What are an uninsured bicyclist’s legal liabilities and responsibilities in England who accidentally runs into thus leaving a minor scratch on an empty parked car?

In case of a motorist who is required to maintain insurance it is a criminal offence not to exchange insurance details, but what are the legal responsibilities of an uninsured cyclist for avoiding criminal liability? Surely the criminal statutory requirement most typically of motorists to exchange insurance details doesn’t apply… is this in fact correct? Or are there requirements to leave a means of contact or service and corresponding criminal offences that apply?

And then what are the ultimate civil obligations? Is one civilly liable for the cost of repair?

1 Answer 1


According to Rule 286 of the Highway Code then the actual legal requirement doesn't mention an exchange of insurance details.

If you are involved in a collision which causes damage or injury to any other person, vehicle, animal or property, you MUST


give your own and the vehicle owner’s name and address, and the registration number of the vehicle, to anyone having reasonable grounds for requiring them

While you clearly can't provide the registration number of a bicycle, the other details still appear to be legally required.

Note that the section on Rules for cyclists specifically states that

These rules are in addition to those in the following sections, which apply to all vehicles (except the motorway section).

  • 2
    Okay, so this is a legal requirement. Presumably one must give name and address for them to be able to serve you civil process for settlement of liability for the cost of repair. But once they have the name and address then the liability becomes solely civil? Also, what penalties are there for not complying with the requirement to provide the name and address? Commented May 8, 2022 at 20:52
  • @JoshuaP once you give them your details, yes, it ceases to be a criminal matter. It would be impossible to go to jail for that unless you did something separate that was criminal, like write a bad check... or get contempt of court due to brazen refusal to comply with a civil order. Commented May 8, 2022 at 23:51
  • @Harper-ReinstateUkraine do you know what possible penalties can there be for failing to comply with rule 286? Commented May 9, 2022 at 9:46
  • 1
    It's worth noting that a (pedal) bicycle doesn't count as a "mechanically propelled vehicle" for purposes of S.170 - it's a "carriage" instead. Even, confusingly, "electrically assisted" pedal cycles! Commented May 9, 2022 at 10:26
  • 1
    S.170 was amended to replace "motor vehicle" with "mechanically propelled vehicle", so it has never applied to bikes. S.189(c) specifically excludes electrically-assisted pedal cycles. Rule 286 relies on S170, so this answer appears to be actually wrong. Commented May 9, 2022 at 12:30

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