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How to report an accident

What should you do in the case of a cycle accident?

We often get asked by our members what procedures should be followed in the case of an accident. This is what you should do:

Essential steps at the scene of the accident
  • Call the police (flying squad number 10111) and the emergency 24-hour service at 112 toll free from mobile.
  • Co-operate with all law enforcement and emergency personnel who respond to the scene.
  • If you are able to do so, record as much information as possible.  Most importantly, take down:
    • a description and the number plates of all vehicles involved in the incident;
    • the drivers’ names and identity numbers, addresses and telephone numbers;
    • the date, times and address of the collision; and
    • the names, identity numbers, addresses and phone numbers of all potential witnesses.
  • If you are able, use your phone to take photos of the following:
    • the scene of the accident, from all angles;
    • the surrounding area;
    • the injuries sustained;
    • any damage to vehicles and bicycles; and
    • the position of the bicycle and motor vehicle in relation to one another after the accident.
  • Draw a sketch plan of the scene and make sure that it contains a fixed point so that it can easily be traced.
  • If you have been injured, consult a doctor immediately even if you think that the injury is not serious.
  • Do not subject yourself to further injury by standing or waiting in an area near traffic or other safety hazards.
  • Keep a copy of any GPS record of your cycling activity in advance of the accident, together with any GoPro or similar footage.
  • Check whether any other driver or witness has any footage and ask for a copy.

Driver’s responsibilities
  • Drivers are also under an obligation to co-operate with all law enforcement and emergency personnel who respond to the scene.
  • Drivers may not move their vehicles unless it is necessary for safety or required by law.
  • Drivers may not leave the scene of an accident until the police allow this.
  • Drivers may not throw away any potential evidence such important documents or torn or blood-stained clothing.

After the accident
  • Report the accident to:
    • the police (unless the police made a report at the scene).  Make sure that you get the case number from the police as well as the name of the officer to whom the accident is reported.
    • Western Cape authorities at http://safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za/reporter.
    • Email PPA
    • We cannot stress how important it is to ensure that all cycling accidents/incidents are reported to the police:
      • Insurers will often require a report before they will pay out.
      • Police statistics and action are also entirely dependent on accidents being reported.
      • Subsequent prosecution is heavily reliant on police investigation.

Insist that the police receive and record your report.  The officer at the front desk may not regard it as important, but it is.

  • Follow up with the police to ensure that they are undertaking the necessary investigations.
    • A person has a right to claim compensation for damages from the Road Accident Fund (the RAF).  The RAF compensates a victim of a road accident for bodily injury sustained as a result of the negligence of another driver.  In the event of death, it compensates dependents for their loss of support (where the deceased was a breadwinner).
    • A cyclist injured in an accident may therefore have a claim against the RAF.  There is no claim against the driver for damages arising out of bodily injuries sustained.
    • The RAF will cover certain hospital and medical expenses as well as loss of earnings (subject to conditions and requirements).
    • The RAF will not cover damage to your bicycle (or any other property).  The RAF also does not award general damages for pain and suffering unless the injury is of a serious nature.
    • Contact an attorney to investigate possible claims against the RAF.  Some attorneys will be prepared to take your case on a no-win, no-fee basis.
    • To recover the costs of repairing your bicycle, you will have to claim from your own insurance or the person who caused the accident.
    • If you have a claim for less than R12 000, you may pursue your claim in the Small Claims Court.  You do not require an attorney to represent you in the Small Claims Court.
    • If you want to claim more than R12 000, you will have to pursue your claim in the Magistrate’s Court or High Court with the assistance of an attorney.
    • There is the potential that a claim may lie against you as the cyclist if you were responsible for the accident and this resulted in injury, damage or death.  If you have insurance that covers your liability as a cyclist in these circumstances, you will need to notify your insurer.  You may also wish to investigate taking out insurance that covers this type of risk.
    • The PPA may be able to assist with a private prosecution, depending on the nature of the accident and the approach of the police and the prosecuting authorities.

How do you know if the other driver was wrongful/negligent?
 

These are some examples of negligent driving:

  • Failing to obey the 1m passing distance law
  • Driving at an excessive speed or in excess of the speed limit
  • Failing to keep a proper look-out
  • Failing to keep the vehicle under proper control
  • Drinking and driving
  • Using their cell phones whilst driving
  • Cutting across your path of travel at an inopportune moment
  • Failing to stop at a stop sign or, when facing a red traffic light
  • Failing to yield to oncoming traffic
  • Colliding with you from behind
  • Opening a door of a stationary motor vehicle at an inopportune moment

 

And lastly:

  • A bicycle is regarded as a vehicle in the eyes of the law. Bicycles are therefore subject to all road rules and regulations, including stopping at stop streets and red lights.
  • You may not cycle on a freeway.

