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08 Jun 2020

Personal Injury

As lockdown leads to surge in cycling, we need to do all we can to stay safe on the roads

As we enter Bike Week (6-14 June 2020), an annual celebration run by Cycling UK to showcase the simple pleasure of cycling, Victoria Hands, a legal executive in our Personal Injury department, examines the importance of staying safe on the roads and explains what to do if you do have an accident.

Cycling is a great way to keep fit and active and can be a good way to boost immunity as well as being good for your mental wellbeing. According to Cycling UK, if you cycle regularly in adulthood, you’ll enjoy a level of fitness equivalent to someone who is ten years younger, and will have a 46% lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

During lockdown, the activity has certainly been embraced by all sorts of people who would never usually have considered riding a bike, with retailers such as Halfords reporting a 100 per cent increase in bike sales since March. As well as being a more attractive alternative to using public transport during the pandemic, people all over the UK are realising how much fun cycling can be, especially during the recent spell of good weather and with far fewer cars on the roads.

The government is urging commuters to cycle when they return to work so we are fully expecting this surge in popularity of cycling to continue. Cities around the world are rushing through improvements to cycling infrastructure and in the UK, the Transport Secretary has set out an ambitious £2bn programme to expand cycling and walking.

However, despite these plans, it is inevitable that more cars will return to the roads in the coming weeks as lockdown restrictions ease, so we are keen to make sure people know the potential dangers of cycling so that they can do their best to stay safe when out on the roads. Unfortunately, cycling on our roads can be very dangerous, with cyclists statistically more likely to be killed or seriously injured than any other road user.

Facts about cycling accidents

  • Five people die every day on the roads in Great Britain and many more are seriously injured. These statistics have remained broadly constant for several years.
  • Compared with other road users, cyclists are the most vulnerable. Not only are they more exposed on the road, but the safety of even the most experienced of cyclists is dependent upon the skills and awareness of other drivers.
  • In 2018, 17,451 cyclists reported being injured in accidents on the road in Great Britain. Of these, 4,205 were killed or seriously injured. Not surprisingly, the severity of injuries suffered by cyclists increases with the speed limit.
  • Also, statistics show that a remarkably high number of cyclist deaths occur on rural roads (almost half of all deaths).

Common types of accident

Some of the most common cycling accidents caused by other road users include:

  • A motorist emerging into the path of a cyclist
  • A motorist turning across the path of a cyclist
  • A cyclist turning right from a major road and from a minor road
  • Drivers or passengers opening vehicle doors in front of an oncoming cyclist
  • Cyclists being injured on roundabouts

How to stay safe when cycling on the roads

  • Always wear a helmet
  • Make sure you don’t cycle too close to the kerb, at least an arm’s length away, to make sure you are easily visible to traffic
  • Keep an eye on what’s around you at all times so you can prepare for junctions, traffic lights, drain covers, potholes, pedestrians, dogs etc
  • Be predictable and make your intentions clear – check behind you, signal and only manoeuvre when it’s safe to do so
  • Try to make eye contact with other road users, particularly at junctions, side roads and on roundabouts
  • Never undertake a lorry
  • Watch out for car doors
  • Stay visible when cycling in the dark
  • Keep your hands on the brakes and be aware of stopping distances
  • Consider cycling training 

If you are involved in an accident, what should you do?

  • Get out of the road – If possible, move to somewhere safe where you can seek help or medical attention.
  • Call the police – it is important to get a record of what happened.
  • Get witness details – ask for contact details of any bystanders or other road users who may have witnessed the accident.
  • Take photos – take pictures of the scene of the accident, the other vehicle, the damage to your bike and of your injuries.
  • Seek medical assistance from your own GP or local A&E department
  • Write down exactly what happened – including the date and location of the accident, registration plate numbers and all the facts you can remember. 

Can I make a claim following my cycling accident?

Following an accident, cyclists can sustain serious injuries and suffer long term physical and financial hardship. Bikes and bike equipment are expensive to repair and replace.

If the accident is partly or wholly the fault of another person, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, reimbursement of medical bills and rehabilitation costs, repair costs or replacement value for your bike or other property, loss of earnings and any additional travel costs if your bike is damaged and you can’t use it for your usual commute.

To find out if we can help you get the compensation you deserve after a cycling injury, get in touch with our expert team today.

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