Cycling Safety: What to Do if You Have a Cycling Crash

Cycling Safety: What to Do if You Have a Cycling Crash

As much fun as cycling UK is, there’s always risk involved despite being accustomed to road safety. A bicycle crash, in particular, is likely, and in which vulnerable road users mostly go through.

Depending on the circumstance, biking mishaps can be a woe experience, even if minor. But don’t let this stop you from enjoying the open air and sounds of the great outdoors.

Simply being aware of your surroundings can keep you safe the majority of the time. If the inevitable does happen, though, it’s important to know what to do.

Keep these basic steps in mind to look after yourself should you be in trouble.

Cycling UK on Crash

Bicycle and car collision

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

There’s nothing we can do about a bicycle crash. Crashes happen, either from losing control, being hit by another cyclist, or you’ve hit a pothole. But what you do in the immediate aftermath of the accident can make a difference.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may start feeling shocked and disoriented. And at this point, an adrenaline rush may occur, making you act without thinking. Things may also get overwhelming - just too much for you to handle, but everything will be alright.

What Should I Do After a Bike Crash?

A biker knocked off from his bicycle

(Image Credit: Felix Wong)

If you’re thinking clearly, move quickly to a safe spot and out of the way of other road users, and start assessing.

Breathe in, breathe out

Take a moment to slow things down; take your time getting up and moving around. Wait for your breathing and heart rate to normalise. Sitting or lying down can help deal with the light-headed feeling.

If you’re able to move and get off the road, do so. Gather all your strength and get yourself out of further harm’s way and go somewhere safe.

Assess the damage to yourself. See if you can move your arms in all directions. Can you look up, down, left, and right without any pain? Then decide whether you can pedal off or need to wait for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for aid from those around you, as they’ll surely be willing to lend a hand.

Administer basic first aid

Look after your own safety; check and make sure you don’t have any major injuries. Move around your arms and legs and attest if you feel any pain. If nothing is broken, try standing up slowly and see how you feel.

If you can move without major pain, your upper body is fine. If you can walk, you can probably pedal out of the woods or wherever you are. Avoid the risk of moving too much if you feel the opposite.

Also, take a moment to ensure your helmet is intact and see whether it’s cracked or dented. If so, it could be a sign that you have a concussion and should stay put. If you feel dizzy, don’t attempt to ride away from your fall.

Assuming you’re relatively unscathed, check others involved for injuries, as well. If anyone, such as a fellow cyclist, has suffered severe wounds, offer your help and call 999. Move them safely off the road if you have to, but be careful not to put too much pressure on your body.

Check the bike

If you’re physically okay and oriented enough to get on the bike, ensure your bicycle is in good condition too. Check the wheels; they should be true, and the tires hold air.

The shifters must be in proper alignment, and the brakes must work well. Lastly, examine the frame and look for any damage that may cause further crashes on your way home. Include the tubing, joints and forks, as well as the hairline (for carbon frame).

In the Event of Collision: Vehicle or Road Defects

Bike and car collision

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

If you are involved in a collision with a vehicle, things can get more complicated. A complete catastrophe, even, if you’re hit by a car and crash by yourself.

There’s much more to keep in mind in this situation:

Get details of other parties involved

After looking after yourself and making sure you’re okay, get the details of anyone involved. Where possible, collect the names, addresses and insurance info. If relevant, include the vehicle registration, as well as the model and colour. 

Do yourself a favour, stay calm and don’t get engaged in an argument. Avoid admitting fault, verbally or otherwise. Also, don’t leave the scene before the incident has been reported.

Take photos

If you can, take photos to assess the damage to your bicycle. Keep hold of any damaged items for inspection. You may list them, including the out-of-pocket expenses, as part of your claim. You can also take photos of a driver’s number plate if they don’t exchange details. Do all these assuming you were hit by a car.

But if it’s caused by a road defect, such as a pothole, your local council may be liable. This could be especially true if it caused you injury and damage to the bike. Take pictures of the pothole or defect; a water bottle in the shot can help indicate the size. 

If CCTV covers the scene, get a copy of it. Helmet camera footage can also be useful, but ensure it’s saved and not overwritten. The more detail and proof you keep, the easier it’ll be to deal with any legal claim.

Get witnesses

If there are witnesses, ask if they’re willing to give an account of what they saw. Get their names and phone numbers if so. They may also be required to provide evidence in claims for damages. And this could be crucial if the case goes to court. Hopefully, that won’t be the case!

Report the incident

If a vehicle is involved, report the incident to the police as soon as possible and within 24 hours. Ask for the officer’s name and date of the report.

If a road defect causes the accident, you’ll usually need to contact your local council. That way, they can deal with it, preventing any more incidents in the future.

Tending Injuries After the Cycling Crash

Up close shot of a biker's scratched leg

(Image Credit: Flickr)

It’s always a good idea to get checked up by a doctor, even if you feel okay after the cycling crash. A concussion is always a risk, and there may be long-term effects. Get urgent care and let the medical professionals assess your status. You may undergo imaging tests, such as X-rays, to see if anything is seriously damaged.

Also, before you ride your bike again, take it to your local bike shop and have them fully examine it. Buy a new helmet if the old one has been compromised from the scene.

Lastly, take time to heal. Give your body some downtime to avoid stress injuries. This is especially important if you have a concussion. In this case, your GP may prescribe you a protocol for post-crash.


Cycling accidents, such as crashes, are rare, but they do happen, so it pays to be prepared. It may greatly impact how much you recover and damage your bike. In some cases, it may also affect the outcome of any lawsuits resulting from the casualty.

Note: Do not take these pointers as medical advice. For a light-threatening situation, call 999 and seek a medical professional’s aid. This is especially crucial if you (or someone) hit your head, broke a bone, or sustained lacerations.

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