When you grab your cycle helmet and set off on a bike ride, the last thing you expect is to be involved in an accident.
But, unfortunately, accidents involving pedal cyclists happen every single day throughout the UK and the number of casualties may surprise you.
According to statistics reported by the UK Government and Department of Transport, in 2020 there were 141 fatalities, more than 4000 cyclists ‘seriously’ injured and almost 12000 pedal bike riders ‘slightly’ injured during accidents on Britain’s roads.
That equates to over 300 cyclists that were hurt, or even worse, per week.
The number of incidents is even more worrying when you consider the above are only those accidents reported to the police.
It is generally accepted by the authorities that many more accidents go uncounted and unreported, even when a cyclist needs hospital or other medical treatment for their injuries.
And these shocking statistics are on the rise. There was a 41% increase in cyclist fatalities reported in 2020 compared to the year before.
If you have suffered an injury due to a cycle accident and someone else was to blame, then you may be entitled to claim compensation.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Cycle Accidents?
Whilst cycling has been well documented to improve both physical and mental health, there is little doubt that riding a bike along UK roads can be extremely hazardous, and surprisingly more than half of the accidents appear to happen on rural roads.
Common types of accidents involving cyclists are:
Collisions With Motor Vehicles
The vast majority of reported accidents involve a cyclist being hit by a motor vehicle. This includes collisions with cars, vans, buses and large or heavy goods vehicles.
It is often the case that the larger the vehicle, the poorer the outcome for the cyclist.
Collisions With Other Bikes
This may include accidents involving other bicycles or motorbikes.
Collisions With Pedestrians
Accidents may result from a pedestrian stepping off a curb into the path of a cyclist, or a rider could fall off their bike trying to avoid a collision.
Doors Being Opened Into A Cyclist’s Path
Cycling past parked cars and other vehicles is a particular hazard for those on a push bike, as there is an automatic instinct to swerve out of the way if someone inadvertently opens their door into the cyclist’s path.
This is particularly dangerous, as swerving could cause a rider to fall off their bike into the path of other traffic.
Uneven / Dangerous Road Surfaces
A cyclist may come off their bike if they come into contact with a damaged or poorly maintained road surface. Hazards such as deep pot-holes could cause a particular danger.
In the vast majority of reported accidents, the most common reason is cited as “driver or rider failed to look properly”, so it is important to be responsible for you own safety and take all the necessary steps to be fully aware of other road users.
Besides the number one piece of safety equipment for cyclists, the trusty bike helmet, there are other items and checks that can be implemented to increase rider safety and a cyclist’s visibility to others on the road.
Suggestions include regular bike maintenance, including making sure the lights on the front and back are in full working order.
Wearing reflective clothes or strips on the framework to increase your visibility to other road users is advisable, and considering some type of helmet mounted camera may be particularly useful if you are involved in an accident.
In fact, video evidence such as that from a helmet camera could be an invaluable part of your case if someone else was at fault and would certainly be considered a strong piece of evidence to support a valid cycle accident claim.
Can I Make A Cycle Accident Claim?
If you have fallen off your bike accidentally, or because of your own erroneous actions, then you would not have a claim.
Similarly, if you were knocked off your bike and suffered either no injuries or nothing more than very minor scrapes and bruises, again it is unlikely you would have a valid case for compensation.
However, if you have suffered a moderate to significant injury, either physically or mentally, due to an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence when you were on your bicycle, then you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation against those responsible.
It is important, however, to be clear and sure that the accident was not your fault.
For example, if you were riding at night in dark clothes, with no lights or reflective clothing, then it may be difficult to prove negligence on the part of the other person. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable road users and can be difficult to see, particularly if they are not easily visible.
We say this not to dissuade you from making a genuine claim, but just to prepare you that all the relevant facts need to be disclosed if you pursue a case for compensation.
If you are unsure whether your accident circumstances could entitle you to claim for compensation, Claims Compass can help you.
If you complete our online form, we can arrange a free no-obligation chat with a claims advisor, who can help determine if you have a valid case to pursue.
What Should I Do If I Have A Cycle Accident
The first thing to say here is that your safety following a cycle accident is of paramount importance. So, where necessary, seek immediate medical attention to treat any injuries sustained and consider the following:
1) Seek Medical Treatment
If your injuries require urgent treatment, call an ambulance straight away and ask someone to stay with you until it arrives.
