What to do if You Are Knocked Off Your Bike
Being knocked off your bike is something all cyclists dread, but sadly it happens all too frequently, particularly in the city. Despite this, many of those who are involved in cycling accidents are not sure what to do – should they report the accident? Can the cost of bike repairs or a replacement be recovered? Is legal advice necessary?
These are all questions that fill cycling forums across the world, and it is important to know the answers because it could be the difference between obtaining justice and not. So, if you are knocked off your bike in British Columbia, we advise that you –
1. Remain calm
Of course, this is easier said than done. Your first instinct might be to vent your anger, but it will be better for you in the long-run if you remain calm and take the following steps.
2. Stay on the scene and call the police
If your injuries are serious (and they often are in cycling accidents) then the emergency services may be contacted on your behalf. If not, be sure to remain at the site of the accident and call the police yourself. After a cycling accident, the surge of adrenalin often compels us to ride off. But it is better if you remain at the scene and wait for the police arrive. Ask the driver and any witnesses to do the same.
3. Get as much information as possible
In the meantime, get as much information as possible about the driver and any witnesses who saw the accident. If you are seriously injured then you will have to leave this to the police, but if you can, get everyone’s names and contact details. Also get the driver’s license plate number, just as you would with a car accident. If possible, take photos of the scene of the accident, including the road, intersection, buildings, sign posts, vehicle and your bike.
4. File your police report
When the police arrive, provide them with a statement telling them what happened. Stick to the facts and try not to rant and rave about the driver’s actions. Also, do not suggest that the accident was your fault or apologize. If you have already been taken to the hospital, you can request a copy of the police report at a later date to ensure your side of the story is included. If certain details are missing or are incorrect, you can ask the report to be amended.
5. Seek medical attention
If you have not already done so by this stage, get medical attention. Adrenalin often masks any injuries, so there may be underlying damage that you are not immediately aware of. If you do later make a claim, it will also help to prove the link between the accident and your injuries.
6. Speak to a cycling accident lawyer
Next, speak to a cycling accident lawyer about your options. A lawyer will be able to say what compensation and expenses you can recover. If you have been involved in an accident with a vehicle in British Columbia (as opposed to another cyclist or pedestrian) then you will almost certainly be entitled to receive Part 7 benefits from ICBC. If the accident was not your fault, you may also be able to make a personal injury compensation claim.
7. Report the accident to ICBC
If you ask a cycling accident lawyer to act on your behalf, then he/she will report the accident to ICBC. This means you will not have to deal with ICBC at all. This is extremely advantageous, as you may accidentally incriminate yourself when speaking to a claims adjuster, which could later work against you. However, if you do not instruct a cycling accident lawyer, then you must report the accident to ICBC yourself.
8. Keep records
Following the accident, write down all of your physical and emotional symptoms. You may be asked to recount these later on, and it can be hard to remember after the event, particularly if you develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Also, keep a record of all the expenses you have lost as a result of the accident. This might include the cost of your bike repair, your damaged clothing, your commuter expenses (now you cannot cycle), the cost of medical treatment and your loss of income.
9. Make a claim
Depending on the advice given to you by your cycling accident lawyer, you should then pursue a claim. You will either be seeking no-fault Part 7 benefits from ICBC, or you will be making a personal injury compensation claim. The latter will see that you awarded compensation for your pain and suffering and your out-of-pocket expenses. It is highly recommended that you have a cycling accident lawyer help you at this stage.