Are you a cyclist who has been hit by a car or knocked off your bike? Worried about what to do in the event of a bike accident? Our guide will tell you everything you need to know and what to do next.
Been Hit By A Car? We’re Here To Help
Our specialist bike accident team of solicitors not only have over a combined 100 years experience helping cyclists, but we are all cyclists ourselves. So you’ll struggle to find someone who’s more knowledgable than us.
We have a long history of success recovering over £101m against insurers, drawing on all our expertise to recover the maximum possible compensation and provide the best possible support to get you back on the saddle.
Speak with our specialist cycle legal team today to find out more about what your legal rights might be.
Why Choose Bott and Co
- We are 100% No Win No Fee meaning you are at no financial risk if you decide to make a claim.
- For successful claims, we are happy to negotiate our fees based on the specific details of your injuries.
- You will always keep 100% of the amount of compensation we recover for your bike and equipment.
- We will arrange immediate physiotherapy where required and will request an immediate rehabilitation assessment by a specialised Case Manager.
- We’ll secure an interim payment for you wherever possible to help with bills and costs.
- We provide a dedicated one to one service with lawyers who are also cyclists with all cases overseen by Tony Tierney, Legal Manager and cyclist.
This guide walks you through the steps you should take if you’ve been unfortunate enough to get involved in an accident on your bike.
Almost every cyclist has a hit or a near-miss story or knows someone who’s been knocked off their bike.
We’ll explain the preparations you should take before setting off on a ride, give you a checklist of what to do in the event of an accident, detail some of the more common accident types for cyclists and how to claim compensation if you’ve been knocked off your bike.
Planning For The Dangers Of The Road
The Highway Code refers to cyclists as vulnerable road users, so it’s no surprise that roads can be dangerous for cyclists for many reasons, whether it’s poor surfaces and potholes, other road users, or weather conditions.
Many cyclists may think that they have fewer rights than other road users when it comes to accidents. This is not accurate and you should be aware that you have just as many rights afforded to other road users.
Preparations Before You Set Out
It’s rarely a good idea to just jump on your bike without running through a number of preparations before you set out.
1. Plan Your Cycle Route
Deciding on the route you’re going to take before you leave is important for several reasons. You can check for any road problems, traffic congestion, or other events that may be taking place. Being familiar with the route also makes it easier to let any emergency services know where you are should an accident occur.
You may well be using a dedicated app such as Strava which will track your route as you go – this can also come in useful in the event of a compensation claim as important evidence.
2. Add Emergency Contact Details
ICE (in case of emergency) information can be stored in your phone and in some cases can be accessed even from a locked phone so emergency services can make contact with your designated friend or family member.
There are various ways to add this information in. Some people store the contact details under the initials ICE but if the phone is locked and you are not able to unlock it, the paramedics won’t be able to access the contacts list.
On iPhones, you can include ICE and medical information within the Apple Health app which is a preloaded default app. There is an option in there to allow the ICE details to be accessed even when the phone is locked. Android users have a similar option to download.
3. Check The Weather Conditions
If you’re going far or heading out into the countryside, checking out the weather forecasts can be even more important before you set off.
Weather can be highly changeable at altitude and in remote areas, so you should make sure you have adequate clothing, lights, and puncture repair equipment, to deal with the conditions.
In the winter months when there are dangers of snow or ice, be wary of black ice and being out in the remote countryside.
Think about which directions you’ll be riding when the sun is setting – prolonged cycling into the sun can make visibility difficult for you and for motorists who might struggle to see you as easily.
What To Do If You’re Involved In An Accident On Your Bike
You can take as many precautions as possible when out on the roads but you can’t control what other road users do, and unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen.
Should you be involved in an accident, our SWEEPS checklist should help you remember what to do.
SWEEPS stands for Safety, Witnesses, Etiquette, Evidence, Police, Solicitor and is your easy-to-remember quick guide.
Use Our SWEEPS Checklist If You've Been In An Accident
- Safety – Get out of immediate danger
- Witnesses – Check is there anyone nearby that can help
- Etiquette – Exchange details with driver but do not discuss the accident circumstances.
