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Hit by a driver? The 9 vital steps cyclists should take next

Keep calm and try to follow these steps if you're a cyclist who has been involved in a collision

Though at times it might not seem like it, the chances of being knocked off your bike are, thankfully, low. According to the Department for Transport’s road casualty figures for 2017, only 5,604 cyclists are killed or injured in a reported accident on a public road per billion miles travelled. Even so, it pays to have a clear idea of what to do next should it happen to you.

> Cycle safety in focus as Highway Code changes revealed, including setting out hierarchy of road users

The following advice applies when you or someone you’re riding with has been involved in a collision. For medical advice on what to do if a riding buddy has crashed, see here.

Step 1: Get somewhere safe

If you’ve hit the deck, your first priority is to get yourself somewhere safe. In its top ten tips for after a crash, Cycling UK advises that if you are unable to move out of harm’s way, “then shout, wave or whistle to attract assistance.”

Police car flashing lights (CC licensed by Lee Haywood)

Step 2: Request emergency assistance

Both Cycling UK and British Cycling recommend that all incidents are reported to the police immediately.

In an emergency, telephone 999. If you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, a text phone is available on 18000.

Guidelines state that you should use these numbers if:

  • A crime is happening right now
  • Someone is in immediate danger, or there is a risk of serious damage to property
  • A suspect for a serious crime is nearby
  • There is a traffic collision involving serious injury or danger to other road users

Otherwise call 101 for police or 111 for medical advice if your injuries do not require immediate assistance.

Never assume a road incident is ‘too trivial’ to call in, because the research based on these records is critical for road design and the future safety of cyclists.

Step 3: Get everyone’s details

If you’ve been involved in a collision with another road user, take down their details. It is a legal requirement that they provide them.

You’ll want to get the contact and insurance details of the driver(s), plus the make, model and registration number of their vehicle(s) – car details can be hugely valuable in the unlikely event the driver provides bogus personal information.  

Cycling UK recommends getting someone to help you with this process, pointing out that you’ll need to get the contact details of independent witnesses anyway. “If you are injured and struggling, and anyone appears remotely sympathetic, then ask that ‘Good Samaritan’ to collect contact details and stop the driver or potential witnesses from leaving.”

Make a note of the time and place of the incident as well. You can take details down on your phone or borrow a bit of paper. If you really don’t have any other option, then write it all down on your hand.

Get the number of the attending police officer and their current duty station. Ask them for the police reference number and a copy of their police collision investigation report, including sketch diagrams and photographs.

It is important to stay calm when speaking to police. Cycling UK points out that, “police officers are invariably motorists and may have heard a different version of events from the uninjured and calm motorist who has just run you over. Make sure the officer writes down the correct version by asking them to read over their notes to you.”

The charity also recommends making “polite but persistent inquiries” as to the prosecution process against a guilty driver because some officers will otherwise be inclined to treat a cycling injury as a relatively minor matter.

Step 4: Don’t admit liability

“You should not have any discussion with the other party with regard to liability,” advises British Cycling. The reason is that even meaningless knee-jerk British apologies could be used against you later as an admission of liability.

In addition to this, Cycling UK advises you to beware of the ‘professional delinquent driver’, who will quickly reposition their vehicle so its new location appears innocent, often on the pretext of ‘moving it out of the way’. “Embarrass that driver by loudly pointing out this ploy to passers-by,” they recommend.

Step 5: Gather your own evidence

Your main form of evidence in the immediate aftermath of a collision will be photographs.

“Take as many shots as you can of the scenario, number plates, drivers involved, and passers-by, even if you are lying on the ground,” says Cycling UK. “Key components will be parked cars, as they can be moved inadvertently, sometimes by the police, but also kerbs, drains, painted lines, lamp posts to ‘fix’ distance, skid marks, road scratchings, direction of travel, ‘approaches’, etc.”

Look around for CCTV cameras too. Make a note of any and pass this information on to police.

You are legally allowed to access CCTV footage in which you appear, but this doesn’t mean it’s always easy to get hold of. Requests should be submitted in writing, but you’ll still be reliant on owners co-operating promptly before footage is deleted.

Acknowledging this, cycling accident specialists Cycling Accident Management Services (CAMS) say you are usually better off getting two or more independent witnesses. Gather their accounts as soon as you can. You should also sign, date and put a time on your account, and keep it safe.

Step 6: Seek medical attention

If you have suffered injury and you are able to, seek medical attention as soon as you can.

