Monday, July 18, 2011

Personal Experience Of Being Hit By A Car ...

We all know that cycling carries with it an inherent risk.

Although statistically, cyclists are rarely at fault, when you have a collision, it is almost always the cyclist comes off worst. I have read, tweeted and blogged about cycling accidents - and fatalities - in London, but ne actually experienced it myself until Saturday evening just passed.

On my way back from the brilliant Shoreditch Festival, where I was volunteering as a Safety Marshal, I was cycling to Waterloo Station to catch my train home, along Hopton Street, when an stationary car (with a minicab logo in his back window) without looking or indicating, decided to do a u-turn - just as I was slowly overtaking him. I was thrown clear, just before he ran over my cycle.

I came round after a few minutes with a group of people taking caring of me in the middle of the road. Thankfully there were half-a-dozen witnesses who all came rushing over, including a wonderfully strict teacher called Kim, and a doctor from Indianapolis (on vacation) called Roger.

Then it all got a bit blurry - ambulance, police, etc. I was eventually discharged from St Thomas' Hospital with thankfully no breaks or fractures.

So, I'm in one piece, shocked, sore, bruised and battered, with my pride and joy - what's left of it - locked up in storage at a police station. It's my first experience of being ran into. To be honest there's a gap of five or ten minutes that I can't account for, but I recall the rest quite clearly.

So what happens now?

My Claud Butler getting a check
from the Dr. Bike guys at
The London Green Fair
My main concern is my bike. Compensation is straightforward if you've bought a bike from a shop and have a receipt. Mine's not like that. I've spent countless hours building and rebuilding my dream ride, obtaining parts by swapping, bits from cycle fairs, other bits from other places. The frame - an English hand-made Claud Butler - was given to me. So how do I account for that? I have photos, sure, lots of them - but with minimal paperwork, I'm not looking forward to the haggling process.

I'm concerned that frankly I'm going to get screwed on compensation for the cycle because the legal/insurance system may not be able to reasonably assess the value of this kind of machine.

Any legal eagles out there have any suggestions?


Post Script: Collected the cycle from Walworth Police Station (thank you, guys!) : Remember, I was riding this just before it went UNDER the car wheels...