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What should I do if I get into a collision while cycling?
A collision can be traumatic. If you get into one, try to stay calm and take your time to assess the situation. Do not get back on your bicycle right away.
What should I do?
If you or someone else is hurt, call 9-1-1 and follow the instructions the operator gives you.
If no one is hurt, call the local police for instructions. You should call the police even in the case of a minor injury. In Ontario, all accidents resulting in personal injury or in property damage of $1,000 or higher must be reported. Find information about your local police services from your municipality.
If it is safe, move your bicycle and other vehicles away from moving traffic.
Collision with a Motor Vehicle
Take down the following information:
- Driver's license number - This is the most important information to take down.
- Driver's name and telephone number.
- Driver's insurance company, contact information and policy number - Damage to your bicycle can be claimed under the insurance policy of the driver.
- Witness information - Get the name and phone number of a few persons who witnessed the collision.
It is also useful to note the details of the incident, such as how, when and where it happened, as well as the weather and road conditions. You can also sketch on paper the collision scene indicating the position and direction of the vehicles and cross streets. This will help you tell the police what happened.
If the driver leaves the scene immediately after the collision, take down the license plate number so that police can find the driver. Also, make sure to get the contact information of a few witnesses to help you make the police report.
If you are injured, seek medical care as soon as possible and make sure to keep copies of all medical reports as evidence. You can then make a claim under the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund.
In Ontario, you are entitled to no-fault benefits if you are cycling and hit by a motor vehicle. If you have auto insurance, you can claim no-fault benefits through your auto insurer even though you were on your bicycle. If you do not have auto insurance, you can claim benefits through the insurance policy of the owner of the vehicle that collided with you.
The process to make insurance claims in Ontario can be complicated. You can get a lawyer to advice you on what to do. Make sure you have eye witnesses and a medical report.
Collision Due to Faulty Public Infrastructure
If you feel that the fall or collision was due to faulty public infrastructure such as potholes, you can make claims to the municipal government within 7 days of the incident. Take photos of the scene, your bicycle and your injuries. Get an estimate on the cost of fixing your bicycle, and get a medical report if you have injuries. Then, contact your municipality.
After the Collision
You may underestimate the damage to your body after the collision. People often go into shock after an accident and can't think clearly. Get a doctor to examine you even if you don't see an injury or feel hurt.
You should also consider getting counseling after the collision.
For More Information
- Cycling and the Law: Know your Rights! [PDF] - A step-by-step guide on what to do if you are injured as a cyclist. From Cycle Toronto.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Vehicles - Find out more about Collision Reporting Centres and whether you need to go to one after a collision. From the Ministry of Transportation.
- Cycling and the Law - This webpage gives an overview of cycling laws and the fines for breaking them. From the Ministry of Transportation.
- Riding in Traffic - This webpage has information on how to ride safely around traffic. From the Ministry of Transportation.
- Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists - An advocacy group run by volunteers to provide information on cyclists' rights and protection. Their online library has information on injury claims and other matters.