“Never shrug off any injuries, but insist on a full hospital check-up, and seek medical attention for any subsequent twinges,” advises Cycling UK.

British Cycling recommends keeping a record of any treatment, plus any costs associated with it. (E.g. prescription charges, bus and taxi fares, hospital parking fees, painkillers.)

You should also take photographs of cuts and bruises and continue doing so as time goes on so that you have a record of how long your injuries lasted.

Quad Lock Out Front Mount and GoPro Adapter - Go Pro from front.jpg

Step 7: Submit action cam footage to the police (if you have it)

Cyclists can upload footage of an incident using the Nextbase National Dash Cam Safety Portal and it is sent directly to their local police force (within England/Wales).

Step 8: Instruct a specialist solicitor

Membership of cycling organisations will often include access to free legal advice from lawyers who are experts in personal injury litigation.

The Cycling UK Incident Line provides free legal advice to all members.

You can speak to them about:

  • Personal injury claims for members
  • Personal injury claims for non-members
  • Incidents caused by road traffic incidents and poor road conditions, such as potholes
  • Injuries from incidents whilst commuting, off road cycling or even on holiday overseas

Visit the Cycling UK Incident Line website for more information or call anytime on 0844 736 8452.

Similarly, most British Cycling membership packages ensure that individuals are insured against incidents which are, or are alleged to have been, their fault.

The organisation also provides access to lawyers who are experts in helping those who have sustained injury, financial losses or damage to their bike as a result of incidents which were not their fault.

You can report an incident to British Cycling via their online form or call 0161 274 2015.

If you’re not a member of either organisation, specialists such as CAMS can compile a comprehensive accident report on your behalf with a view to recovering all your losses, from lost earnings to personal belongings.

CAMS have a claim form on their website and will usually be in touch within 12 hours.

Step 9: Claim for a replacement bike

If your bike is damaged or destroyed and the collision wasn’t your fault, you can make a claim.

CAMS will replace your bike and helmet upfront through your local bike shop. They cover the initial costs, so the process takes just days. This takes a lot of the hassle out of pursuing a claim and also means you don’t have to wait for the insurance company to pay out.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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37 comments

Avatar
GMBasix | 698 posts | 2 years ago
2 likes

"In an emergency, telephone 999. If you are deaf, deafened, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, a text phone is available on 18000."

You can also text (SMS) the emergency services on 999, but you must register before doing so.

To access the service:

  • Text the word ‘register’ to 999.
  • You’ll then receive an automatic text response which contains some information about the service. It’s advisable to read the information
  • Once you are ready to proceed with the registration, reply to the message by texting ‘Yes’ back.
  • You’ll then receive a ‘success’ response, confirming that your mobile is now registered.

NB:

  • no 'success' means check with your network provider
  • if you change your number, you need to re-register
  • to check if you're still registered, text 'register' and you'll get a confirmation if you are
  • it's still SMS, and delivery may not be spontaneous, so voice calls are better if available
  • It depends on signal still, but SMS may get through if voice doesn't
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mancrider | 14 posts | 2 years ago
2 likes

Only had one incident thank god. 

I was following (slowly) behind an elderly gent in a mobility scooter in the cycle lane. I could see him eyeballing me in the wing mirrors. As I followed at a safe distance, I was looking behind to find an appropriate gap in traffic to overtake.

Next thing I know I'm on top of this scooter cage, and my bike is on top of me. He had slammed the brakes on and come to a complete stop in front of me.

Luckily no real damage to me, him or the bike. Although, at the side of the road as I'm checking he is ok he adamantly informs me that his mobility scooter is bust, and that he cant afford to replace it so I will have to. At that stage of my life I had sold my car and was commuting on a bike to save money for bills so I was gutted to say the least.

Luckily I had the confidence to reach into the scooter and try his accelerator lever and it burst into life and he sped off without a word.

The week after I saw the same guy stranded in the middle of a busy junction shouting at some motorists, so I think it was his hobby.

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swldxer | 279 posts | 2 years ago
9 likes

When I was hit by a car and bust my collarbone, the A+E medic spent 15 minutes lecturing me on my lack of plastic hat. I asked him if he ever did the same with car crash victims  7

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Hirsute replied to swldxer | 8066 posts | 2 years ago
9 likes

Did you ask him how it would have protected your collarbone?

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brooksby replied to Hirsute | 12196 posts | 2 years ago
2 likes

Depends on where you wear it, I suppose...

