Road traffic accidents (RTAs) involving cyclists are extremely common but can be very dangerous. This is due to the speeds involved and the fact that a cyclist has little or no protection from being injured if an impact occurs.
Cyclists are classed as vulnerable road users and motorists owe a large duty of care to them. There has been a lot of media coverage on this issue of late and cyclists are encouraged to wear protective equipment, appropriate bright clothing and if possible a helmet camera to ensure that they remain as safe as possible.
Despite that, it may not be enough to prevent significant injuries being sustained. 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, just like pedestrians and other road users, are perfectly entitled to claim for personal injury in the unfortunate event of an accident. On the whole, cyclists tend to assume the position of Claimant in Personal Injury claims due to their increased vulnerability when compared to other road users such as 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.
What is the likelihood of me, the cyclist, being at fault?
As previously mentioned, the driver of a motorised vehicle tends to have a greater duty of care. Yet, a cyclist can still be to blame for and accident; in fact, there are guidelines for which cyclists have to abide by too. 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 (Second highest court in the land) 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 the far more vulnerable road users they still are held accountable for any unreasonable negligence they may commit.
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.
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 busy roads on a commute to work say, 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:
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 and are often compared to the seatbelt.
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%.
Should I stop at a red light?
Although it can be an inconvenience, the answer is yes! Cyclists, just like other roads users should adhere to the correct traffic signals. 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.
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 cyclists have, they can incur injuries 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 motorist become disgruntled at the pace which cyclists tend to ride at. As a result, they may try and overtake in places where there isn’t sufficient room to do so due to impatience.
Cyclists also often fall victim to being struck by car doors as drivers can sometimes open a door without checking blind spots or that it is safe to do so. As a result, cyclists may collide with the door at some speed, resulting in an injury.
Drivers often do not give way to cyclists when they are required to do so, which can also result in serious incidents. Further to this, drivers often park across cycle lanes blocking the roadway. In such 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.
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.
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.
Why choose Oakwood Solicitors to escalate your Bicycle Accident claim?
Oakwood Solicitors has been dealing with personal injury claims caused by Road-Traffic Accidents (RTAs) 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 the claim is unsuccessful.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
For any legal queries about Road Traffic Accidents involving bicycle accident claims, get in touch today for a free initial consultation. Choose one of the methods on the right-hand side of this page, or call us on 0113 200 9787 to find out how we can help you.
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