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What to do if you are involved in a cycling accident?


On the 3rd of June every year we celebrate World Bicycle Day. The inaugural World Bike Day was declared in 2018, and since then it has grown from strength to strength. 

World Bicycle Day gives an opportunity to people around the world to pay tribute to the bicycle and the many benefits it brings from a health and social perspective. Riding a bike can be a profession, a form of exercise, a method to express yourself or fundamentally, the best and most environmentally friendly form or transport. 

Cycling also helps you get from A to B without the necessity of motor transport and it is great from your physical and mental health perspective.

Whether you are a professional cyclist, take your bike to work, cycle with your kids to school, or merely enjoy a cycle on the weekend, we all agree that the glorious bike should be celebrated. 

Irish Towns, Cities and Counties are synonymous with cycling and this eco-friendly form of transport.

Unfortunately, cyclists are incredibly vulnerable road users, and often many accidents on Irish roads relate to injuries sustained by them. 

Therefore, it is very important that cyclists take certain measures to help reduce the risk to being involved in a road traffic accident. Please see below safety tips and advices that should be adhered to by all cyclists. 

Cycling Safety Tips 

  • Wear appropriate clothing and safety gear; 
    Please wear bright, reflective or high-visibility clothing when out cycling as this will ensure you are clearly visible to all road-users. It is essential that you wear a helmet at all times. 
     
  • Check your Bike; 
    Keep your bike serviced regularly and ensure that the tires, brakes, lighting and reflectors are functional and in full working order. This will enable you to be in the safest position when undertaking a cycle for work or leisure. 
     
  • On the Road;
    Adhere to the rules of the road, stay alert, pay attention to passing traffic and road markings. Keep a safe distance between you and any pedestrian, fellow cyclist and importantly all vehicles. 

    Signal well in advance of turning left or right. Give clear and early signals to other road users.

    In the event of an emergency stop, make sure that you keep your weight on the saddle and pull the front brakes and brake evenly. This will avoid being thrown from your bike.

    Do not carry passengers on your bike as this may cause injury to one of both of you. 
     
  • Avoid unnecessary distractions;
    It is advisable not to listen to music whilst cycling. 

    Please also consider wearing the appropriate protective eye-wear; however, if you do not need dark cycling sunglasses, you should avoid same as it limits your visibility.
Road works in Dundrum to facilitate improved cycle lanes

What to do if you are involved in a bicycle accident?

If you have been unfortunate enough to have been involved in a bike accident; please take into consideration the following steps. These can help to ensure that if you proceed with a Personal Injury claim in the future that your claim can progress as smoothly as possible and that the appropriate steps were taken from the outset.  

Check for Injuries:

The first priority if you have been involved in an accident is that you should ensure that you are safe and not injured. Obviously, you should check yourself and any other persons involved, be-it a fellow cyclist, pedestrian or driver of a motor vehicle.  

If you are severely injured it is important that you do not move, unless you are in danger from oncoming traffic. It is often the case when a car knocks you off your bike that the cyclist comes off worse than the driver of the car. 

Common Injuries:

Cyclists are very vulnerable on the road and accidents are frequent. The most common injuries include: 

  • Head and facial injuries,
  • Damage to or broken teeth,
  • Bony injuries to arms, hands, feet or legs,
  • Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash 
  • Cuts, bruises or scarring as a result of being in an accident

Common Causes:

  • Motorist negligence: this occurs when a car, van, lorry or bus knocks you from/or causes you to fall from your bike. This often occurs when they fail to see or do not leave sufficient room whilst overtaking. Accidents can also occur when driving alongside traffic and a taxi or bus knocks you from your bike when they are attempting to stop; or pull away from a bus stop or taxi rank. 
  • Another Cyclist: Accidents involving two cyclists are common. This is when another cyclist swerves in front of you or makes contact with you or your bike when overtaking. Cyclists must have due regard and consideration for all road uses to include pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles and motor cycles.  
  • Pedestrian negligence: There are a number of pedestrians that walk using their mobile phone, or listening to music. Therefore, often they are not paying full attention when walking on or crossing the road. If a pedestrian walks out in front of you without looking or using a designated pedestrian crossing, they may be negligent if you are injured by their actions. 
  • Faulty bicycle: If you have purchased a new bicycle it should be tailored to your specifications. Similarly, if you have your bike recently repaired you are entitled to expect that the bike is roadworthy as a result of the bike being serviced. Should a new bike or recently serviced bike be deemed faulty due to the incorrect construction or repair, and you sustain an injury as a result of this; then you would be entitled to pursue a claim against the manufacturer or bike repair shop.  

Obtain Contact Details:

If it is feasible, you should ask for the contact information of the third party. If they are a driver of a motor vehicle, make a note of his/her name, address and vehicle registration. It may be useful to photograph their insurance details for future reference. You should also endeavour to get details of any witnesses to the accident that would assist to corroborate your version of events. 