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 8066 posts | 2 years ago
1 like

You would need 2 though...

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swldxer replied to Hirsute | 279 posts | 2 years ago
0 likes

Yes, of course.

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Gary's bike channel replied to swldxer | 277 posts | 2 years ago
2 likes

when i was in the ambulance after passing out, the paramedic got very angry with me, as he said the ecg on my heart was showing little jumps and my bpm was just below 40 bpm. He wanted me to go to hospital, and i said'' no, its because im a cyclist''.

He got quite irate, but then ive been told im stubborn. 

[my own fault, i cycled hard, went for a jog, then drank four ciders on an empty stomach, thats all it was].

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the little onion | 975 posts | 2 years ago
7 likes

Step 0 - join Cycling UK or another organisation that will give you insurance and also fight for justice

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OnTheRopes replied to the little onion | 437 posts | 2 years ago
1 like

Sadly this is absolutely essential, I was knocked off by a driver, minimal injury (cut finger) but the bike was damaged. One witness who gave me a fake phone number, police were only interested because the blood on my hand constituted an injury and they did visit the driver and get the details I didn't have but that was the end of that.

As my BC membership had lapsed I tried chasing his insurance (AXA)  myself but after intitial contact they just stopped answering any calls or emails and it I just had little to no chance of getting a result.

Fortunately I later discovered my house insurance covered me and they chased it, even they struggled to get any info of AXA (never know a bigger bumch of shisters) but after 2 years I did get a payout.

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Les Ed | 87 posts | 3 years ago
7 likes

Re Injury and going to hospital. I recently had a crash that was self inflicted and went to the local hospital expecting to get my knee stitched up. While sitting there the doctor insisted on giving me the once over she found "deep puncture wound" on my elbow, two sprained wrists, as well as the knee at the time I felt no pain anywhere except my knee. It helped that her experience meant she knew what she was looking for. Always worth getting it checked by the experts.

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ChrisInRedhill | 3 posts | 3 years ago
9 likes

All good tips, I'd just add one.

When I was hit a few years ago in Crystal Palace, I took down all the details on my phone (including make/model of car and number plate). A good samaritan had chased the driver down. When I asked the driver for her name, phone number and insurance details she started to read them out, then offered to just write them down on my phone. In a bit of a daze, I handed her the phone and she wrote them down. Later that morning when giving the details to the police, I found not only had she given false information, she had also changed the number plate details I'd written down whilst doing it! The police weren't able to track her down.

So, be suspicious of drivers who knock you over. Don't hand them your phone, have them dictate the information to you. Before they or you leave the scene, double-check the number plate, make and model of car. Obtain a phone number from the driver, and ring it to check it is their number whilst they are standing in front of you.

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hawkinspeter replied to ChrisInRedhill | 12160 posts | 3 years ago
7 likes

I'd recommend taking a photo of their number plate and also the driver - quicker and easier than trying to write/type information whilst dealing with post-incident shock.

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formerLondon | 6 posts | 3 years ago
6 likes

In the mid-nineties I was struck by a car in Newington Green London. The driver stopped, got out, verbally abused me, and threatened to "put me through that fuckin window". The police, who saw everything, came over to see what was going on. They had all the sympathy in the world... for the driver, and spoke to me as if I were a criminal. They told me I shouldn't be riding at such a traffic-heavy hour, getting in the way of people who have places to be. They told me the driver had had a bad day, he was stressed, and the traffic was really bad and the fact that I was in front of him was really the last straw. Ever since then I've taken the law into my own hands. I always hold a hefty D-lock now. Fuck the Police, fuck the law, they're useless. 

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Gary's bike channel replied to formerLondon | 277 posts | 3 years ago
3 likes

only been in a crash with a car on a pedal bike one time, I was filtering at 13 mph, passing a bus. Obstructed my view of the junction on the left. I carried on, then suddenly the right hand side of a car bonnet was in front of me, then i went over the top, with the bike staying on the other side and the wheel buckling. The lady was indian, who did stop, but she refused to give any details to me. I kept saying i need your details, but she just rang her husband. Quote'' he say, you have no insurance, we just go home''. I left it, knowing it was on the camera. Didnt send the footage to police[ reason upcoming[ but 6 weeks after reporting it a lady police officer rang me saying, ok, her car is damaged, you need a front wheel, but she is happy to leave it at that if you are? and i have told her in future she must leave her details at an accident site.  That was ok with me as it was a 30 quid fix on an old bike. 

