Posted on Jun 12, 2020 in Personal Injury by Michelle Adam
Bike Week is taking place between 6 to 14 June 2020. The aim of the campaign is to promote fitness as cycling is a great way to keep active for both physical and mental well-being.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government are also promoting cycling, pointing to it’s health benefits but also as a way to get around instead of using public transport. The difficulty is that, at the moment, our roads aren’t really set up to deal with an increase in cyclists. There are few designated cycle lanes and the state of the UK’s roads often leaves a lot to be desired. If the government is serious about an increase the use of bikes, they need to invest in the correct infrastructure to keep cyclists safe.
If the aim is to have more people cycling that means there is a higher chance of an accident happening. It therefore seems to be the perfect time to talk about what happens if a cyclist is involved in an accident with a car or other vehicle.
At the moment, in the UK, the cyclist needs to prove that the car driver is to blame for the accident. That can sometimes be difficult, particularly if a cyclist is very badly injured. It can be difficult, for example, to find witnesses.
Across most of Europe, however, there is a different approach which is known as presumed liability. That means that a car driver will be liable if they crash into a cyclist. The only way to avoid responsibility is if the driver can prove that the crash was unforeseeable or out of their control.
It seems to me this approach should be adopted in the UK. If a cyclist is involved in an accident with a car, they are much more likely to be seriously injured than the car driver. Motor vehicles are heavy pieces of equipment which are full of safety features to protect their passengers, not so someone on a bike. Cyclists should obviously obey the rules of the road and take care for their own safety but they ought not to have the burden of having to prove the other party is at fault.
So at the moment, if the worst happens and you are knocked off your bike and suffer an injury, you might be entitled to compensation if you can prove the other party is at fault. If you have an accident, try to get names of any witnesses details of the driver and the registration number of the vehicle involved. These will be useful evidence if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim.
In our changed world, now is the right time to change the law, raise awareness and make all road users safer.
Stay safe out there and happy cycling!
Michelle Adam is a Partner and Solicitor Advocate in our Specialist Personal Injury team. For further information, please contact Michelle on 0131 240 8876 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, you can contact any member of the Personal Injury team on 0800 731 8434.
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