- Evidence – Take photos and video footage of damage and injuries
- Police – Call to register incident even if no obvious injuries
- Solicitor – Get represented by specialists who know cycling
If you are knocked off your bike, you might still be on the road surface and in danger of further vehicles colliding with you. Make your way to the side of the road if possible, or get some assistance to either help you move or to warn oncoming cars to slow down or stop. Call for an ambulance or have someone call on your behalf if you need one.
Check if there are any passers-by or other road users that saw the accident and ask for their full contact details. These people may come in very helpful when making a compensation claim if the driver’s insurance company denies responsibility for the accident.
British culture can sometimes be too polite and you should resist any temptation to apologise and say sorry or admit any fault on your part. Anything you say on those lines could be used against you when making a claim.
The most important pieces of information for you to get is the license plate number of the car that hit you.
It might be difficult to keep a clear head when you’ve just been knocked off your bike, or your injuries might prevent you from taking photos and videos. In this case ask a witness to help – get images of the damage, the surroundings, and the injuries you sustained. Videos are even better.
If you’ve been hit by a car, one of the most important pieces of information for you to get is the license plate number of the car.
When the accident is due to a defect in the road such as a pothole, take pictures and use a tape measure or another object to provide some context to the size and height of the defect.
Take as many photos and or videos as you can of the scene of the accident. Images of the roadway, your injuries at that point in time and the damage to your bike and equipment can make a compelling case.
Look to see if there are any cameras such as CCTV cameras that may have recorded the accident. The police may be able to help you obtain footage if the CCTV is publicly available.
Don’t be afraid to call the police even if the accident was minor and your injuries appear insignificant.
It can sometimes take a couple of days for muscle injuries to develop so always call the police to log the incident, it’s important they record cycle accidents and you might need this information later in making a claim.
Once the police arrive, write down the name of the officer in charge and ask for the police case reference number.
Cycle accident claims can be complicated and insurers don’t always understand the value of your bike and equipment in the same way specialist solicitors do. Make sure you choose a no-win-no-fee service and don’t just go with whoever your insurance company suggest – they might not be the best choice.
Examples Of Common Bike Accidents
Accidents can occur in a range of situations and can be grouped into collisions with a moving vehicle (most often with cyclists being hit by cars), potholes and uneven road surfaces, losing control of the bike, and ‘dooring’ where a stationary car opens its door into your path.
The number of fatalities has dropped by over 25% since 2007 according to government statistics. While this is welcome news, there were still more than 100 fatal accidents and over 18,000 casualties in 2017 that were reported to the police.
Men are four times more likely to be involved in a cycle accident – but this is due to the higher numbers of male cyclists on the road based on data compiled by ROSPA.
Two-fifths of these casualties occurred in London and the South East of England and the most common times of day for being injured in an accident were the commuting times of 7-9am and 3-7pm during the week.
If you’ve been in an accident in London or a near miss, you can contact Transport for London to make a complaint about a bus and the Public Carriage Office to complain about a black cab. Elsewhere in the UK the Fill That Hole website lets you report potholes on the roads.
The majority of accidents involve a moving vehicle, usually a car or taxi, but busses and LGVs in cities can also cause problems for cyclists where the larger vehicle turns left or right in front of a cyclist or fails to leave sufficient room when overtaking.
Accidents at junctions and roundabouts are most common, resulting from ‘human error’ with police recording a ‘failure to look properly’ as the cause of the collision.
Common Bike Accidents
- When a motorist emerges into the path of a cyclist (at road junctions)
- A motorist turns across the path of a cyclist
- The cyclist rides into the path of a motor vehicle, often from a pavement
- A motor vehicle fails to provide sufficient room whilst carrying out an overtaking material.
- When vehicles turn right from a major road into a minor road, when there is insufficient space in traffic to do so.
- A stationery car door is opened into the path of a cyclist (dooring)
- Cyclist hits a pothole or defective road surface
- Collision at a roundabout between cyclist and car
How To Claim Compensation For A Bike Accident
If you’ve been unfortunate to be involved in a cycling accident or knocked off your bike, you are entitled to make a claim for injury and financial losses, in order that the responsible party puts you back in the same position as you were before the incident.
