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Thursday 2nd May 2019

Have you had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation.

Cycling has never been more popular in the UK. Since the London 2012 Olympics the number of people opting for pedal power has risen dramatically, but as the interest in cycling has increased so too has the number of accidents involving those on two wheels. According to statistics produced by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), there were 18,477 reported incidents involving cyclists in 2016 alone, with the actual number believed to be twice this amount when unreported accidents are factored in.

Roger Henderson, Personal Injury Lawyer with Rundlewalker Solicitors in Exeter explains why cyclists are so at risk and the steps you should take following an accident to enable you to pursue a claim for compensation.

Why cyclists are particularly vulnerable
High traffic volumes combined with excessive speed and the behaviour of some motorists conspire to make cycling a potentially dangerous activity. Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable road users given their relatively limited ability to shield themselves from the risk of harm and their consequent exposure to serious injury if an accident occurs.

Reasons for accidents involving cyclists
Accidents involving cyclists are commonly caused by:

• vehicles turning into the path of a cyclist;
• pedestrians stepping out in front of cyclists;
• drivers of larger vehicles not giving way;
• cyclists being clipped by a vehicle as a result of the vehicle failing to leave enough room for the cyclist to pass safely;
• car doors being opened without looking; and
• potholes.

What to do immediately after a cycling accident
Being involved in an accident is an extremely upsetting experience, but it is important to stay calm and take the following action:

• if someone has been injured the police should be called;
• any witnesses to the accident should be asked for their details so that your solicitor can contact them if necessary;
• you should check whether any passing motorists managed to capture the accident on their dash cam;
• make sure you get the name, address and insurance details of the motorists involved, along with the registration number of their vehicles;
• use your phone to take photographs of the scene of the accident and in particular of all vehicles, the position of your bike and any damage or skid marks; and
• if a pothole caused or contributed to the accident, make sure you report it on Cycling UK’s ‘Fill that Hole’ website, which will then alert the relevant authority so they are aware of the problem.

Claiming compensation
The sooner you speak to a solicitor the easier it will be for them to obtain the evidence needed to deal with your case, including obtaining a copy of any police report, preparing witness statements while events are still fresh in everyone’s mind and cataloging the injuries you have suffered and helping you to access any treatment or rehabilitative services you need to help you on the road to recovery.

Your solicitor will also be able to deal with any attempts made by the insurers of the motorists involved to try to avoid having to settle your compensation claim, including allegations that the accident would not have occurred had you been wearing high-visibility clothing or that no (or a less severe) injury would have been suffered if you had been wearing a properly fitting helmet.

What you can claim compensation for
Our specialist cycle accident solicitors will tell you what you can claim for, which will vary depending on how the accident occurred and the extent of the injuries you have suffered. As well as compensation for the injury itself, it might also be possible to claim compensation for lost earnings if you have had to take time off work, the cost of any private medical treatment or rehabilitation required to aid your speedy recovery and a payment to cover the value of any help or care provided to you by family or friends. A claim will also usually be possible to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your bike and any damaged clothing or accessories.

Compensation may also be awarded in the event of the death of a cyclist following a road traffic accident.

Funding your claim
Although no amount of money can take away the traumatic experience you have been through, compensation can make life easier. So too can knowing that in most cases where you have been injured within the last three years as the result of a cycling accident, for which you were not to blame, it will usually be possible to fund your claim under a conditional fee arrangement which means you will not need to pay us a fee unless your claim for compensation is successful.

With our help you could be back on your bike sooner than you think.

For help in making a claim following a cycling accident, or for any other personal injury matter, please contact Roger Henderson on 01392 209218 or email roger.henderson@rundlewalker.com

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.