Accidents

No matter how hard you work at your riding, no matter how hard you concentrate, you are still a road user and by virtue of the fact, you may have an accident one day. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that, if you do have an accident you will protect your interests.

First your protection. By definition an accident scene is a dangerous location! The most important person in the world is you, therefore protect yourself by protecting the scene. This can be by directing someone else to warn the approaching traffic, or by using what ever comes to hand to provide some early warning. Remember that the longer drivers have you in view then the less likely emergency action will be required by them. If you have lost control on a bend you have just found the exact location that people end up in when they have lost control.

Don't worry about congested traffic, leave everything where it is, the more congested then the slower the traffic will be going past you. Your bike with headlight on parked facing the oncoming traffic is a good way of warning the traffic, if some elses car is available use it (think of it as an expensive road cone!). Ensure if you are in the road that you are wearing something that a myopic driver will see.

Once the scene is secure then think of the casualties. Assess what assistance you need numbers and severity of casualties. But most important of all where are you! It sounds daft but under pressure people forget where they are, which towns they are between or which Motorway they are on. If you are not local ask some one who is, to summon the ambulance. First aid is a subject in itself, now is the time when you regret not learning more.

Once the dust has settled its time to think about the law. There are certain things which you MUST do when involved in an accident. You must stop. How long for? Well, this is where it gets a bit like estimating the length of a piece of string. You are obliged to stop long enough for any interested parties to take your name, index number, the name and address of the owner of the bike and insurance details. If you have an accident and don't give any of the above you must report to the Police as soon as possible, and in any case within 24 hrs

The importance of making notes at the time cannot be over estimated. Let's take the usual scenario. You approach a junction and a car pulls out on you forcing you to drop the bike. Your first thought must be, "why the hell didn't I remember what those wonderful chaps at Rapid Training told me about the safety position."

Here are some very important points:

Exact location.
If you don't know where you are, then ask somebody. If you've got a map, then note the location. If you are out on a day run in the middle of nowhere there is a good chance that you won't be back this way for a long time, especially if the bike is in a heap on the verge.

Time and date.
Details of the other vehicle and driver. If he/she admits liability, make a record of what is said, word for word. That counts for a lot. The damage to the other vehicle. Even if you didn't hit him, he may use your accident to get some old damage fixed.

Witnesses.
A good witness is worth their weight in gold. If the accident is indeed the other driver's fault, get the witness details and be nice to them. If the unmentionable occurs and the accident is your fault, wave the witnesses on as quickly as possible before the other driver gets a chance to get their names and addresses!!!

Marks on the road.
These are very important. They show all sorts about the accident. If the road surface is in some way defective, record the fact. Pace out the lengths of any tyre marks or scratches.

Photographs.
Once again, a simple thing like a few snaps of the scene and the damage to the vehicles is worth a great deal. If the old idiot in the cloth cap has indeed pulled out of you from a junction, then simply take a picture of what he would have seen as he emerged. If there are road signs which he has ignored then lets have a picture. Likewise, if there are signs which are obscured by hedgerows then we need to have that recorded.

Groups.
If you are a Rapid 'graduate' then there is a good chance that you may be riding as a group on a day out, or "jolly" to use the full technical term. If one of the team falls off then make sure that one of the group takes the initiative and looks after the evidence gathering process. If the Police attend and its your fault then be careful what you say. Don't be rude but you shouldn't make statements when you are shocked. Seek some advice as soon as possible. Remember the Rapid Training Helpline 07429 042885.