What To Consider When Claiming
You should find a reputable solicitor with a specialist cycle claims department as these claims are very different from a typical road accident claim involving two vehicles.
Make sure that you choose a No Win No Fee service, as if your claim is unsuccessful, you should have nothing to pay in terms of adverse costs.
Check out the reviews of the law firms you are considering and speak to the person who would be handling your claim – if you are not given the opportunity to do that, then you need to consider if that’s the right law firm for you.
What You Can Claim For
There can be many costs and losses resulting from a bike accident aside from the injuries themselves. If you’ve missed work as a result of injuries then any wages and bonuses you might have earned can be recovered in a compensation claim.
You may also be able to claim for rehabilitation and physiotherapy costs plus any medical expenses including parking at hospital visits, travel to physio and hospital appointments and medication you’re prescribed.
Any damage to your bike and clothing or equipment can be included in a claim as well.
How Much Can I Claim For A Bike Accident?
It’s impossible to provide a full accurate list of how much you could claim in compensation as each accident, injuries, and circumstances are unique.
As a general rule, the more serious the injuries and the greater the loss of things like salary, equipment, and bike repairs or replacement, the higher the compensation amount.
Our interactive calculator below will help you find out how much compensation you may be able to claim for your injury.
The amounts listed are based on average settlement figures awarded by Judges at Trial and are intended to ensure a fair settlement is reached.
Calculate how much you could claim
Injuries may include
Please be aware that compensation amounts vary on a case by case basis. These figures are intended only as a guide towards what your claim may be worth.
As part of claiming with Bott and Co, you will undergo an independent medical assessment. It is following this assessment, that we will know an accurate amount of compensation we may be able to claim for you.
To get a more accurate idea of the value of your claim you will need to speak to our cycle claims department who can advise you once they have a full picture of the circumstances.
In the more serious cases, your solicitor will advise you about claims you may be able to make in the future too. Claims such as future medical expenses, future care and future loss of earnings claims.
How To Choose A Bike Accident Solicitors
Choosing Bott and Co to help you is an excellent decision given our track record in recovering the maximum compensation possible for hundreds of thousands of people.
While we are among the biggest consumer law firms in the country, our specialist cycle claims department give a first-class service in each and every situation and all cycle claims are managed by Legal Manager and cyclist Tony Tierney. Tony is the most senior road accident lawyer in the business and has won millions of pounds for injured people over the last 25 years.
Find out more about our cycling accident claims department or contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
|Part of Body||Level of Injury||Compensation Amount||Injuries May Include|
|Head Injury||Severe||£247,280 – £354,260||Badly disabled, brain damage with little or no response. Includes people in a vegetative state in need of full time nursing. At the lower end, cases resulting in minimally conscious state with life expectancy of less than 15 years.|
|Head Injury||Serious||£192,090 – £247,280||Serious physical symptoms or a significant change to your intellect or personality. It could cause substantial dependence on others, paralysis and reduced life expectancy.|
|Head Injury||Moderate||£13,430 – £192,090||Symptoms can range from minor personality change, depression, poor concentration, and a small risk of epilepsy. At the top end of the bracket, symptoms could result in permanent vegetative state, high risk of epilepsy and some intellectual deficit.|
|Head Injury||Minor||£1,940 – £11,200||In these cases, if there has been any brain damage, there is likely to have been a recovery within a few weeks. Awards can be influenced by the presence or absence of headaches.|
|Eye Injury||Severe||£56,070 – £354,260||Injuries leading to complete blindness, or blinded in one eye and/ or severely reduced vision in other.|
|Eye Injury||Serious||£7,990 – £57,590||Injuries leading to the loss of an eye, lost sight in one eye or suffering some but not total visual impairment.|
