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Injuries to cyclists from road accidents are on the rise. Due to the increasing popularity of cycling in the UK and persisting road safety issues, thousands of cyclists are injured and over a hundred are killed every year. However, cycling laws often aren't as widely known as laws for drivers.
Our solicitors have considerable experience of cycling accident claims arising from collisions that could have been avoided. Some of the questions we’re frequently asked include:
As a cyclist, you’re more vulnerable to injury on the road and will no doubt take a number of defensive strategies while out and about. However, sometimes no amount of safety precautions can protect you from a reckless driver or poorly maintained roads.
The most common causes of collisions that our lawyers deal with are when a motorist:
Cyclists are especially at risk when larger vehicles are manoeuvring into junctions, due to vehicle design and sight lines.
You could also suffer injury as a result of poor road junction design, or inadequate road surface maintenance. In these cases, you may be able to take legal action against local or highway authorities.
Following an accident, it's important to take the correct steps to ensure your own safety, report the accident, and to exchange basic information with everyone involved.
As a cyclist, you have the same rights as other road users in road traffic accidents. If you’ve suffered injury or loss as a result of the following, you may be entitled to compensation:
If you're not sure whether or not you'll be able to claim, contact us today on 0800 056 4110 for a free initial consultation or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.
To recover damages following a cycling accident, it must be proven that someone has driven below the acceptable standard for an ordinarily considerate motorist. The driver does not necessarily have to have been convicted of a criminal offence, though that does help in proving liability.
Where the road surface was the cause and not another driver, it must be proven that road maintenance standards have fallen below required levels set out in law.
In any event, you should report your accident to the police as soon as possible.
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If a driver was at fault in your accident but they were uninsured or cannot be traced then you may be able to seek compensation from a specialist insurance scheme operated by the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). The MIB will attempt to confirm the identity of those involved and assess whether compensation can be paid – and by who. If the person responsible can't be traced, the MIB will pay your compensation - a proportion of everybody's annual motor insurance premiums are put into a pool by the MIB to cover situations like this.
It's an unfortunate fact that drivers can sometimes be openly hostile to cyclists. If an incident that led to an injury was deliberately caused, for example in a road rage incident, then you may be able to make an application for damages under the government-operated Criminal Injuries scheme. Click here for more information.
There is no legal requirement in England, Wales or Scotland for a cyclist to wear a helmet, even though the Highway Code encourages their use.
There is also no law that says failing to wear a helmet leads to a reduction in compensation if the accident led to a head injury.
Although not wearing a helmet doesn't stop you from claiming compensation, it’s still a factor that could be taken into account when the amount of compensation you receive is being decided.
It's a legal requirement that bicycles have front white and red rear lights switched on when it's dark, as well as a red rear reflector. If the bike was manufactured after 1 October 1985, it must also have amber pedal reflectors.
Failing to have proper lights and reflectors can reduce visibility of your bike in the dark or in poor weather conditions. If the incident occurred at night, or at a time when weather conditions caused poor visibility and you didn’t have lights switched on, then compensation payments may be reduced to reflect this if it was a factor in the accident.
Although lights are a legal requirement when riding in darkness, hi-visibility clothing is not. However, failing to wear hi-vis clothing can still reduce the visibility of a cyclist at night or in poor weather, and if this was a factor in the accident then a court could take this into account.
However, if your bike is properly fitted with the required lights (see above), then a lack of hi-vis should not affect your compensation, as lights should make you visible to a motorist driving with reasonable care.
Most of the cycling injury claims we handle are on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that there's nothing for you to pay upfront, and that you won’t have to pay any legal fees if your claim isn’t successful*.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a cycling accident, call us today on 0800 056 4110 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation about your case.
The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.
* Subject to entering into a ‘No Win No Fee’ agreement in conjunction with our Allianz Litigate insurance policy and complying with your responsibilities under its terms.
All Scottish cases will be handled by the Scottish law firm with which we’re associated, Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP. The law relating to funding is different in Scotland and you’ll receive separate advice about what that means as well as a separate funding agreement.
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