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Road traffic accidents (RTAs) involving pedestrians and cyclists are very common but can be extremely dangerous. This is due to the speeds involved and the fact that they have little or no protection from being injured if an impact occurs. Pedestrians and cyclists are classed as vulnerable road users and motorists owe a large duty of care to them. Common injuries may consist of fractured arms, legs, soft tissue injuries and scarring. Such injuries could have long-lasting, life-changing effects.
I’ve had a road traffic accident whilst riding my bike. Am I entitled to claim?
Cyclists are entitled to claim for personal injury in event of an accident. On the whole, cyclists tend to assume the position of claimant in personal injury claims due to increased vulnerability when compared to motorists and motorcyclists. Although cyclists share the same rights to claim as other road users, cyclists also share a duty of care to other vehicles and pedestrians.
The Highway Code tends to put a greater duty of care on the car driver with regard to cyclists and advises the following:
Whilst the Highway Code is not law, it is considered to be the best authority in determining the most appropriate way to approach road use in the UK.
If you are a cyclist involved in an accident and you feel as though the breach of these rules by the third party was a direct cause of your injury, then it is likely that you will be able to make a claim for personal injury and any other associated losses.
I was hit whilst crossing the road. Do I have a claim?
Fast-moving vehicles, whether it be a car, van or lorry, could be seen as a dangerous weapon. So, the duty of care often falls more heavily on the vehicle driver than it does the pedestrian for the obvious reason that metal is harder than skin. So, it is likely that if you were hit by a car you have a personal injury claim.
Whilst in some situations liability can be apportioned on a split liability basis, it can often be more favourable to the injured pedestrian. However; this does not warrant carelessness by the pedestrian and there is still an expectation that pedestrians adhere to the Highway Code:
Why choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?
Oakwood Solicitors has been dealing with personal injury claims caused by road traffic accidents since 2001. Many of our Solicitors and paralegals have been with us for over ten years, already having experience when they joined us.
We deal with claims that range between one thousand and hundreds of thousands of pounds, many of which will involve extensive claims for various kinds of expenses.
When you instruct us, you can expect a friendly, down to earth approach, together with an extensive knowledge of the field which will be used to fight tenaciously with the insurers to achieve the maximum level of compensation possible for you.
We are able to act for you on a no-win, no-fee basis, meaning that there is no risk to you, and you will not be charged if your pedestrian/cyclist injury claim is unsuccessful.
What is the likelihood of me, the cyclist, being at fault?
The driver of a motorised vehicle tends to have a greater duty of care, yet, a cyclist can still be to blame for an accident. In fact, there are guidelines for which cyclists have to abide by also. These guidelines can be found in relevant case law such as Clenshaw v Tanner as well as other places like the Highway Code.
In the Clenshaw case, the cyclist was proceeding in the cycle lane at a greater speed than the heavy traffic to its right; when a breakdown recovery vehicle turned left into a petrol station resulting in the cyclist colliding with the back of the vehicle. The Court of Appeal supported the previous judge’s decision of 50/50 Split Liability, and the Jude said the following:
“Although I accept of course that a cyclist is more vulnerable than a lorry driver should any collision occur, any cyclist who is taking reasonable care for his own safety knows that any vehicle turning left in front of him will endanger him and they should, therefore, keep a particularly careful lookout.”
Cyclists have also been found to be at fault in cases such as Richards v Quinton where 75% of the liability was apportioned to the cyclist travelling the wrong way down a cycle lane and colliding with a driver pulling out of his drive. This again shows that although cyclists are far more vulnerable, they still are held accountable for unreasonable negligence.
That said, there are many claims for cyclists that are successful, either in part or in full. For more information about how liability is established in a claim, visit our Road Traffic Accident general page.
You may also find some useful information on our Liability Disputes page to help you to understand what sort of evidence is required to prove your case.
What if I have an accident but was not wearing a helmet?
Studies find that wearing a cycle helmet reduces your chance of serious head injury by 70%. However, failing to wear a helmet does not go towards contributory negligence currently. It is likely in the future this will change though, due to the fact that helmets are life-saving equipment for cyclists, often compared with seatbelts.
