an accident between a car and a motorcycle

What Happens if You Accidentally Hit a Motorcyclist?

February 27, 2024

Accidents happen, even to the most cautious of drivers  - however, when an accident involves a motorcyclist, the stakes are inherently higher due to the vulnerability of bikers compared to car occupants. So - if you do happen to find yourself in the unfortunate position of having accidentally hit a motorcyclist, it's essential to know the steps to take; not only to comply with the law in the UK, but also to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties involved. Here’s our detailed and comprehensive guide on what to do.

Assessing the Situation

Safety always comes first, so the first step you’ll want to take is quickly but calmly assess the situation; begin by ensuring your vehicle is no longer a hazard to other road users, and if possible, move it to the side of the road. However, your primary concern should be the safety of the motorcyclist: approach them to assess their condition but don’t attempt to move them unless there is an immediate danger, as this could exacerbate their injuries.

Calling Emergency Services

If the motorcyclist is injured or unresponsive, you’ll need to call emergency services immediately. Getting help quickly can be crucial; even if the injuries do not seem severe at first glance, remember that shock can often mask pain, and internal injuries are not always immediately apparent.

Exchanging Information

Once you’ve ensured that emergency services are on their way (if needed) and both parties are in a safe location, you’ll need to proceed to exchange details with the motorcyclist. This includes your name, address, contact number, and insurance details. Even in the shock of the moment - and even if the motorcyclist appears hostile, try to remain calm and cooperative.

Reporting the Accident

When it comes to the law and motorcycle accidents, know that you’ll need to report the accident to the police if it involves injury or significant damage. This is a legal requirement, and failure to do so can result in serious repercussions. Reporting a motorcycle accident also creates an official record, which will be important for insurance claims and any potential legal proceedings.

Documenting the Scene

Like with any other type of accident, you’ll want to take photographs of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles involved, any visible damage, and road conditions. This documentation can prove invaluable later on, providing evidence that can help clarify the circumstances of the accident, particularly if you need to claim that you weren’t at fault.

Cooperating with Authorities

overturned motorcycle and helmet on the street after collision with the car

When the authorities or emergency services arrive, make sure to cooperate fully with their enquiries; this means providing an honest account of what happened, but avoiding making any admissions of guilt at the scene. The determination of fault is a complex process that takes into account all available evidence, and anything you might say at the scene could end up compromising your claim later on in the process.  

Contacting Your Insurance Provider

Next up, you’ll want to notify your insurance provider about the accident as soon as possible. Your provider will be able to guide you through the process of making a claim, whether this includes repairs to your vehicle or addressing any claims made by the motorcyclist. Given that you’re also dealing with a motorcycle accident, they’ll usually be able to offer specific advice about different types of motorcycle accidents, and what each can mean for the process.

Insurance Adjustments and Premiums

Finally, it’s important to note that your insurance premium may increase as a result of the accident, especially if you are found to be at fault. The exact impact on your premium will depend on your insurance provider, your policy details, and any no-claims bonus you may have, so this is why speaking with your insurer should be top on your priority list after an accident.

Ultimately, there’s no two ways about it - accidentally hitting a motorcyclist is a serious matter that requires immediate and appropriate action. By following these steps, you can ensure that you fulfill your legal obligations, provide necessary assistance to the motorcyclist, and begin the process of dealing with the aftermath of the accident. Remember, the key to managing such situations is staying calm, being cooperative, and taking responsible actions to address the incident.


What if I didn’t see the motorcyclist until it was too late?

Limited visibility is a common issue in accidents involving motorcycles, so it’s important to explain the circumstances to the police and your insurance provider accurately. However, all drivers have a duty to be aware of their surroundings, so this situation might not absolve you of fault or responsibility.

Can I be sued if the motorcyclist was at fault?

Yes, you can still be sued even if you believe the motorcyclist was at fault; fault is typically determined through evidence and legal proceedings, with the claim going in favour of the stronger case. Make sure you have comprehensive documentation and seek legal advice if you are sued by a motorcyclist or any other driver after a road accident.

What happens if the motorcyclist doesn’t have insurance?

If the motorcyclist doesn’t have insurance, you should still follow all the steps outlined, including reporting the accident to the police and your insurance provider. Uninsured cases may be more complicated, but your insurance company and legal advisor will be able to guide you through the process.

Should I offer to pay for damages at the scene?

It’s advisable not to offer payment at the scene; not only could offering payment beinterpreted as an admission of guilt, but any compensation should be handled through your insurance provider to ensure all legal and procedural requirements are met.