Whether you’re a biker or are involved in an accident with one, here are some pointers to help you handle the situation.
Like with a car accident, you could be committing an offence if you leave the scene of a crash you’re involved in before fulfilling certain obligations.
If the situation has created a hazard for other people or traffic, or if someone’s injured, then you should call the police on 999 straight away.
You should also call if someone else who's involved has left the scene without exchanging details.
Emotions tend to run high after an accident, but it’s important to stay as calm as possible.
Getting angry or starting an argument won’t help, and can potentially alienate witnesses.
Not losing your temper and staying in control will also have a calming effect on those around you.
Check for injuries
After an accident the most important thing to do is make sure no one, including yourself, is seriously hurt, and to remove any new or additional dangers.
As with all first aid, it’s crucial to assess the situation before doing anything else. If you're going to put yourself at risk by tending to the injured, then don’t.
Next you should check anyone injured for responsiveness, simply by talking to them. If they respond normally, talk to them calmly until the emergency services arrive.
If a motorcyclist is injured at the scene, you should not take off their helmet – it’s dangerous as you don’t know if they’ve sustained head injuries.
You should leave it on unless they’ve stopped breathing, in which case remove the helmet carefully and perform CPR, as this overrides any concerns relating to head or spinal injuries.
If the injured person is unconscious, you should ensure that their airway is clear, that they’re breathing, and check their circulation.
To find out how to do this read the Life Saving Procedures page on the St John Ambulance website.
Make the scene safe
After a crash, once everybody is safe, you should turn off engines, switch on hazard lights, and try as much as possible to warn oncoming traffic of the incident.
Those involved in the accident should exchange details. It's required by law, and will be invaluable later if you need to make a claim.
You should aim to get a name and address, contact number, and any insurance details they have to hand.
Take a note of the make, model, registration and colour of all vehicles involved. If one of the drivers has rented or borrowed their car then get the name and the address of the owner.
If someone involved in the accident refuses to give you their details, then it's best to call the police.
Try as much as possible to get any witnesses to give you their details, as they may prove very useful when you need claim or report to the police.
Make further notes about the accident
Any further notes you can make about how the accident happened could help you later on, when you need to make a claim.
If you have a camera, take plenty of pictures of the scene. Try to get a street name, junction sign or distinctive landmark into one of the shots, so that the location is easily identifiable.
If the state of the road was a factor in the accident, e.g. if it caused the bike to skid, take photos of it to use as evidence.
Under the terms of most motorcycle insurance policies, you should report an accident as soon as it’s safe to do so. They will then create a record and instruct you on what happens next.
Keeping premiums down after an accident
After an accident, insurers may consider you a greater risk, and so hike up your premiums.
If you find insurance costs too much after an accident, you could try adjusting your voluntary excess or level of cover, which could bring prices down.
Prevention is better than cure
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) has a useful guide full of tips on how you can avoid the five most common motorcycle accidents.