|Eye Injury||Minor||£1,930 – £7,650||Minor injuries, such as being struck in the eye, explosion to fumes, or being splashed by liquids. In the majority of cases, recovery is within a few weeks.|
|Ear Injury||Severe||£79,560 – £123,310||Injury leading to complete deafness. If injured as child, higher compensation may apply is there is a loss of speech.|
|Ear Injury||Serious||£27,450 – £39,940||Loss of total hearing in one ear, amounts dependent on additional symptoms such as dizziness and tinnitus.|
|Ear Injury||Moderate||£11,040 – £26,040||Compensation amount apply for those suffering from partial hearing loss to mild or severe tinnitus.|
|Ear Injury||Minor||Up to £6,140||Very slight or occasional tinnitus, possible NIHL (Noise Induced Hearing Loss).|
|Facial Injury||Severe||£26,120 – £85,340||Facial disfigurement, very serious multiple fractures to the jaw, (resulting in eating restrictions and risk of arthritis in the joints) chronic tooth pain, or scarring, amounts depending on how seriously affected. Men could receive less for facial disfigurement than women with same injury. Typically teens to early 30s, those psychologically damaged receive higher awards.|
|Facial Injury||Serious||£15,750 – £42,460||Facial fractures such as broken jaw or nose. Amounts dependent on severity. Also apply to broken, damaged or lost teeth.|
|Facial Injury||Minor||£1,500 – £7,650||Facial injury that didn’t include broken bones and left only very light or no scarring. Cases may include loss or damage to two front teeth or less, simple fractures of the jaw and nose with full recovery.|
|Neck Injury||Severe||£39,870 – £130,060||Neck injuries involving serious fractures, damage to discs and partial paraplegia. Cases also include severe soft tissue damage, leading to chronic pain conditions and significant disability of a permanent nature.|
|Neck Injury||Moderate||£6,920 – £33,750||Injuries such as fractures or dislocations which may result in spinal fusion. Cases may include disc lesion, cervical spondylosis, serious limitation of movement, permanent recurring pain. Also injuries which have accelerated a pre-existing condition.|
|Neck Injury||Minor||£2,150 – £6,920||Soft tissue or whiplash injury but with recovery within three months to two years of incident. Amounts vary on severity of injury, level of pain and effect on restriction of ability to take part in your usual activities.|
|Back Injury||Severe||£34,000 – £141,150||Back injury usually requiring surgery such as damaged spinal cord leading to partial paralysis, loss of bowel/bladder function and psychological issues. Cases may include nerve root damage, disc lesions, fractures, impaired agility, personality change and arthritis.|
|Back Injury||Moderate||£10,970 – £34,000||Compression or crushed fracture of the lumbar spine causing a large risk of osteoarthritis and constant pain. May include spinal fusion, prolapsed disc requiring surgery and prolonged acceleration or exacerbation of a pre-existing back condition.|
|Back Injury||Minor||£2,150 – £10,970||Soft tissue injuries, including less serious strains and sprains and disc prolapses. Full recovery takes place between 3 months and 5 years.|
|Shoulder Injury||Severe||£16,830 – £42,110||Injuries associated with damages to the neck and the brachial plexus resulting in significant disability.|
|Shoulder Injury||Serious||£4,520 – £16,830||Serious injuries may include fractures to the humerus, fractures to the clavicle and rotator cuff tears leading to surgery.|
|Shoulder Injury||Minor||£2,150 – £6,920||Suffered pain from a soft tissue injury lasting 3 months to less than 2 years, but have eventually had a full recovery.|
|Injury To Pelvis and Hips||Severe||£34,340 – £114,810||Severe hip or pelvis fractures that have led to bowel damage or have required a spinal fusion. Amounts depend on long-term effects (e.g. child-birth complications) and likelihood of more surgery. Injuries include minor fractures resulting in hip replacement.|
|Injury To Pelvis and Hips||Moderate||£11,040 – £34,340||Injury that required a hip operation / replacement (or may lead to you requiring one in the future), but are unlikely to suffer from any serious disability as a result.|
|Injury To Pelvis and Hips||Minor||£3,460 – £11,040||Minor soft tissue injuries with complete recovery, where there is little or nor residual disability within 2 years.|
|Arm Injury||Severe||£114,810 – £263,060||Amputation of one or both arms. Amount awarded depends on where amputation is, age and the effect the operation has on life and whether there are phantom pains.|
