As the cold nights draw in, the risk for cyclists increase. Wet roads, slippery leaves hiding buried, giant sized pot holes in the cycling lane and poor visibility, all play their part. But the most dangerous things for cyclists, from a personal injury law point of view, are inattentive vehicle drivers. Although that’s probably no surprise to cyclists.
The most common type of accidents we see involving cyclists, are caused by vehicle drivers failing to look out for cyclists when turning across a lane of traffic.
I am dealing with three such cases right now, and have settled many others in the past. Despite awareness campaigns, this is still a common scenario and we’d be surprised if regular cyclists don’t experience a near miss at least once per ride on the road – cycle lane or no cycle lane.
It is worth cyclists being aware that generally speaking, insurers will usually admit liability at an early stage, when their insured driver has turned into the path of a cyclist.
Fortunately, most injuries caused by these types of accident seem to be fairly minor and the front wheel of the bike takes the majority of the impact. However, in some cases, cyclists suffer life-changing injuries.
I am acting for one gentleman who was cycling down a busy road in Sheffield. A car driver, travelling in the opposite direction, wanted to turn right. The car driver allowed another vehicle to go past, but failed to see the cyclist (despite his wearing a high vis fluorescent outfit). The car driver cut across the cyclist, there was a collision and the cyclist suffered serious injury.
The client suffered multiple fractures including a serious shoulder injury from which he is unlikely to ever fully recover. His helmet was badly damaged, but it most likely saved his life. He was unable to work for 2 months and is still on lighter duties. He is also, understandably, fearful of getting back on his bike, and is likely to need psychological therapy to try and develop strategies to conquer this fear.
All because a car driver did not take the time to properly look when turning.
TIPS: If This Happens to You
Generally, cyclists will not have insurance, so it is important to keep records relating to the damage to your bicycle, clothing and equipment so these can be recovered from the vehicle insurers. Our advice is to take photos of the damage and keep receipts for all replacement items and repair quotes. If you get your bike repaired, keep all the repair documentation as this will be vital evidence needed to recover the costs.
If you are able to, it is also a good idea to draw a diagram of the accident whilst it is still fresh in your mind and take pictures of the area on your mobile phone. Most people will not think to do this at the time of the accident, but if you are physically able to, then it is a good idea. You may even have camera footage or record your ride on Strava.
Where possible cyclists should note the insurance details of the vehicle driver, or at the very least their number plate. Witnesses to accidents are invaluable in road traffic accidents, so try your best to obtain contact details of any people who saw the incident or who maybe stopped to help you, to then pass on to your solicitors.
If you have been involved in an accident and would like to discuss any aspect of a claim for compensation please call one of our experts on 0114 218 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org