Other times i report to police.

Properly angry man road raged with me over a painted cycle lane, got out car, abuse and insults through, we ended up me and him head to head like goats/ deer. Bike shoved over, me pushed into oncoming traffic. Sent video footage with a statement and NOTHING back. 

In this case, it actually may not be the best idea to send video footage, or maybe it is. It depends which officer you get. 

Me though? fuck that, i let you tube and rate driver do the talking now. Or i just yell at them GET ON THE BUS STOP CAUSING CONGESTION! and ride off. 

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fukawitribe replied to Gary's bike channel | 3287 posts | 3 years ago
3 likes

david rides wrote:

 I was filtering at 13 mph, passing a bus. Obstructed my view of the junction on the left. I carried on, then suddenly the right hand side of a car bonnet was in front of me, then i went over the top, with the bike staying on the other side and the wheel buckling. 

Wow. So you're not safe on the pavement/shared path and you're not safe on the road. Perhaps you could learn how to use them, or maybe it's time to call it a day, even if only for everyone else's benefit ?

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Secret_squirrel | 3194 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

All great advice - I would say it applies for all collisions - not just for cars.   Get witnesses addresses as well.  Take lots of pictures.

Most importantly get liability insurance as you never know what will happen when an ambulance chasing lawyer gets involved.  Its not widely known that most mortgage holders have public liability insurance from their house insurance.   

All well and good you say.   Well that depends.   If they get chased by said lawyers they and the circumstances are remotely grey - in my personal experience - they are likely to fold like a cheap suit, and any payout will show up on your house insurance claims history and premiums AND you will have no say in the matter.   At least with an experienced cycle insurer they are likely to consider the claim on its merits.

Yes, I am bitter - I collided with a pedestrian, hung around, gave him First Aid - in spite of the fact I was also leaking from several new orifices - and in return his lawyers took my insurance company to the cleaners (£30k!) as one witness supported my version of events and another witness supported his and my house insurance company declined to fight any further, and hey presto higher premiums.

At least with a dedicated cycle insurer I would have had the comfort of knowing that they took the my view into account - even if they ultimately settled.

as always YMMV! 

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Sriracha | 4075 posts | 3 years ago
1 like
Quote:

plus the make, model and registration number of their vehicle(s) – car details can be hugely valuable in the unlikely event the driver provides bogus personal information.

I'd always try to get the chassis number for that very reason - usually visible under the lower left edge of the windscreen. If the rest is bogus, chances are the number plate is too.

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wtjs replied to Sriracha | 3081 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Sriracha wrote:

[

I'd always try to get the chassis number for that very reason - usually visible under the lower left edge of the windscreen. If the rest is bogus, chances are the number plate is too.[/quote]

Good point. Unfortunately, the Lancashire Constabulary All-Purpose Dodge can get any motorist off hitting a cyclist: "Only a mometary loss of concentration- No Further Action"

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Southy83 | 18 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

He was referring to the alleged incident. Throughout the trial he carefully worded any response in relation to the accident to deny it but not actually directly say he wasn't involved.

As to the civil case, the accident happened in January 2017, he was found guilty in November 2017 but due to continually denying it to his insurers it dragged on until I got settlement in January 2019 (two years and one day from the accident, it would have been two years exactly but the cheque was sent by Royal Mail and I wasn't in to receive it).

I think he may have been on the hook for quite a bit from the insurers side as they would not indemnify him. I got £3,400 and nearly three years on I do not appear to have any issues with the ribs, although I avoid contact sports now and focus on riding/Triathlon.

The kicker being that he has a child that goes to one of my children's pre-school so I sometimes see him about. So that gets a bit awkward. Neither of us has engaged the other and I am slightly worried that my daughter gets too friendly with his.

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ktache | 5909 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Southy83/Tightwad, lucky you weren't badly hurt, fair enough eventual conclusion,

When I got properly hit one of my broken ribs punctured a lung.  That hurts.

Just wondering

"He also confirmed that he only passed his test three months before and because of this was unlikely to drive again"

before what?  According to him, he hadn't done anything.

And of course, what happened next?

 

 

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Southy83 | 18 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

Bit of a shameless plug for my blog series about when I got knocked off a couple of years ago, which at present covers from the accident happening to the magistrates court where the driver was on trial.

Really need to get round to writing the bits post magistrates court in relation to the civil case.

http://tightwadcyclist.co.uk/hit-and-run/

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pmb1 replied to Southy83 | 5 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

Southy83 wrote:

Bit of a shameless plug for my blog series about when I got knocked off a couple of years ago, which at present covers from the accident happening to the magistrates court where the driver was on trial.

