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Bicycle Accident Liability

It will come as no surprise to hear the majority of bicycle accidents involve cars. Over 75% of cycle accidents occur on, or near junctions and the most common accidents happen when the cyclist or the other driver is turning right. This reinforces statistics which state the most common cause for a cycle accident, is the cyclist not being seen.

By contrast, 75% of serious cycle accidents involving heavy goods vehicles, are where the HGV is either turning left or overtaking the cyclist. Research performed in London has shown that women are more likely to be involved in such accidents, because they obey the law, with particular risk at traffic lights. Put simply, men are less likely to stop and so are not there to be missed in the blind spot of a turning vehicle.

Cycle law has been somewhat overlooked during the development of road traffic cases. However, recently focus has started to turn to this. The Court of Appeal is already starting to make noises about the fact that a failure to wear a cycle helmet may amount to contributory negligence, reducing an injured cyclist's damages as a result. As this gathers momentum, we are expecting to see many more fights on liability arising.

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Suggested Changes To Law Regarding Liability

What is Strict Liability?

One political party has, in the past, suggested the introduction of “strict liability” in cycling cases. Presently, the person who causes a collision is liable to pay the victim damages for their injuries and financial losses, but the victim must first show the other party is to blame. With strict liability, the person in the more powerful vehicle is automatically presumed to be at fault and the duty is on them to prove they are not liable for the accident. Many believe this will change drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists and make them more safety conscious. However, there is little evidence to show that just introducing this change to liability laws would help encourage more people to cycle. Many cyclist action groups believe only a change in the level of criminal prosecutions of motorists responsible for accidents with cyclists, will make the roads a safer place for cyclists and hence encourage more people to get on their bikes.

Most accidents involving cyclists take place on pavements, at traffic lights, when turning right at junctions and when cyclists or cars are going too fast to stop. To learn more about each of these situations please follow the links below.

How can Routh Clarke help you?

Nick Routh is a keen cyclist and is on the road at least three times a week training for an Ironman. He has ridden in London and been much closer to the underside of a London bus than he would have liked, or was healthy for him! He is also a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). So if you want someone to represent you, who completely understands what it’s like to ride a bicycle in all weathers, on all terrains and along side motorists who are less than keen on the cycling community, call him today for a no obligation chat about your situation.

Call us on 01935 823883 to discuss your bicycle accident