According to a recent paper published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 857 recorded fatalities of cyclists in 2018. That is more than 2 fatalities a day in the US! Unfortunately, as there are increasingly more and more cyclists on the road, this statistic is likely to increase with more cyclists sharing the road with motorists.
So what should you do if you are involved in an accident with a cyclist?
The infographic below gives us some tips on what we should do (and also what NOT to do!) in case of a cycling accident.
As a motorist, if you are involved in an accident with a cyclist, you should do the following:
Regardless of how minor you think the accident was, you should stop and not leave the scene of the accident before you spoke with the other parties involved or the police (in a lot of cases you probably will have to speak to both). If you leave the scene of an accident, you could end up in a lot of trouble!
The really important piece of advice from the above graphic is to remain calm. It is a natural human reaction to start panicking in a stressful situation. When you start feeling panicked, take a deep breath, count to 10 and focus on keeping calm.
Make Sure All Is Safe
As the infographic also notes, you should make sure there is no further danger. If there were no serious injuries or damage to the vehicles involved, you should consider moving out of the way to the side of the road.
If you cannot move the vehicles or persons out of the way in the road, make sure oncoming vehicles can clearly see that there is a hazard in the road that they need to avoid. You can do this by putting on your vehicle’s hazard lights, and if safe to do so, place cones or warning triangles in the road.
If there are signs that anyone has serious injuries (see the infographic for symptoms of concussion and/or head injuries) call the emergency services immediately for help. If you are unsure, it is better to be safe than sorry….call for help!
Record the Details of the Accident
Once you are sure the situation is under control, that no one is in any further danger and any possible injuries have been taken care of, you should take a moment to make sure you take note of the details of the accident. You should write down the date, time and location of the accident.
Most of us now have cell phones that have a camera. When you have been involved in an accident, you should use it to record further details of the accident. This could include any damage to your vehicle, damage to other vehicles or bicycles, injuries of anyone involved and the context of the accident (for example road conditions, blind spots, relevant traffic signs, etc.). These details will likely need to be provided to the insurance companies if a claim is submitted for damages and could be critical if a police case has to be opened or if a court case results from the accident.
Also be sure to record the details of the other persons who were involved in the accident. Specifically, you should get their name, address, telephone number, vehicle registration number (if applicable) and their insurance details.
Being involved in an accident is never a pleasant experience. But in case it does ever happen, you should be prepared and know what you should do (and not do!). Just remember to stay calm!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
Photo attribution: Sam Saunders licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).