Photographic Evidence:

If you have the opportunity and you possess a smartphone, you should take several photographs of the locus of the accident as soon as practical. Document the location of your bike on the ground, photos of the other vehicle, damage sustained to your bike and their car/bus/bike. If you are too severely injured, when you are fit and able, you should return to the location at a later date to take photographs of the scene. This should only be done when you are medically fit to do so. 

Throughout lockdown, many cycle lanes were improved with better safety features.

Report the matter to An Garda Siochana:

In the event of a serious accident, the Gardaí will have been called and they will attend the scene. They will then prepare a Report on the accident. They will take statements from all parties as well as any independent witnesses. In certain circumstances the Gardaí may not be able to attend the scene right away. Therefore, you should ensure that you report the incident to the local Garda Station as soon as you are able to do so. 

Seek Medical Assistance:

Your health and wellbeing should be your absolute priority. If you have suffered injuries as a result of an accident, you should ensure that you contact an ambulance to attend the scene and treat you. 

If your injuries are minor in nature, you must remember that you still require a medical practitioner to confirm that you are fit and safe to return home/to work. Accordingly, you should attend an accident and emergency/minor injuries unit or your General Practitioner to establish if your injuries are indeed minor in nature. It is often the case that A&E will send you for an MRI or x-ray to establish that you have not suffered any bony-injury or muscular/tendon damage. 

Obtain Medical Records:

Should your injuries necessitate medical attention, it is recommended that you request a copy of your Hospital/GP attendance records when you are leaving. This is invaluable information and would avoid unnecessary delay in the future as you would have a name and qualifications of the treating Doctor who reviewed you at the time. The records would also specify your date and time of admission and treatment administered. 

Prepare a record of Events:

We often advise clients after they have sustained an injury of any sort (where they are not at fault) to keep a detailed log/record/diary of events. We advocate the benefits of purchasing a daily-diary and keeping a detailed record of appointments, prescriptions and receipts that they may have for the days/weeks subsequent to an accident. 

By our very nature we tend to omit or forget certain information such as times and dates due to the passage of time. This information may be very important should you wish to instruct solicitors to pursue a claim for personal injuries and keeping a diary is the most effective way of recording this. 

Retain receipts for out of pocket expense, medication, GP attendance etc:

As discussed above should you wish to pursue a claim for Personal Injuries you may have the facility of recouping any out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as result of that accident. These expenses would include any medication, GP attendances, specialist’s fees, physiotherapy, acupuncture or surgeries. 

It is strongly recommended that you retain the original receipts and confirmation of payment of these expenses. Your solicitor can then schedule and forward these to the guilty parties’ insurance company as part of your Special Damages upon the successful completion of your case for reimbursement. 

Reimbursement for damage to your Bike:

In recent times more and more cyclists are investing heavily in their cycling equipment. Some standard road-bikes can cost €800.00-€1,200.00. Should you suffer damage to your bicycle that was not your fault repairing the bicycle may not be an option financially. Therefore, solicitors can endeavour to recoup the monies for your bicycle should it be damaged or destroyed by a third party.  

Loss of Earnings:

If you are successful in your case and you recover a settlement from the guilty parties’ insurance company, there will be two Heads of Loss. One for General Damages; this is for your pain and suffering, and the second for Special Damages; this is for your out of pocket expenses that you have incurred as a result of this accident. 

One recurring concern that we see is that injured parties are worried that they will be at a loss as a result of wages from injuries sustained. This element is factored into your claim under Special Damages and referred to as Loss of Earnings. Your solicitor will factor in any financial losses that you have such as reduction in wages, days where you were unpaid or if you were unable to return to work as a result of an accident. 

Consult an expert Personal Injury Solicitor:

The majority of accidents between bikes and cars involve complex legalities and an experienced Personal Injury solicitor will be best positioned to offer you advice on how to bring a case to a successful conclusion. Instructing a reputable Personal Injury solicitor as soon as practical after an accident will ensure that you have the best opportunity to recover the compensation that you are entitled to as a result of injuries that you sustained.     

Statute of Limitations: 

We recommend that you seek advices and instruct solicitors to act on your behalf at the earliest possible opportunity. It is important to note that in accordance with the Statutes of Limitations Act, you only have two years from the date of the cycling accident to bring a compensation claim for injuries sustained. 

This differs in cases involving children (minors), where the “limitation period” does not start to run until the child reaches eighteen years old (i.e. a child may bring a claim for injuries sustained as a child up to until their twentieth birthday) 

In Conclusion:

Although cyclists are one of the most exposed groups of road users, their claims are treated in the exact same way as any other road traffic accident. 

The value of your Personal Injury claim is determined by a variety of factors, including the severity of your injuries, how long they take to heal, the expenses that you have incurred as a result of the accident and what impact (if any) it has had on your lifestyle/work. 

We at Hussey Fraser Solicitors, consider our experience that we have amassed over the years to be invaluable and we can provide you with expert advice in respect of any potential cycling injury claim that you wish to discuss.

Should you wish to speak to one of our solicitors today, please call our offices on 01 668 1966 or alternatively request a call-back from one of our friendly, professional team

 


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