|Arm Injury||Serious||£34,340 – £114,810||Arm injury not resulting in amputation, but has a serious effect on ability to use arm(s) resulting in disability.|
|Arm Injury||Moderate||£16,830 – £34,340||If there is a degree of disability for a period of time (such as a broken arm) but are expected to make a complete (or almost complete) recovery.|
|Arm Injury||Mild||£5,810 – £16,830||Simple fractures of the forearm. Awards at the top end of the scale will include longer than usual recovery periods and other extenuating factors.|
|Elbow Injury||Severe||£34,340-||Amounts could apply if injury has required surgery or resulted in severe disability.|
|Elbow Injury||Serious||£13,720 –||Elbow injuries that did not require surgery or lead to a disability, but has resulted in restricted movement.|
|Elbow Injury||Moderate||Up to £11,040||The majority of elbow injuries fall under this category. These amounts apply to injuries like tennis elbow, deep cuts or simple fractures that don’t lead to permanent damage.|
|Hand Injury||Severe||£25,430 – £176,660||When a person has had one/both hands amputated, or had their hand rendered almost useless by amputation of more than one finger. Also cases where several fingers have been amputated but re-joined, leaving it clawed, clumsy and unsightly.|
|Hand Injury||Moderate||£3,810 – £25,430||Injuries like deep cuts and soft tissue damage that have resulted in impaired function of the hand that may require surgery. At the bottom end of the scale, this will cover crush injuries, penetrating wounds and any permanent but non-intrusive symptoms.|
|Hand Injury||Minor||£800 – £3,810||Soft tissue injuries with a recovery time of 6 months or less. Less serious injuries include crush injuries and laceration.|
|Wrist Injury||Severe||£21,480 – £52,490||Wrist injuries resulting in complete loss of function and significant permanent disability.|
|Wrist Injury||Serious||£11,040 – £21,480||Injuries include broken wrist or soft tissue damage, resulting in some permanent disability.|
|Wrist Injury||Moderate||£3,090 – £8,970||Injuries including minor undisplaced fractures and an uncomplicated Colles fracture requiring the use of plasters, but recovery expected between 12 months and 2 years.|
|Finger Injury||Severe||£7,990 – £32,210||One or more finger completely amputated. Amount depends on which finger(s) had to be removed and the level of disability the person suffers as a result. This includes total and partial loss of index finger and fractures of the index finger.|
|Finger Injury||Moderate||£3,460 – £14,330||At the top end of the scale, amputation or loss part of the little finger. On the lower end, If you have suffered from a broken finger but have had a complete (or almost complete) recovery.|
|Finger Injury||Minor||Up to £4,160||Injuries such as fractured fingers that have healed fully within 12 months. At the bottom end of the scale, there will be minor scarring.|
|Thumb Injury||Severe||£11,040 – £48,080||Injuries include having part or all of your thumb amputated, suffering nerve damage, fractures, or losing your ability to grip properly. May also involve the insertion of wire.|
|Thumb Injury||Moderate||£3,460 – £11,040||Injuries including fractures, recovering within six months and at the higher end of the scale, damage to tendons or nerves, causing impairment of sensation. At the higher end of the scale, cosmetic deformity of the thumb.|
|Thumb Injury||Minor||Up to £1,930||These injuries may have caused severe pain for a short time, but will have resolved completely within 3 months.|
|Leg Injury||Severe||£48,080 – £247,280||Injuries would usually include either a single or double amputation (the higher awards reserved for above the knee amputations), extensive degloving including bone grafting, and in most cases a permanent future mobility restriction.|
|Leg Injury||Moderate||£15,750 – £48,080||Injuries including a broken leg, multiple fractures or crushing injuries, generally to one leg. Compound fractures or ligament injuries resorting in instability with a near-certainty of arthritis . Minor fractures with an incomplete recovery or serious soft tissue injury.|
|Leg Injury||Minor||Up to £12,350||Injuries that resolve within a few months, including soft tissue injuries, cuts, bruising, contusions. At the top end of the scale, simple fractures of femur, tibia and fibula.|
|Knee Injury||Severe||£22,960 – £84,360||Joint injury that has resulted in serious disability, constant pain or muscle wastage. Compensation amounts would depend on whether you are likely to need surgery in the future and the effects your injury will have on your life.|
