Advice after cycling accident, please?

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Wednesday 17 September 2008 11.28am
I am livid. This morning, as I was cycling northbound on the cycling lane on Southwark Bridge, as I reached the bus stop where the cycling lane is no longer physically separated from the traffic lane by blocks of concrete, the passenger of a cab open the door on me. I violently crashed in the door and although quite shocked, I am thankfull I am only badly bruised on my left leg. However, my bike has been damaged and needs to be repaired. The cab driver said it was a rented cab and gave me the name of the company owing the cab. Once I called them, the cab driver had already advised them it was my fault for overtaking him, so they won't give their insurance company name. I am really angered that I did not call the police like my boyfirend advised. He is the only witness of the accident. How should I go about claiming? Should I report it to the police, even after the event? There may have been cameras on the bridge but I don't know if they would let me have access to that...
Wednesday 17 September 2008 11.45am
You should visit a police station immediately and fill out the road traffic accident form. I think it is meant to be filled in within 48hrs of the accident.

On the form there is space to draw and describe the accident scene, and any witnesses, weather conditions etc. It greatly helps if you have the registration number of the vehicle. There is even space to describe the driver's appearance if you do not have his name. It also asks if you are injured in any way and you should definitely note down your symptoms even if you think they're not serious.

As far as I know it is against the law not to provide insurance details but you can check this with the police officer.

It can take some weeks for them to process this form, but what I believe they will do as part of this is contact the registered owner and also the insurer via the DVLA and national insurance database records.

Whether or not you were overtaking the cab is likely to be totally irrelevant and anyway it is a matter for the police to decide.

Good luck!
Wednesday 17 September 2008 11.47am
P.s. I think that bridge is City of London Police territory (not Met Police) but you could call one of their stations and check....

Oh and I'm not a lawyer - just friendly advice from a cyclist (and driver).
Wednesday 17 September 2008 12.53pm
You can also contact your insurance company and have them do most of the work for you.
Wednesday 17 September 2008 1.12pm
You should also talk to the Public Carriage Office who licence all cabs and drivers. They are pretty pro the trade but are rquired to give you the information you require.
Wednesday 17 September 2008 2.13pm
Connie,
sorry to hear you were hurt.
Now let's look at this incident;
Which vehicle was stationary? The taxi. Which vehicle was moving? The bicycle.
So, who is to blame? the stationary vehicle, or the vehicle that was moving?
My understanding is, that in traffic law ( I am not a road traffic solicitor) the moving vehicle in events like this is usually at fault.
My advice to cyclists is to leave enough space to allow car doors to open, especially taxi doors, as they are often used by people who don't drive, and who are not as aware of traffic as other road users.
Good luck with your action against the passenger of the taxi who opened the door, although you may find you will be held responsible for causing the damage to the door.
Wednesday 17 September 2008 2.34pm
If Connie was overtaking a stationary cab then there would be a duty of care on the passenger who opened the door. On the other hand it sounds as if someone got out to cross the road, and what is on the other side? A large firm of solicitors, take care!
Wednesday 17 September 2008 2.44pm
I have to agree with Graham, if you were undertaking then it's probably a closed case that it's your fault, if you actually overtook then blame would most likely be 50 - 50 (careless passenger and you too close to the taxi) and finding the passenger would be impossible. I imagine this one has to go down to experience
Wednesday 17 September 2008 3.25pm
If you were in a cycle lane (whether or not there is a physical boundary between you and the cars), you are allowed to cycle past cars. That is what cycle lanes are for. It is not undertaking, it is just where cycle lanes are always put.

Opening a car door into traffic and hitting someone (whether that person is a cyclist, motor cyclist, another vehicle, or a pedestrian) is not okay. I assume the taxi company will have insurance which will cover them in this instance. They dropped a passenger off at this point and thus were at least a part of the cause of the fact that the door was opened into a separate lane of moving traffic.

Of course it is advisable to allow extra space for people to open their doors, but cycle lanes are rarely wide enough to do this. If you were in a cycle lane I think that a lot of the comments made above are not applicable to this particular situation. I guess in most road traffic situations the moving vehicle is always at fault, but there's no point generalising to the point where what you're saying is no longer applicable. After all, although the taxi wasn't driving along, the car door did move. It's not as if Connie just swerved and cycled into a car which was just sitting there empty.

I'm really sorry you got hurt Connie. This nearly happened to me the other day and it's very scary. You should definitely get in touch with the police; I'm sure they could tell you the best way to proceed and what the law is in this particular situation. You should also go to your GP and get your injuries on record. If you have the taxi's registration plate then that should be enough to go on. I hope you get it sorted out.
Wednesday 17 September 2008 6.54pm
From experience that a friend had, you will get little help with the police, unless you have independent witnesses. He said that they were not interested, and he was knocked off and broke his hip. He's now pursuing them privately. He had the reg number too, and the police said that it was just his word against the drivers. You have to try of course, but just to set your expectations.
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