Andrew BIrd is the man behind Bicycle Legal, as far as we know the only cycle-specialist law firm in Scotland.
Every month he brings his legal knowledge to the pages of citycycling, and in issue 5 he tackles the problems of just what to do if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself on the receiving end of an 'accident'
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The majority of cyclists have an enjoyable event free ride when they go out, whether it be the daily commute to and from the office or a Sunday club ride. However, accidents do happen from time to time and when they do, there are steps you can take in the immediate aftermath to help make a claim later, should you wish to.
Your overriding concern immediately following an accident should be your own safety and that of other road users. If you have been hurt, seek medical attention. Listen to those around you who may be in a better position to assess your injuries than you are with increased adrenaline and possibly the euphoria of having survived.
Apart from the benefit of getting checked out by a medical practitioner following the accident, seeing someone creates a contemporaneous record of your injuries at that time which can be useful in proving that later symptoms are related to the accident, particularly if those symptoms develop from what seems an minor injury at the time.
Ideally, take photographs of your bike and any other vehicles involved in the accident. Sometimes, the positions they ended up in can be used to support the correct version of events should another be put forward by the driver’s insurance company at a later date. Photographs of any damage to the other vehicle can also help show how the accident really happened.
Occasionally identification of the other vehicle or driver can become an issue so photographs showing in particular the vehicle’s registration number may assist. In the case of a lorry registered abroad, bear in mind that there may be different registration numbers on the trailer and cab.