Bicycle Injury Claim: How to claim compensation for injury suffered whilst cycling on UK roads
Bicycle injury claim solicitor explains how to prove your bicycle accident claim; how your own negligence can reduce your compensation payout amount; see different cyclist accident scenarios with the likely effect of contributory negligence; why children often have their claim reduced less than adults for cyclist error; find out the potential claims made against a cyclist for injuries to pedestrians; cyclist insurance to make or defend a claim; see typical injuries a cyclist might experience with examples of bicycle injury claim compensation amounts; free online specialist solicitor help and assistance.
What is a bicycle injury claim?
If you are a cyclist on a road, public highway or cycle lane – when a collision occurs with a motor vehicle (such as car, lorry, taxi, motorbike) and as a matter of law the driver of the motorised vehicle is considered at fault for the cycle accident – you should be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries, the damage to your bicycle and other financial losses.
This claim for compensation from the driver at fault is known as a bicycle injury claim.
Legal Tip – you might suffer a cycle injury if you hit a pothole, hole in a road, raised grid or other defect with the road surface. Even though another road user was not involved – you may be able to make a claim from the council (or other authority responsible, such as united utilities) for a defective highway leading to your injury. Such claims are often more difficult to prove due to the council’s statutory Defence of reasonable maintenance, which is not available to road uses at fault for a road accident.
More rarely if your accident was caused due to some defect with your bicycle – a product liability claim could be considered.
How do you prove your bicycle injury claim?
The process for proving a bicycle injury claim is generally the same as for other road accidents as our article proving a road accident claim explores. The law relied upon to prove cycle accident claims is set out in our cyclist accidents law article.
However, the Highway Code specifically places a more stringent duty on car drivers and other motorised road users to take special care with cyclists in certain situations.
Example: a motor vehicle (such as a lorry) overtakes a cyclist – the same room should be given as overtaking a car, but as a cyclist is more prone to wobble or manoeuvre to avoid hazards on the road – such as grids, oil spillages and potholes – the lorry driver should give sufficient room when overtaking and time for the cyclist to change direction before overtaking.
In addition – a cyclist is considered a vulnerable road user (a road user that is not protected by a metal cage as in a car, lorry, van, bus, etc.) and as such is more likely to suffer serious injuries if a collision occurs with heavier and much faster motor vehicles.
As such there can often be a presumption in favour of a cyclist making a claim when determining prime liability (the person considered ultimately legally at fault) for collisions with motor vehicles. This is often subject to a reduction in the compensation level for cyclist error – known as contributory negligence.
Can your bicycle injury claim payout be reduced due to your own negligence?
“Yes” – the amount of compensation you can recover can be reduced by a percentage if you have contributed to the accident through your own negligence. This is known as contributory negligence.
In what types of bicycle injury claim might you be considered as contributory negligent?
Typical cycle accidents include:
Cyclist failing to stop at lights
If you fail to stop at traffic lights and as a result a collision occurs – this would typically be classed as your fault, but this could be different if the motor vehicle driver (despite having the right of way) was also doing something wrong.
Example: imagine a collision occurred with a car driver who was speeding through a green traffic light. Despite having the right of way – the car driver could be found at fault. However, the bicycle injury claim could be reduced for contributory negligence by as much as 80%.
Please note – if the cyclist was a young child the deduction for contributory negligence could be much lower than for an adult cyclist – even as low as 50%.
Impact with car doors
If you are cycling on a road passing a parked car on the outside when suddenly the door is opened knocking you to the ground – there is often an argument to say that you did not give sufficient room to overtake. Here however it is likely to be the car driver’s error with no contributory negligence.
If however you were undertaking a line of parked cars when there was no cycle lane – it is still likely to be the car owners responsibility for the passenger error, but your claim could be reduced for contributory negligence.
Drains, potholes and obstructions on the road causing a cyclist to swerve
Drivers should be careful and give proper room when overtaking you as you cycle on a road – as you might have to swerve to avoid an obstruction on the road or drain grating.
An overtaking car can be liable if a cyclist serves and a collision occurs (when insufficient room is given), but if cyclist swerves crossing the centre of the road and is hit oncoming car travelling correctly in their own lane in the opposite direct from the cyclist – this will often be considered 100% cyclist fault.
Lorries turning across a cyclist path
If a vehicle turns right across your path when you have the right of way it is likely to be the vehicle driver’s fault, but if you had sufficient time to slow down and stop if you had been paying attention, but failed to do so – you could have contributed to your injuries.
Rule 73 of the Highway Code requires cyclists to pay particular attention when long vehicles are making left turns
If you are undertaking or travelling in a cycle lane to the left of the vehicle when the lorry signals and starts to turn left causing a collision. It could be that you will be found to have been negligent by failing to see the lorry’s indication and failing to stop to allow the lorry to make the left turn.
Of course a lorry driver should have made proper checks before commencing to turn.
Failure to wear a cycle helmet
The Highway Code Rule 59 requires that you wear a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
There is an argument to say that if you do not wear a helmet when you are cycling and you injure your head in as a result of a collision – your injures are made worse by the absence of the helmet and as such your bicycle injury claim payout should be reduced for contributory negligence.
There is however some evidence to show that if the force of the collision is large enough a cycle helmet would provide little protection, so the courts tend to make no reduction for contributory negligence for not wearing a cycle helmet.
Cyclist impacting a parked vehicle
You might have a bicycle injury claim if you impact a parked vehicle in a dangerous position on a road, but there is a strong likelihood of a reduction in compensation amounts if evidence shows that you should have seen the vehicle and avoided the collision.
Is contributory negligence assessed in the same way if the cyclist injury claim is for a child?
Mistakes made by adult cyclists which would reduce or negate an adult cyclists claim are not viewed in the same way by the courts if the mistake is made by a young child cyclist.
For example – a young child cycling across a road junction instead of giving way may still succeed with a bicycle injury claim (with a reduction for contributory negligence) when an adult’s claim may not succeed at all.
Can a personal injury claim be made against you if your collide with a pedestrian?
“Yes” – cyclists owe a duty to pedestrians and other road users, so care should be taken to observe the rules of the road as other motorists have to (for example, you should not jump traffic and or pedestrian crossing lights as you may endanger other road users) and should not cycle on pavements where pedestrians could be injured.
Most claims considered against cyclists are by pedestrians as they are even more vulnerable than cyclists in a collision.
What type of personal injury liability insurance do cyclists have?
Cyclists very rarely have separate accident insurance to meet the claim for injuring a third party. Motor vehicle drivers are however required by law to have motor vehicle accident insurance to meet any claims made against the driver.
However, often household insurance policies (for the house or flat the cyclist resides in) may cover such liability. Typically building insurance might have this cover whereas household contents insurance might fund a bicycle injury solicitor to make a claim for cyclist injury.
Are there any criminal offences if your cycling causes injury to a pedestrian?
The criminal law has an offence of “wanton and furious cycling” resulting in criminal prosecution for personal injury or death caused to pedestrians as set out by the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, Section 35.
If criminal culpability is found potentially a Criminal Injuries Compensation Claim could be considered by the pedestrian for compensation for injuries sustained.
How do you calculate the compensation amounts for a bicycle injury claim?
The amount you can claim for a bicycle injury claim depends on the nature of your injury.
See our compensation payout calculator setting out each type of body part in alphabetical order with a link to an article explaining each type of injury to that body part with the examples of the amounts of compensation your bicycle injury claim is worth.
Specialist bicycle injury claim solicitor free help
We offer both bicycle injury claim online & telephone specialist solicitor help if you have been injured in cycle accident and are wishing to have your claim assessed or ask a bicycle injury claim question.