Really need to get round to writing the bits post magistrates court in relation to the civil case.

http://tightwadcyclist.co.uk/hit-and-run/

Your site isnt working  2

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wtjs replied to pmb1 | 3081 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

pmb1 wrote:

Your site isnt working  2

Agreed

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brooksby | 12196 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Quote:

Never assume a road incident is ‘too trivial’ to call in, because the research based on these records is critical for road design and the future safety of cyclists.

When I wandered into New Bridewell in Bristol to report being doored by a taxi passenger, the next day, the staff on the front desk told me it wasn't reportable because it was the next day and I hadn't phoned them at the time.

I explained that I hadn't felt it necessary to call them at the time, and I was too busy trying to straighten my brakes and wipe up blood off my leg.

Plus I hadn't got a registration number and the passenger in question apparently didn't speak English (the taxi had sped off, as far as one can in Bristol rush hour traffic).

I felt like I had to really push to get them to even make a note of it to add to their road stats (I'd accepted that there was nothing actually 'police-y' they could do about it).

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hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 12160 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

Never assume a road incident is ‘too trivial’ to call in, because the research based on these records is critical for road design and the future safety of cyclists.

When I wandered into New Bridewell in Bristol to report being doored by a taxi passenger, the next day, the staff on the front desk told me it wasn't reportable because it was the next day and I hadn't phoned them at the time.

I explained that I hadn't felt it necessary to call them at the time, and I was too busy trying to straighten my brakes and wipe up blood off my leg.

Plus I hadn't got a registration number and the passenger in question apparently didn't speak English (the taxi had sped off, as far as one can in Bristol rush hour traffic).

I felt like I had to really push to get them to even make a note of it to add to their road stats (I'd accepted that there was nothing actually 'police-y' they could do about it).

I'd recommend reporting that kind of thing online instead - quicker and you don't have to deal with front desk staff.

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brooksby replied to hawkinspeter | 12196 posts | 3 years ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

brooksby wrote:

Quote:

Never assume a road incident is ‘too trivial’ to call in, because the research based on these records is critical for road design and the future safety of cyclists.

When I wandered into New Bridewell in Bristol to report being doored by a taxi passenger, the next day, the staff on the front desk told me it wasn't reportable because it was the next day and I hadn't phoned them at the time.

I explained that I hadn't felt it necessary to call them at the time, and I was too busy trying to straighten my brakes and wipe up blood off my leg.

Plus I hadn't got a registration number and the passenger in question apparently didn't speak English (the taxi had sped off, as far as one can in Bristol rush hour traffic).

I felt like I had to really push to get them to even make a note of it to add to their road stats (I'd accepted that there was nothing actually 'police-y' they could do about it).

I'd recommend reporting that kind of thing online instead - quicker and you don't have to deal with front desk staff.

Well, I know that now...

I remember that I said to the desk jockey that surely they needed to know that this had happened, for their road safety stats etc, and she asked 'why?'.

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LastBoyScout | 756 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

When I got knocked off the motorbike last year, I didn't get any pictures of the scene/car involved, for a few reasons:

  • ambulance crew insisted on treating me first in case of any serious injuries (fair enough)
  • CCTV from local garage deleted before incompetent insurers requested it
  • Helpful driver with dash cam footage apparently vanished without giving contact details to me/police

Ambulance crew were pretty swift on scene, as had been attending another case nearby. By the time I'd made sure I was generally ok, bike wasn't about to burst into flames, the other driver was ok and I'd retrieved my bag with phone in, I was checked over by them.

I'd expected the policeman that turned up (again, just around the corner), to have done a bit more than just take 2 sets of details, hand it over to the insurers and wash his hands of it.

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Secret_squirrel | 3194 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

Question.  How do C-AMS differ from the Compensation culture driven Ambulance chasers that infest the Motor Insurance sector?

Genuinely asking - just because they represent cyclists - they also off a similar service for Drivers - doesn't mean they are angels.  Maybe they are, maybe they arent.

Anyone have any evidence either way?  Marginal claim turned down for example?

 

(Bitter because I got ambulance chased after I knocked over a pedestrian on my bike.  Too long a story for here)

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srchar | 2177 posts | 3 years ago
0 likes

No legal obligation for a cyclist to stop at the scene of an incident, never mind give their details.

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