I was trying to write up tag info for these two tags, and its hard to separate them. I've had a go but its not very good.

https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/tags/accidents/info and https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/tags/crash/info

Are they close enough that a crash IS an accident and vise versa ?

I see the distinction as being something like:

Accident: What happens before and up-to a collision. The road is icy/wet, you're blinded by oncoming lights or sunstrike, a motorist didn't see you coming and failed to give way, another cyclist was salmoning in your bike lane in the dark while wearing black at night with no lights.

Crash: you've hit something, be it the ground/road, a car, another cyclist, a rock/tree, or something squashy like a pedestrian or animal. At this point its all about reducing the damage to stuff and the injury to minimise healing time. You'd rather graze than cut, and bruise than break a bone. You want to not get run over by the rest of the bunch who were on your wheel.

Further - an accident could be avoided if something was different in the lead-up. A crash is the result of an accident and its about minimising not avoiding.

There was a meta discussion a year ago about Deleting the Accident tag but nothing changed.

Please suggest any improvements to the two tag descriptions.

  • "an accident could be avoided if something was different in the lead-up". Short of being hit by a meteor, there are no accidents. And even if there were, what would be the point of asking about something you can't anticipate and have no control over? Oct 14, 2022 at 0:21
  • @RayButterworth fair point - in the realm of cycling, I see an accident as avoidable up to some point, after which it becomes unavoidable and then turns into a crash. A meteor is pretty much always unavoidable. This was more about recognising a developing situation and pre-reacting (preacting?) to brake and avoid the collision, vs a second later when the car/bike cannot stop in the time remaining and there will be a collision, with "there has been a collision and items still have momentum - minimise injury and damage" You're right, distinction is kind-of splitting hairs, hence asking here.
    – Criggie Mod
    Oct 15, 2022 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


I think they're used to mean the same thing. Any question tagged "accidents" could also be tagged "crash". The tags should be merged and a synonym set up.

Cycling advocacy always avoids the word "accident", though, since it implies a lack of fault. All "accidents" are "crashes", but many "crashes" really are not "accidents".

I suggest that we ignore the relative tag popularity and move "accidents" into "crash".


Accident : An incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, possible damage or injury may occur. An event that happens by chance without apparent or deliberate cause

Synonyms : Mishap, Misadventure, Calamity

Crash : Collide violently with an obstacle or another vehicle A sudden loud noise

Synonyms : Smash, Bump, Crashed

Both should be kept separate in my opinion


Accident Definition

Crash Definition

  • I don't think the dictionary definitions are relevant here. Common usage around cyclists and roads is that "crash", "collision", and "accident" are all terms for the same incidents. Anybody trying to tag a question with one term could equally use the other term.
    – freiheit
    Jul 22, 2019 at 3:52
  • I beg to differ, one can have many accidents on a bike without necessarily crashing,
    – Dan K
    Jul 22, 2019 at 5:41
  • This isn't about the use of the word "accident" in general, it's about the use of the tag. When I look at usage of the accidents tag on our site it's clear that the majority of those questions are about crashes (actual crashes, potential crashes, avoiding crashes).
    – freiheit
    Jul 22, 2019 at 20:23

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