|Knee Injury||Moderate||£13,010 – £22,960||Serious damage to the kneecap, ligaments or muscles, resulting in some disability with continued pain and discomfort. Also included are injuries involving dislocation, torn meniscus or acceleration type injuries over a prolonged period of years.|
|Knee Injury||Minor||Up to £12,050||Injuries involving twisting, lacerations or bruising, where there is continuous aching or discomfort. At the bottom end of the scale, soft tissue injuries resolving in a few months.|
|Ankle Injury||Severe||£43,900 – £61,110||Severe ankle injury leading to serious deformity, disability or even the possibility of amputation in the long-term.|
|Ankle Injury||Moderate||£12,050 – £43,900||Ankle injury requiring operation/plaster. Amount depends on if injury affects ability to work and if you need special footwear. Fractures, ligamentous tears, which lead to less serious disabilities when walking/standing, risk of future osteoarthritis.|
|Ankle Injury||Minor||Up to £12,050||Minor or undisplaced fractures, sprains and ligamentous injuries where there is an element of scarring. At the bottom end of the scale, injuries where recovery is complete without scarring and within a year.|
|Achilles Injury||Severe||£21,910 –||Muscles have been severed and this has led to restricted ankle movement. Injuries include a limp and residual scarring, and where further improvement is unlikely.|
|Achilles Injury||Moderate||£11,040 –||Cases involving partial rupture or significant injury to the tendon. At the top end of the scale, injuries involving disability and permanent scarring.|
|Achilles Injury||Minor||£6,800 – £11,040||Tendon damage to the ankle, resulting in minor instability. At the top end of the scale, cases may involve scarring.|
|Foot Injury||Severe||£73,620 – £176,600||Amputation of one or both feet, including traumatic amputation of the forefoot where there was a significant risk of the need for full amputation.|
|Foot Injury||Moderate||£12,050 – £61,410||Fractures of both heels with restriction on mobility, including degloving, heel fusion and deformity. At the bottom end of the scale, injuries will include metatarsal fractures, resulting in permanent deformity and continuing symptoms.|
|Foot Injury||Minor||Up to £12,050||Injuries include ruptured ligaments, puncture wounds where symptoms include a permanent limp, pain or aching, minor fractures, lacerations or contusions from which a complete recovery has been made within 2 years.|
|Toe Injury||Severe||£12,050 – £49,180||Amputation of all of your toes or your big toe. Amount depends on whether you lost your toe(s) in an incident or had them surgically removed. Severe crush injuries leading to amputation of one or two toes, but not the big toe.|
|Toe Injury||Moderate||£8,420 – £12,050||Injuries include multiple fractures or crush injury to two or more toes including the big toe. At the top end of the scale, there will be some permanent disability, and there will have been a number of unsuccessful operations.|
|Toe Injury||Minor||Up to £8,420||Injuries include one or more broken toes. Compensation amounts will depend on how quickly you recover and whether or not you will suffer long-term symptoms. Injuries at the bottom end of the scale will have resolved completely within a short space of time.|
|Post Traumatic Stress Disorder||Severe||£52,490 – £88,270||Cases will involve permanent effects which prevent the injured person from working at all, or at least from functioning at the pre-trauma level. Cases arising as a result of a traumatic event/accident.|
|Post Traumatic Stress Disorder||Moderate||£22,290 – £52,490||This category involves the same type of symptoms as the severe category, but there is a much better prognosis, with a likely recovery with professional help over a number of years.|
|Post Traumatic Stress Disorder||Minor||£3,460 – £7,170||At the top end of the scale, the injured person will have largely recovered, and any continuing effects will not be grossly disabling. At the bottom end of the scale, virtually a full recovery will be made within 2 years.|
|Scarring (not facial)||Severe||£6,870 – £19,930||A number of noticeable laceration scars or single disfiguring scars.|
|Scarring (not facial)||Moderate||Up to £7,580||At the top end of the scale, the injured person will have largely recovered, and any continuing effects will not be grossly disabling. At the bottom end of the scale, virtually a full recovery will be made within 2 years.|
|Scarring (not facial)||Minor||£2,080 – £6,870||A single noticeable scar, or several superficial scars of leg, arm or hand, with some minor cosmetic deficit.|