Whilst wearing a helmet will not affect your claim as yet, it is likely that if you were not wearing a seatbelt as an occupant in a car, the value of your claim will be reduced up to 25%.
What are the common injuries that are claimed for by cyclists involved in an accident?
Injuries commonly claimed by cyclists can range drastically. Due to the very little protection they have, injuries can on any part of the body. Injuries can include fractured limbs, bruised ribs, broken bones, sprains and severe head injuries.
Can I claim for the damage to my bike?
If you are not liable for the accident and your bike is damaged you can claim for the damages to your bike. You will need to support your claim with evidence of the purchase and/or the likely replacement costs.
What are the common types of bicycle accidents?
Cyclists are often found in accidents involving cars unexpectedly pulling from side streets. A cyclist can be riding down a road and be collided with by a car emerging from an adjoining road. This is common, as drivers often are not looking for cyclists when they pull out, they are looking for car drivers.
Another type of accident could occur when motorists are trying to overtake cyclists and make contact, causing the cyclist to fall from their bike. Often motorists become disgruntled at the pace which cyclists tend to ride at. As a result, they may try and pass them in places where there isn’t sufficient room.
Cyclists also often fall victim to being struck by car doors as drivers can sometimes open a door without checking blind spots or if it is safe. As a result, cyclists may collide with the door at speed, resulting in an injury.
Drivers often do not give way to cyclists when required, which can result in serious incidents. Further, drivers often park across cycle lanes blocking the route. In instances where a cyclist drives into the stationary vehicle, the driver is found at fault. Like in the Foster v Maguire & Irwell Construction Ltd case. Though the driver was found 70% liable, the court apportioned 30% to the cyclist due to the lights on the trailer making it clearly visible.
If I have been hit as a pedestrian, does the accident need to have happened at a designated crossing to be able to make a claim?
Drivers are always expected to carry the greater duty of care, so in accidents where a pedestrian has not used a crossing, it is likely that if the driver was at fault in any way (i.e. excessive speed) they may take some responsibility. For example, if a driver was travelling 10mph over the speed limit and collided with a pedestrian crossing on red, liability is likely to be shared between driver and pedestrian.
A pedestrian’s duty when crossing the road is best summarised by the Green Cross Code. This code consists of five principles by which to consider when crossing:
If a pedestrian chooses not to adhere to one or more of the above, it is more likely that the liability apportionment they will need to accept will increase.
Should I have reported the accident to the police?
Any incident where a pedestrian (or driver) was injured should be reported to the police, as they may need to block roads and create access for ambulances in the case of serious incidents. Whether the police are likely to prosecute anyone comes down to whether a crime has been committed. It could be that a pedestrian has been severely injured, maybe even killed, but through no fault of the driver.
On the other hand, it could be that a driver was travelling at 30mph in a 20mph zone and the pedestrian’s injuries are minor, in this instance the crime of speeding has been committed and so prosecution is possible.
The information contained in a police report can assist greatly in determining liability. There could be witness evidence contained in the report, diagrams showing skid marks, pictures showing the resting position of vehicles, and the exact location where the impact took place.
With some pedestrian claims, can they settle where both parties take a share of the blame?
A driver’s duty of care is regarded as higher than a pedestrian’s. Often, even where the pedestrian is at fault, the driver and pedestrian take a portion of the blame each – otherwise known as a ‘Split Liability’. The proportion to which the liability is shared ranges drastically from case to case and is prevalent on the facts and can be split anywhere from 90/10 – 50/50.
Equally, young children (who are often careless when crossing roads through lack of experience) should be treated with similar care by drivers. If they can see young children near the road, drivers should be wary and perhaps reduce their speed to compensate for potential youthful recklessness.
How much will my claim be worth?
A claim’s worth can vary dramatically depending on the injury incurred during the accident. For example a severe injury to the limbs could bring in anywhere between £32,000 – £50,050. For debilitating wrist injuries you could be looking between £8,580 – £20.490.
Pedestrians and cyclists may also incur injuries to the hip and pelvis area when they fall, these injuries could bring in anywhere between £3,300 – £22,220 depending on the severity.
Should I always ensure to wear a cycle helmet?
