Skip to content

Saddle-Up Column: How to handle an accident as a cyclist

Things cyclists should do after getting hit by a vehicle
Geordie McGillivray (Saddle up)
Richmond resident Geordie McGillivray writes about different aspects of cycling.

Years ago I went through the process of being hit by a vehicle and then what comes after that all the way up to receiving a settlement. We don’t like to think about being hit by a vehicle, and sometimes it can be bad enough that you require assistance from others or even an ambulance, but sometimes you’re able to ride, or walk away from it. That’s what happened to me, and I’d like to give you a few tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in that situation.

First, always carry a phone! It’s become invaluable for taking photos and of course calling for help if needed. In this situation it was very important I had photos of the vehicle.

Next, make sure the driver knows they hit you. Sounds obvious but the driver of the truck said he had no idea he hit me. I confronted him, and while I was upset, I kept my cool and explained what just happened and made him aware.

Now, were there any witnesses? Are there people at a bus stop? Walking their dog? Traffic at a red light? Try and get witnesses immediately. You don’t want to be one of those people that has to put a sign up on the corner asking for witnesses to an accident that occurred some time ago. Sometimes witnesses can be the difference between a positive or negative outcome to your situation.

The same day as the accident I contacted the company whose truck it was. I was still in shock, and my head wasn’t focusing properly but at the time I felt this was the best thing to do. I gave them all of the information, letting them know there was damage to some of my equipment and how I thought we could resolve this. They responded that their policy is to only go through ICBC. I’m thankful for this, as then the pain started and I realized I would need more help than anticipated. There are lawyers who specialize in personal injury from cycling, don’t be afraid to contact a lawyer from a nearby city, they will all be able to help you.

At this point you are very hands-off as much of the work is handled by your lawyer. Do everything that’s requested of you, and most importantly, if you’re still able to ride your bike, please do. I was scared to get back on the roads of Richmond, but eventually, I did and I realized how much I needed cycling not just for my physical well-being, but for my mental well-being too. I hope you never need any of this information, but because you never know, I hope you’re more prepared. Be safe out there.