Christmas safety for Cyclists: would you know what to do at the scene of an accident?
By Amber Wang
Christmas is upon us and this means an influx of shiny new bikes on our roads and more time for cycling adventures. But the holiday period also sees an increase in cars on our motorways, bringing with it a heightened chance of collision between motor vehicles and cyclists. Faced with the reality of a crash or when it’s you that’s at the wrong end of an incident, would you know what to do at the scene of an accident? Use these tips to ensure you’ll know what to do if faced with an accident these holidays.
Who has to stop and assist after an accident?
If an accident results in injury, damage to any property or worse, road users including cyclists must stay at or near the scene of the accident. Penalties, including imprisonment, can apply if you do not remain at the scene. If you feel threatened and need to leave the accident scene, advise the Police of your reason for leaving and new location as soon as possible.
All road users are required to immediately assist an injured person, and make reasonable efforts to obtain medical assistance from emergency services.
Should I call the Police to the scene?
All road users (including passengers, cyclists and pedestrians) can report a crash to Queensland Police Service (QPS). This must be done within twenty four (24) hours of the accident if it involves:
- Injury requiring medical attention or worse; or
- A vehicle which is not drivable and is towed away.
You may also call QPS on non-emergency contact lines (see below) to request their attendance if you:
- Cannot organise for the driver to provide the required identification details;
- Suspect the driver:
- was affected by drugs or alcohol;
- was unlicensed;
- has provided false details; and/or
Suspect the vehicle was unregistered or there are suspicious circumstances around the accident.
What information should I collect?
If you’ve been in an accident it’s important you obtain the contact details from the driver of the vehicle that struck you, if it’s safe to do so.
The driver is required to provide you with the following information:
- Their full legal name and address;
- The name and address of the owner of the vehicle;
- The vehicle registration number; and
- Any other information necessary to identify the vehicle.
If the driver won’t provide the above information, you should call Policelink and the QPS will decide if they need to attend.
You should also try and obtain (although they are not legally required to provide) the following information:
(a) Their telephone number and driver’s license number.
(b) The make, model, colour and registration number of the vehicle.
(c) The telephone number of the owner of the motor vehicle - as the owner of the vehicle may be liable for the driver’s negligence.
TIP: If the vehicle’s registration papers are in the car, the driver can show you the vehicle’s registration details. It is also very useful to:
- Take photographs of any injuries, damage, skid marks, car parts and scene of accident.
TIP: If you can’t take photographs at the scene of the accident, take photographs as soon as possible afterwards. Remember, bruising and swelling usually become apparent in the days afterwards – ensure you photograph this too.
(i) Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.
(ii) Time and date of the accident.
(iii) Details such as the speed limit, number of lanes, weather and road conditions.
TIP: Download the ‘My Crash’ Policelink Application for smart phones and tablets. The application allows you to record details, map the exact location, and take photos of the accident. If you are seriously injured, do not be afraid to ask for help from bystanders! You may be surprised at how many people will help when asked.
What do I need to do after an accident?
After an accident, monitor your body and emotions, as not all injuries are apparent within the first 48 hours after an accident - adrenaline and shock often masks injuries. See a doctor or visit the Emergency Department to ensure all symptoms are checked or emerging injuries medically documented.
If you haven’t already reported the accident, do so. Minor accidents can be reported online, by phone or in person at your local police station. If you later discover that you sustained an injury, you may have to report the accident in person.
1. QPS website: https://www.police.qld.gov.au
2. In the event of an emergency: 000
3. In the event of a non-emergency: QPS PoliceLink 131 444
Thanks, but that won’t happen to me!
Many bicycle riders think they’ll never be in an accident. As one of the most vulnerable road users, cyclists need to be prepared for the possibility that they may be involved in a crash or witness one. Knowing what to do in the event of an incident is everyone’s responsibility when riding and driving on Queensland roads this Christmas and beyond.
Maurice Blackburn, are the preferred legal supplier for Triathlon Queensland members. For more information on how Maurice Blackburn can get you back on track, call 1800 810 812 or visit mauriceblackburn.com.au
Did you know?
• Bicycles are considered vehicles under Queensland law, and are therefore subject to the same alcohol laws. Drinking and riding increases your risk of an accident – don’t assume it will be OK to cycle home after your Christmas event.
• On average the most dangerous day of week to be on the roads is on a Saturday (Monday usually reports the least accidents), and the most common time for accidents involving road users is around 3pm. Plan your holiday ride accordingly.