It is not law to wear a helmet whilst riding a bicycle, though if your intention is to cycle along a busy route on a commute to work, it is almost inconceivable to choose not to wear a helmet. For the sake of £10, you really are putting yourself in huge danger if choosing to occupy public roads without any protection.
The essentials of cycling don’t stop there either. It is advised by the majority of bodies such as Cycling UK, the largest in Great Britain, as well as the Highway Code that:
Should I stop at a red light?
Although it can be an inconvenience, the answer is yes! Cyclists, just like other road users, should adhere to the correct signals, as pedestrians are expected to do so at a crossing for their own safety. Cyclists running reds can be a common occurrence in this day and age and they do not get off lightly for it.
In the case of Malasi v Attmed, this is clearly evidenced. The Claimant cyclist was cycling in the early hours of the morning and ran a red light. A taxi, who was travelling around 45mph in a 30mph zone, collided with the cyclist. Despite the obvious crime of speeding, the cyclist was apportioned 80% of the liability due to the fact that had he abided by the Highway Code and stopped at a red light, the accident would have never occurred.
Do I need to have a witness?
A witness is not crucial to a road traffic accident, but it can be favourable when there is a dispute as to how the events leading up to and after an accident occurred. Having a witness will undoubtedly help your case, particularly if the witness has no conflict of interest. Generally, an accident can be one person’s word against another’s – so the introduction of an impartial witness can sometimes make or break a claim.
It is also important to recognise that the account given by you as the injured victim can also be extremely important and if a consistent version of events is given, the account may well be preferred over that of the vehicle driver.
What about CCTV?
CCTV is a huge help in determining who is to blame for an accident. If enquiries are to be made about CCTV, it is important that they are made quickly with local shops and offices of the council responsible for overseeing the location. If enquires are not made promptly, the footage may be destroyed.
Snow vs. Giddins
Looking at some relevant case law (cases that have been to court and been reported on) may be of huge importance to a potential pedestrian claimant as, if the facts of the case are similar, the outcome of the previous case will be used as a guide to assist with determining liability. Important cases to note are:
Snow v Giddins: ‘Person who elected to not use a crossing took upon himself a higher standard of care.’
This decision again comes down on the side of the pedestrian in terms of their negligence. Pedestrians should use the crossings provided without question. Though drivers should still be sensitive to pedestrians at all times, they are not expected to react to the voluntary whim of a pedestrian who has taken the risk of crossing the road where they shouldn’t cross.
Of course, this does not mean the pedestrian can be held completely liable, but a failure to use a crossing will almost certainly mean some blame is shared with the pedestrian – except in cases where drivers have been overtly negligent.
Chapman vs. Post Office
‘I see no reason why a person standing on the kerb is guilty of negligence at all; even if she leans out or has her back to turned to the oncoming traffic. Even if she went an inch or two into the roadway, I cannot see that would amount to negligence in the slightest.
‘The very fact that a van driver hits with his wing mirror a lady standing legitimately on the kerbside means that he is at fault and she is not.’
This case supports the idea that pedestrians are almost never at fault if they are on the kerbside as this is a designated space for pedestrians and vehicles have no entitlement to occupy that space.
If a car hits a pedestrian on the kerb the driver is at fault and should take all the liability, excluding circumstances where the pedestrian may be causing the accident by throwing things into the road or some other misdemeanor.
Scott vs. Clint
This case laid down the principle that once a pedestrian has stepped into the road, they have the right of way – no matter how suddenly or unexpectedly.
In this case, complete liability was given to the driver of the vehicle as when he was proceeding at 15 mph roughly 10 yards from the kerb, two children walked unexpectedly into the crossing and were struck. This is justified as it highlights the guiding principle that drivers should slow down when approaching pedestrian crossings.
Contact Oakwood Solicitors Ltd and provide us with some basic details about the accident, your injuries, and details of your financial losses. We will then be able to tell you if you have a viable claim. There is absolutely no obligation to proceed. You can provide information or get in touch by:
Rob Crompton has been with Oakwood Solicitors Ltd since July 2007, quickly proving his ability to deal with Road Traffic Accident claims efficiently and with an extremely high level of innovation and client care.
Rob now manages his ever-expanding team, specifically concentrating on Vehicle Diminution, Road Traffic Accident, and Criminal Injury cases.