However, even if your injuries are less serious, you should still make an appointment to see your local GP so that your medical report can be updated with the accident details.
A GP may also suggest a trip to the hospital if they think x-rays or further tests are required.
2) Take Photos / Notes / Video
It is important to have accurate information regarding the scene of the accident and the aftermath, so take photos and video (if possible) or make notes as soon as possible whilst the details are fresh in your mind.
Take photos of any injuries sustained. This type of evidence is very useful if you are going to make a claim.
3) Details Of Those Responsible
Get the details of the person/s responsible for your accident, name, address, phone number, company name etc.
As a back-up, you may wish to note down or photograph the Reg No of the vehicle involved (if relevant) and any damage to their vehicle and your bike.
4) Get Witness Info
If there were witnesses to the accident, gather their names and numbers, so that they can provide witness statements and corroborate your recollection of what happened.
5) Contact The Police
If the person responsible fled the scene or you feel the injuries you have could be serious, it may be prudent to call the police. That way you will be able to get a crime number, which may help in any subsequent accident investigation.
If a crime has been committed (perhaps reckless or dangerous driving etc) it is important to bring those responsible to justice and reporting it to the police will be helpful to your case if you choose to make a compensation claim.
6) Keep Receipts And Treatment Diary
If you need to buy any medical items, equipment or medications to deal with the injuries you suffered, keep all the receipts.
Also, keep records/copies of any transport or parking costs related to seeking medical treatment, and if you need any private treatment such as physiotherapy etc, keep a copy of those receipts too.
Keep a journal or diary from the date of your accident and note down any medical appointments or time needed off work (loss of earnings etc), as well as describing your pain and mobility.
What Compensation Could I Get For A Cycle Accident Claim?
As each case is individual, it is not possible to state an exact amount of compensation for any given claim, needless to say that the more serious and long lasting an injury, the more compensation is likely to be paid out.
Claims of this nature are likely to be negotiated and paid out by Insurers, rather than an individual, particularly in the case of a collision with a motor vehicle.
Compensation for moderate injuries may be settled for a few thousand pounds, but serious life-threatening injuries with future disabilities could result in an award of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Loss of earnings also forms part of a personal injury compensation claim, and can even include future loss of earnings too, if an injury ends or severely restricts the type of work a victim can do.
Compensation pay-outs for cycle accident claims, and many other types of claims in fact, are split into two distinct types of ‘damages’.
What Are Damages?
Damages is the name given to the type of loss suffered in a compensation claim. There are two types, General Damages and Special Damages.
General damages are calculated and paid out to recompense a victim for their pain, suffering and loss of amenity (quality of life).
This usually follows strict guidelines dependent on the specific injury or injuries sustained and how they will affect a person’s life going forwards.
1) Special Damages
Special damages on the other hand deals with the financial losses incurred, such as the medical costs of treatments/prescriptions, loss of earnings and any adaption that may be required to a person’s home etc.
This is intended to refund a victim for any out-of-pocket expenses connected with the accident, which is why we say to keep all receipts!
How Do I Make A Cycle Accident Claim?
Most personal injury claims have a time-limit of 3 years from when the accident happened to the time you launch your claim.
However, if more time has elapsed since the incident and you were only made aware in the last 3 years that a medical problem can be traced back to the accident, then you may still be eligible.
Also, accidents involving serious injuries to minors can be started at any time up to their 21st Birthday, and there are some other exceptions to the time-limit rule.
Given the time it takes to process and sometimes complex legalities of making a compensation claim, you may decide you prefer to get help from those experienced in handling such cases, rather than tackle it yourself.
This is where we can help.
Claims Compass can arrange a free, no-obligation call from an experienced claims adviser, ready to discuss your individual case and determine if you may have a valid claim.
They can handle much of the legal process for you, usually on a no-win-no-fee basis and guide you through all the elements of making such a claim.
Depending on the evidence and the willingness of those responsible (or their insurers) to accept liability for the accident, many cases are negotiated and settled out of court. This is where experience of dealing with personal injury claims can help to secure the right level of compensation.
If you have been hurt in an accident whilst riding your bike and it was not your fault, you may be entitled to make a claim.
Let us help you to seek the compensation you deserve.
And, if your loved one was tragically one of the hundreds of cycle fatalities over the last 3 years, you may be able to sue for wrongful death.
Whilst we understand that claiming compensation cannot bring them back, it may go some way to help with the financial impact of losing someone that you or your family financially depended upon.