20 November 2013
WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL ROAD TRAFFIC ADMINISTRATION ACT, 2012 (ACT 6 OF 2012):
SAFETY OF CYCLISTS REGULATIONS, 2013
The Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works in the Western Cape, under section 8(1)(c) of the Western Cape Provincial Road Traffic
Administration Act, 2012 (Act 6 of 2012), has made the regulations set out in the Schedule.
SCHEDULE
Definitions
1. In these regulations, any word or expression defined in the National Road Traffic Act, 1996 (Act 93 of 1996), or theWestern Cape Provincial Road
Traffic Administration Act, 2012 (Act 6 of 2012), has the same meaning and, unless the context indicates otherwise— ‘‘cyclist’’ means a person who rides or attempts to ride a pedal cycle; ‘‘National Regulations’’ means the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000; ‘‘pedal cycle lane’’means any area forming part of a public road and which has been designated by the appropriate road traffic sign or road marking for the exclusive use of cyclists.

Duties of driver of motor vehicle when passing cyclists
2. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle who passes a cyclist on a public road must—
(a) exercise due care while passing the cyclist;
(b) leave a distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist of at least one metre; and
(c) maintain that distance from the cyclist until safely clear of the cyclist.

(2) Despite any solid barrier line or other road traffic sign prohibiting encroachment upon the right-hand side of the road, the driver of a motor vehicle on a public road may, where the roadway is not wide enough to comply with subregulation (1)(b) or (c) when passing a cyclist, encroach on that part of the road to his or her right, but only if—
(a) it can be done without obstructing or endangering other persons or vehicles;
(b) it is safe to do so; and
(c) it can be done and is done for a period and distance not longer than is necessary to pass the cyclist.

Duties of cyclists
3. (1) A cyclist riding on a public road must—
(a) if the road has a pedal cycle lane, ride only in the pedal cycle lane and may not ride on any other portion of a public road except when crossing the road; or
(b) if there is no pedal cycle lane, ride—
(i) to the left of the left edge of the roadway; or
(ii) on the roadway, keeping as close as practicable to the left edge of the roadway.

(2) When riding on a public road, a cyclist must—
(a) give conspicuous driving signals as contemplated in regulation 300 and Part II of Chapter X of the National Regulations; and
(b) stop in the circumstances contemplated in regulation 307 of the National Regulations.

(3) A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road—
(a) on the right-hand side of a motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that motor vehicle or turning right at an intersection;
(b) abreast of another cyclist proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that cyclist;
(c) while wearing a headset, headphones or any listening device other than a hearing aid; or
(d) while carrying another person on the pedal cycle, unless that pedal cycle is specifically equipped to carry more than one person.

(4) A cyclist must exercise due care while—
(a) passing a motor vehicle or turning right in the circumstances described in subregulation (3)(a); or
(b) passing another cyclist in the circumstances described in subregulation (3)(b).

Lamps and reflectors on pedal cycles
4. (1) A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road or pedal cycle lane during the period between sunset and sunrise unless—
(a) the pedal cycle is fitted in the front with a head lamp capable of emitting a white light in accordance with regulations 158 and 178 of the National Regulations;
(b) the pedal cycle is fitted at the rear with a rear lamp capable of emitting a red light in accordance with regulations 158 and 178 of the National Regulations; and
(c) the head lamp and rear lamp are kept lighted.

(2) A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road or pedal cycle lane at any other time when, due to insufficient light or unfavourable weather conditions, persons or vehicles on the public road or pedal cycle lane are not clearly discernible at a distance of 150 metres, unless the head lamp and rear lamp are kept lighted.

(3) A person may not ride a pedal cycle on a public road or pedal cycle lane unless—
(a) the pedal cycle is fitted on the front with a white retro-reflector in accordance with regulation 186(3) of the National Regulations; and
(b) the pedal cycle is fitted on the rear with a red retro-reflector in accordance with regulation 187(4) of the National Regulations.

Races and sporting events for cyclists on public roads
5. The Minister or the local authority concerned, as the case may be, may, in granting consent in terms of regulation 317(2) of the National Regulations in respect of a pedal cycle race or pedal cycle sporting event on a public road, exempt any person, or category of persons, taking part in that race or event from any provision of these regulations.

Offences and penalties
6. Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any provision of these regulations commits an offence, and on conviction is liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.

Short title
7. These regulations are called the Safety of Cyclists Regulations, 2013.