Do I need cycle insurance?
An accident caused by the cyclist, what about compensation?
The question of whether cyclists should have insurance has been raised recently following two high-profile cases.
The cyclist caused an accident
Charlie Aliston was jailed for 18 months after being convicted of a criminal offence of furious riding when he collided with a pedestrian, Kim Briggs, who was knocked to the ground and sadly suffered fatal injuries. The rider in that case was riding a fixed wheel bicycle known as a “fixie”, meaning that in order to slow down he had to apply backwards pressure to his pedals. He did not have a front brake and his bike was therefore illegal. He was unable to stop in time.
In another recent case pedestrian Gemma Brushett and cyclist Robert Hazeldean were both knocked unconscious following a collision at a junction near Cannon Street railway station in the City of London. Mr Hazeldean was sued by the pedestrian. The evidence in that case suggested that the pedestrian was looking at her phone as she was crossing the road. The cyclist was found by the judge to owe a duty of care to avoid the collision because the pedestrian was already established in the road as he approached even though the cyclist had a green light in his favour. The court found that the pedestrian and the cyclist were equally to blame and so the cyclist was ordered to pay 50% of the claim for personal losses suffered by the pedestrian.
Does the cyclist need bicycle insurance
The cyclist had no insurance although, after his case hit the headlines, crowdfunding has raised money towards his damages and costs. One odd feature of the case was that Mr Hazeldean did not claim against the pedestrian, apparently because he did not believe in making claims. If he had done so, the pedestrian would have been liable to him for 50% of his injuries and losses and it likely that an out of court settlement could have been agreed.
These cases are incredibly rare. In fact, they hit the headlines because they are so unusual. Furthermore, there is research that indicates that it is rarely the case that a cyclist is to blame. In a study in 2009 by the Department of Transport it was found that only in 2% of cases where cyclists suffered serious injury was the cyclist found to have disobeyed a stop sign or traffic light.
It is not compulsory to have insurance to ride a bike in the UK but if you are at all concerned then there are ways in which you can cover yourself. Before you go searching online for cycling specific insurance (wich is available), be aware that you may already have insurance. If you have buildings or contents insurance then you may well have insurance for third-party liability whilst riding a bicycle without even knowing it. The fact that this insurance is included in household insurance cover is testament to the very low risk of claims. Insurers are prepared to include the cover at minimal cost. Another possible source of insurance is through membership of UK Cycling or an affiliated cycling club, British Cycling or the London Cycling Campaign.
The role of lawyers in road traffic accident claims
If you are involved in a collision when you are riding your bike, Levenes can help. We have experienced solicitors ready to take your call.
Most accidents between cyclists and motorists occur because of lack of attention by the driver. It is the failure to notice a cyclist that leads to collisions. That has certainly been our experience at Levenes solicitors where we have successfully pursued many cycling accident claims.
If you are injured in an accident and it is the fault of another driver then you will be claiming on the insurance of the driver. If however you are responsible for an accident as a cyclist then you can be sued. Although this is incredibly rare because you will come off worse in any collision between you and motorists, if you strike a pedestrian then there’s a good chance that you will both be injured and a claim might be made against you.