Cyclists need protection but they can help themselves

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It is not surprising to read about the accident involving Dr Donal McNall.  He was left for dead after being knocked from his bike when he was hit by a car.

As a claims professional specialising in personal injury claims, we have pursued a number of successful claims for cyclists injured in road accidents.

I am both a driver and a cyclist.  My cycling is far from where I would like it to be, but I’m pretty confident that I’m a safe driver.  Maybe doing both disciplines has helped in that?! From the perspective of a driver, I can see why people may oppose the idea of 20mph limits. In some cases, 30mph often seems too slow and so reducing the speed limit may not be the answer. It will also increase journey time and slow traffic.

But from the view point of a cyclist, I believe that more measures should be put in place to protect cyclists. The increasing number of accidents is worrying, and drivers should check their blind spots, give cyclists enough room and stop driving in cycle lanes.

One Solicitor has written that after an accident, one of their clients felt too scared to cycle on the road and so, as there was no cycle path, she cycled on the pavement – only to be fined by a traffic warden!

However, cyclists themselves are not faultless either. Some don’t help themselves by failing to wear safety gear, use bicycle lights or stop at red traffic lights. I was once almost knocked over at a pedestrian crossing, when a cyclist chose to ignore the red light.

If a cyclist caused an accident or injured someone, the person affected would not be able to claim back the cost of damage to their vehicle, compensation or rehabilitation for any injury, as cyclists do not need to be insured on the road.

I am in full support of any calls to increase the number of cycle lanes and paths to reduce the number of incidents involving cyclists, but I do think that the current 30mph limit in built-up areas is inappropriate.

The UK road safety adverts state that if a person is hit at 30mph, there is an 80% chance they will live. If this speed limit is deemed appropriate in relation to pedestrians, it is also appropriate for cyclists.

Sensible advice

Cyclists should take care when out on the roads.  The vast majority do just that and wear the appropriate protective clothing.  Helmets are a must and should be a pre-requisite.  The key thing is to remember that accidents happen at the blink of an eye and you should take every effort to reduce the risk of your involvement in a car -Vs- bicycle accident.

If you have been injured in a car – Vs- Bicycle accident, call us today or use our make a claim page and we’ll call you straight back to get your claim started.

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