Taken up cycling? Bravo. But before you saddle up, have a read of our handy guide to what to do should you find yourself injured while out on the roads. Katherine Flashman Kitson, personal injury lawyer with Parnalls Solicitors, explains why you might be at risk and how you should pursue a compensation claim in the event of an accident.
Reinventing the Wheel
The 2018 Tour de France spawned thousands of new cycling fans after Geraint Thomas became the third Brit in history to don the coveted Maillot jaune (or “yellow jersey”). Alongside teammate Chris Froome, Thomas’s victory has inspired an explosion of interest in the sport and Britain’s roads seem more crowded with cycles than ever before. Indeed, official figures reveal that more than three million of us are saddling up at least once a month. And why not? The various associated health benefits plus eco-friendliness of the activity makes it an ideal solution for commuters and weekend hobby-hunters alike.
As interest in cycling has soared, so too, unfortunately, has the number of cycling-related accidents. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), there are over 18,000 reported incidents involving cyclists each year…and those are only the reported ones.
Why are cyclists particularly vulnerable?
More traffic on the road compared to statistics taken a year ago combined with excessive speed and some “antisocial” behavior from motorists can make cycling a dangerous way to get around, especially in cities. Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users because of their limited ability to shield themselves from the risk of harm and their consequent exposure to serious injury in an accident. Inexperienced cyclists obviously run the risk of underestimating traffic and obstacles.
- What causes cycling accidents?
- vehicles turning into a cyclist’s path
- pedestrians stepping out without looking
- drivers of larger vehicles failing to give way
- cyclists being clipped by a vehicle that hasn’t left enough room for them to pass safely
- car doors being opened without looking
So what should you do?
Should you find yourself in trouble on the roads as a cyclist, it’s important to stay calm, take stock and follow these steps:
- If ANYONE is injured, the police need to be called. Your well-being comes first.
- Any witnesses should be asked for their details so that your solicitor can contact them as and when they need to.
- Check whether any passing motorists managed to capture the accident on their dash cam.
- Get the name, address and insurance details of the motorists involved, along with the registration number of their vehicles.
- Take photographs of the scene of the accident. In particular, of all the vehicles, the position of your bike and any damage or skid marks.
- If a pothole caused or contributed to the accident, report it on Cycling UK’s Fill that Hole website [www.fillthathole.org.uk] which will then alert the local council.
- Claiming compensation
The sooner you speak to a solicitor, the better. They need to gather the evidence they need for your case. This includes copies of any police reports and preparing witness statements while events are still fresh in everybody’s minds. They’ll also catalogue any injuries you’ve suffered and help you to access any treatment or rehabilitation services.
Your solicitor will deal with any attempt by the other person’s insurers to avoid settling your compensation claim. This might include allegations that the accident would not have happened if you had been wearing high-visibility clothing, or that you would have suffered no injury (or a less severe one) if you had been wearing a properly fitting helmet.
What can you claim for?
This depends on how the accident occurred and the extent of your injuries. As well as compensation for the injury itself, it might be possible to claim compensation for lost earnings if you’ve had to take time off work. You may also be able to claim the cost of any private medical treatment or rehabilitation as well as payments to cover the value of help or care provided to you by family or friends. You also probably claim to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your bike and any damaged clothing or accessories.
How it’s funded
Although no amount of money can take away the traumatic experience you’ve been through, compensation can make life easier. In addition, if you were injured within the last three years in an accident for which you were not to blame, it’s usually possible to fund your claim under a conditional fee arrangement. This means that you won’t need to pay a fee unless your claim for compensation is successful. With our help, you could be back on your bike sooner than you think.
“As a cyclist myself, I know how vulnerable cyclists are on the roads today. I have dealt with numerous claims for clients who have had accidents whilst riding their bikes, some hardcore and racing, some cycling commuters, some just cycling for pleasure. I know how traumatic being involved in a bike accident is. All this has given me valuable insight into how cyclists are affected by accidents, physically and emotionally. I have a wealth of experience of dealing with these types of claims.”
– Katherine Flashman Kitson,
For help in making a claim, following a cycling accident (or for any other personal injury matter) please contact Katherine Flashman Kitson on 01566 772375 or email email@example.com
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published.