Here’s what you should do if you are involved in an accident caused by component failure.
Medical attention should be your first priority. Dismounting due to component failure can often involve landing forcefully on the head, face and shoulder. If anything is displaced or if you are concussed, you should call an ambulance for assistance.
Head injuries can be difficult to notice and are even missed in A & E from time to time, so if you’re feeling unsteady, nauseous, bewildered then time is everything. Don’t take the chance putting it off until tomorrow, there may not be one.
There are some basic precautions to take with regard to any new or reasonably new bike which has been bought from a shop or even second hand from a private seller.
Keep a maintenance diary of when you do anything other than washing it. Although cleaning a bike amounts to a visual inspection because of the close attention which cleaning demands. The usual periodic things: brake and gear cable adjustment, checking the tightness of bars, stem, cranks, headset. If you can afford a bike costing four figures, then a torque wrench measuring bicycle torques won’t hurt. How else are you going to get the correct settings?
The reason for this is to show that the bike was correctly maintained, and the components fitted correctly, so the machine shouldn’t have failed. If the victim of component failure can show this, then what more can be done? If instead you have your bike serviced professionally, keep the receipts. There’s a leading Court of Appeal case on this which was won because the claimant could demonstrate just that.
After a component failure, do not under any circumstances part with the bike (or the failed component). That’s the main piece of evidence and it mustn’t be lost. Take professional advice from the Helpline. If an assessment is required go to a rival supplier with a Cytech workshop accreditation. Do not authorize destructive or even dismantling; just a visual and image report.