. If the police suggest that you need an ambulance, take their advice.

  • Take the police officer's details (name, badge number, etc.) and ask for a copy of all statements (some officers may not fully know your rights as a cyclist involved in a road traffic accident so show a little patience).

  • Don't ride your bike (even if it can be ridden) - get your bike and yourself to Re-Cycle Engineering - we'll refer you to a solicitor - she ONLY deals with cycle claims and it wont cost you. We can also do a 50+ point Accident Report for her.

If you got this far, well done! You will be one of the very few cyclists that got compensated for an accident. Now, get yourself well, put the ordeal behind you, and go for a ride.

 

Cut and paste the above into a word-processor to format it onto a small card to carry in your purse/wallet.

 

Again, this isn't an exhaustive list - your personal circumstances will dictate how you should act. You should contact a legal professional for comprehensive advice. Please contact Re-Cycle Engineering for any omissions/errors.

 


 

Please note: This page (and the whole website) is under heavy construction - the content will change and be added to in due time.

 

Updated on: 25/12/2009