The average morning that wasn’t to be

I was so dazed after the accident that all that I kept repeating through my head was ‘I’m on my way to work’ and couldn’t think straight from all the adrenalin and shock.

A few weeks ago I had the misfortune to become a cycling accident statistic. I was cycling on my way to work on The Terrace, down a steep part, when a large red ute edged its way out of Dixon Street. Sadly, rather that seeing my lights and bright jacket, he pulled straight out giving me only split-seconds to react.

Long story short, I ended up staring up at the sky on his bonnet, with my bike still between my legs.

Fortunately I wasn’t too badly hurt. Unfortunately my lovely bike got totaled and is now junk. I’d never been hit before and was totally unprepared to deal with it. My phone, which was in my hip pocket, got smashed and there went all my numbers. I couldn’t call work, my partner, the police, an ambulance… nothing.

On the scene were two lovely ladies that took great care of me and the driver stuck around  shyly in the background. It was the women who helped that called the free ambulance, police and work. Thank you.

Anyway, that was my ‘crash’ story. I just want to give some advice to anyone who may have to go through the same thing.

  1. Take things nice and slow. The impulse to get up and get your morning going again can be quite strong. Sit down if you can and it’s normal to feel nauseous.
  2. Keep emergency contact numbers on paper somewhere like your tool bag, taped to the bike or anywhere you will have them to hand.
  3. Accept the free ambulance. I felt I didn’t need it because all the adrenalin pumping through me was blocking out the hurt and foresight, but I did.
  4. Swap full details with the police, driver and witnesses, If your phone is damaged include a different contact number.
  5. Call the police or get someone else to call them. You will need them for insurance purposes and if you feel like pressing charges later on.
  6. You should get a letter from the police stating some basic facts and whose fault it was.
  7. Take stock of what’s damaged and don’t forget to include your helmet in that list as once it’s been hit, it’ll need replacing. Try claim for hours away from work, bus fees for the time you don’t have a bike and anything else that is a direct result of the accident.
  8. Keep anything that was damaged as you may need to give it to the insurance company
  9. If you are not claiming on your insurance you should claim through the driver’s liability insurance
  10. You should end up with a cheque or replacement for any damages. It should also be possible to keep your damaged bike but you may need to talk this through with the insurance company.
  11. Finally, get back on the horse as soon as you can and keep positive.

Keep alert, stay confident, be visible and touch wood it shouldn’t happen, but if it does then bear these tips in mind.

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5 thoughts on “The average morning that wasn’t to be

  1. Really agree with point 3. When I’ve had accidents (including being hit by a car as a pedestrian), the adrenalin rush has meant that I’ve not really noticed a lot of the pain/damage for a while. That’s a perfectly normal human reaction, but it means that it’s easy to go “No, I’m fine, it’s just a little knock” when you’re actually quite hurt. Take the time to find out what’s actually wrong.

    Also, here in NZ, don’t forget about ACC. Any accident – no matter whose fault it was, even if it was just you doing something dumb and mangling yourself – is covered by ACC. You’re paying the levies, so get your money’s worth: if you have a nagging injury from an accident, get to a doctor or physio and get some treatment.

    Sorry to hear about your accident. Glad you’re back up and well.

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  2. Be careful out there folks:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/5505016/Cyclist-hit-by-car-in-Wellington

    And what Jack said. I can think of several occasions where I’ve been injured and waved away help under the misguided influence of what hindsight tells me was obviously shock. When other people are picking up the mess it’s a great time to go with the flow, let them take charge of you and enjoy the good brain chemicals while they last.

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  3. What to do if you crash

    Source, CAN, http://can.org.nz/article/what-to-do-if-you-crash

    Things to remember if you do have a crash.
    1. Be Prepared to Act

    If you crash and are severely injured, you will have to rely on bystanders for help. Fortunately that is the exception. If you are still conscious and mobile after your crash be prepared to act.
    2. Get Off the Road

    After a crash you might be disorientated and either lie or stand on the roadway. The first priority is to get off the road and avoid the risk of further injury. Then think about getting your bike off the road if you can do it safely.

    If anyone is injured on the scene call the Police.
    3. See if You Can Move Okay

    If in doubt, ask someone to take you to a doctor or call an ambulance. Don’t act tough. If you don’t feel right, get help.
    4. Be Cool

    Don’t get upset. Don’t start blaming anyone. Don’t admit anything to anyone at this stage.
    5. Get Witnesses and Details

    If you have been hit by a car, exchange details with the driver. Write down the registration number of the car and the driver’s name, address and telephone number. You may wish to see the driver’s licence. Write down the location and time. If there are witnesses, ask for their names, addresses and telephone numbers.
    6. Get Checked Out

    Even if you feel fine, go to a doctor straight away and have a check up. It can take hours or days before some effects of a crash, such as concussion or deep bruising, show up. If there is injury, you need to get treatment. You need to have evidence of the injury for later claims and compensation.

    If someone has been injured or their property damaged tell the police. When you make a report ask for a copy of it.

    Later…
    7. Record Details

    Date and Location of the crash
    Brief summary of what happened
    Any other information that might be important

    8. Contact CAN

    Once you have reported the crash to the police, contact CAN where you can receive legal advice and support.
    9. Return to the Scene:

    When you are able, return to the scene of the crash.

    Take a camera. Photograph locations, names of streets etc. these details are important if you intend to sue or make a claim.
    10. Get Damage to your Bike Assessed.

    Take a photo of your bike. Take your bike to a reputable bike shop for a quote (preferable two for confirmation) or replacement.

    Courtesy of Bicycle Victoria

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  4. atom

    glad to hear you’re mostly OK.

    i’ve been on both sides… as a medic (EMT in the states) and a cyclist. one of the things i’ve learned from a recent “experience” is this: if there’s any contact between your bike and another vehicle, the first thing to do is take several deep breaths. before leaving the scene, get off the road (if you’re not obviously injured) and go over yourself and your bike, “head to toe”.

    no matter how stupid the other person was in causing the crash, making any accusatory statements (or name-calling) will only make a bad situation worse. asking if they’re OK will put them off guard 😉

    i’ve got cameras on the bike so I don’t have to pay too close attention to number plates, and that also leaves me in a better position if a motorist flees the scene or later denies there was a crash. it should also help things go smoothly with charges (among other things, charges establish fault for insurance purposes) and an insurance claim… i’ll soon know for sure.

    this guy is the king of cool – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiWjff5Smhg
    the first time i watched that, i was expecting him to start smashing out the car’s windows. watching that was inspirational and helped me stay (mostly) cool during my recent “experience”.

    anyway, those are good tips. car insurance often provides a “cheat sheet” to motorists, “what to do if there’s a crash”. i’m not sure if CAN has a similar list for cyclists, but what you’ve got is a good place to start. i’d recommend that people print out a copy and keep it with them, just in case.

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