What to do after a motorcycle accident - a practical guide

Motorcycle handlebars and throttle
  • Stay calm and consider your immediate safety. Get out of the road and call for help if needed. “Recognise your limitations and get the help you need,” the Institute of Advanced Motorists Recommend. “If someone is injured, and you’re unsure what to do, dial 999.”
  • Don’t remove a rider’s helmet unless you’re trained to do so, or the wearer isn’t breathing.
  • Where it’s safe to do so, warn oncoming traffic of the accident.
  • Call 999 immediately if anyone is injured, or if the collision has caused a hazardous situation. You should also call the police if someone leaves the scene without exchanging details. If you're unsure about whether you should call the police - make the call. The police don't usually attend road traffic accidents where there are no injuries but it is still worth reporting the incident.
  • If the accident is serious, don’t move anything unless absolutely necessary. Where it is safe to do so, take photos to show where vehicles came to rest, and of any contributing road defect and damage to vehicles. Sketch the scene if possible and get details of any witnesses.
  • On-scene admissions of fact, such as ‘I didn’t see you,’ can be important, especially if they are independently witnessed. You’d be surprised how quickly recollections of where vehicles end up can change – photos taken at the time are a great way of preserving evidence. If you don’t have a camera, try to write down your version of events, and prepare a sketch as soon as you can afterwards.
  • Exchange details with all parties involved. Legally parties must provide registration numbers, names and addresses. Make sure you check the registration number written down with the vehicle. It’s also worthwhile trying to get a telephone number. If there is a reason why you can’t exchange details, you are under a duty to report the incident to the police within 24 hours.
  • If you think the other party’s driving was impaired, for example by drink or phone use, call the police.
  • Also call the police if the other party fails to provide their details. Failing to stop at an accident where injury or damage has occurred is an offence.
  • You must notify your insurance company immediately of any collision you are involved in, regardless of whether or not a claim is to be made or whose fault it was. Give them all the details, notes, photographs etc. The company may refuse to insure you if you have not notified them of the accident within the time period set out in the policy.