Cycling is a great way to get around Vancouver but it can be painful when a negligent driver, pedestrian, cyclist, or other hazard causes an accident. Once the adrenaline wears off you may be left with aches, pain or lingering injuries that require expensive rehabilitation or time off of work. Doing what you can to stay safe is key – every time you ride there are precautionary steps you can take to protect yourself, preserve your legal rights and be prepared should the unexpected happen:
Always wear a helmet.
- Make sure you bicycle is equipped with the proper safety equipment like a front light, rear light, reflectors etc.
- Make sure your brakes are working properly, service them regularly.
- Keep track of how and when your bicycle gets maintenance or tune ups.
- Download the Hammerberg Lawyers Accident App (just in case).
What to do Immediately after a Cycling Accident
If an accident strikes, don’t just ride away. Even if you think you are fine, there may be unforeseen after-effects. Stay calm, be polite and gather as much information as possible, as soon as possible. As you may not see the possible defendant again, if you are able to, remain at the scene and speak to anyone who may have information. Ask the driver for their name and contact information and take a picture of the licence plate of any vehicle involved. If the driver is being evasive or leaves the scene, or if you have concerns about your safety or the nature of your injuries, take down as much information as possible and call 9-1-1. Click here for more information on hit and runs.
Our mobile app has an easy to fill out accident report that highlights what information you should try to obtain. It won’t always be necessary (or possible) to fill every part of the accident report, but get as much information as you can. The app can also store photos and videos you take of the accident scene for easy reference in the future. If you can’t use the app at the time of the accident you can enter the information from your other notes once you get home. If possible get the names and contact information of any possible witnesses including other cyclists, drivers or pedestrians and photos of:
- the position of your bicycle and the vehicle that hit you before either is moved.
- any damage to your bicycle and the vehicle.
- the hazard and where your bicycle landed in relation to it (if the accident was caused by a hazard on the road e.g.: a pothole or construction rather than by another cyclist or vehicle)
If you or someone else called 9-1-1, wait for emergency services to respond. If the police come be sure to get a file number. If they require a statement from you make it brief. If an ambulance attends, wait for them to arrive and assess your injuries and follow the paramedics’ recommendations. If they suggest you go to the hospital, go. If they suggest you seek medical attention from your family doctor, make an appointment or go to a walk in clinic.
You do not need to call ICBC to report the accident immediately after it happens. You can wait and speak to a lawyer first, but don’t wait too long.
What to do next
Takes notes on as many of the circumstances surrounding the accident as you can while they are fresh in your memory and in as much detail as possible including on:
- what you remember seeing and doing leading up to the accident.
- the road, weather, light and traffic conditions, the time of day, the type of reflective gear you were wearing and any other details leading up to and at the time of the accident.
- the results of the accident: how did you fall (e.g. sideways, over your handlebars, onto the car, etc.), what part of your body landed first, where did your bicycle end up in relation to you and the vehicle that hit you or the hazard you encountered.
- how you are feeling and any and all injuries (any bumps, bruises, or cuts as well as any invisible symptoms like pulled or aching muscles, nausea, dizziness, anxiety and headaches)
If you haven’t already, remember to take photos of damage to your bicycle, the clothing you were wearing, and your helmet. If any of your clothing or your helmet is damaged, hold on to them because they could be evidence. If your helmet is cracked or dented from the accident, get a new one, but keep the old one just in case it is needed later. If you have any injuries at all, make an appointment to see your family doctor or attend a walk in clinic. Consider a complimentary consultation with our team of injury lawyers if you have any questions or concerns about a potential claim from your bicycle accident.
If you were in a cycling accident involving a vehicle, you are entitled to Part 7 “no fault benefits.” You’ll need to provide ICBC with notice of the circumstances of the accident and the injuries it caused within 30 days in the form of written notice outlining how the accident happened and your injuries. You do not need to provide a signed written statement or an authorization for medical and employment records, but ICBC will often ask for them.
No fault benefits are provided by ICBC and cover medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages so it is important that you keep receipts for prescription or non-prescription medication, rehab prescribed by your doctor (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic or massage therapy), and medical devices (e.g. cane, brace, sling etc.). The receipts will prove the expenses you have paid in your recovery.
ICBC does not always make it easy to recover no fault benefits so if you are unsure about your legal rights and responsibilities when dealing with ICBC, feel free to consult with one of our injury lawyers.
What if the accident was not caused by a car?
If you were in a cycling accident caused by a pedestrian, other cyclist, or road hazard you may not be entitled to Part 7 benefits, but you may still have a claim. You should act quickly, there are often very short time limits for bringing a claim if your accident was caused by a road hazard. Our team of lawyers are here to advise if you are unsure if you have a claim or how to pursue it and a free initial consultation is quick and easy to organise.
Hammerberg Lawyers has wide experience dealing with all types of cycling accidents and the injuries and issues that can arise following one. If you would like more information or require legal advice about a cycling accident, contact one of the lawyers in our personal injury law group to set up your free consultation. Contact Us