Cycling has never been more popular. Whether it’s through the advantages of staying in shape, the benefits to the environment or the fantastic example set by superstar cyclists like Sir Bradley Wiggins or Sir Chris Hoy, it seems nothing can stop the huge rise of the sport. According to statistics from British cycling, more than two million adults in England ride a bike at least once a week.

 

And while it’s now a common site to see cyclists sharing the road with cars, unfortunately, injuries while cycling still occur very regularly. As many cycling injuries on the road involve cars they have the potential to be very dangerous for cyclists. If you have suffered an injury while cycling it’s natural to wonder whether you can claim compensation. It will depend on a number of factors, so let’s have a look at them.

Do you need insurance to make a claim?

Like any road user, a cyclist can claim for compensation if they are involved in a road traffic accident. However, it is important to note that unlike car drivers, cyclists are not required to have insurance and this can complicate matters. Firstly, it may be the case that you already have insurance without having to take out a policy — organisations such as Cycling UK offer insurance as a part of their membership, and you may also be insured if you have a motoring insurance policy.

However, if you are not insured and you are in an accident that doesn’t mean that you are not eligible to make a claim. In general it means you will need to go through a solicitor to pursue a claim. If this applies to you, it’s worth going through a firm that specialises in cycling injury claims such as George Ide solicitors.

How to make a claim

It’s generally the case that if you were in an accident and it was entirely or mostly not your fault, you can claim for compensation. Many solicitors will be happy to work on a no-win, no-fee basis, which means that all of their costs will be recovered from the other side. You will have three years from the date of the accident to issue the case to court — the solicitor will do most of the work for you, but the process can take time. It may take anything from several months to years to get compensation.

What evidence do you need?

The onus will be on you to provide evidence to support your case. Your solicitor may be able to sort out a lot of this for you if they have taken on your case, but remember that you will be need to have solid evidence to support the claim for them to take it on.

If the incident involved the police you should make sure that you get the incident reference number. It’s also important that you try to gather anything that might be useful in your case such as details of witnesses, photos of the damage to your bike and the vehicle, as well as any possible CCTV or video camera footage.

Common cycling injuries

It’s also essential that you should go and see a doctor as soon as possible after the incident to get a full diagnosis of the extent of your injuries. When bicycles collide with cars and other motor vehicles it can cause a huge range of injuries to occur, ranging from the extremely common whiplash to serious problems like breaks and fractures, as well as soft tissue damage.

In very serious cases head and spinal injuries can occur, and there can even be the need for amputation of limbs. But even in cases where injuries may seem superficial or minor, they may be more serious than you first realise, so it’s vital to go ahead and get a report from the doctor.

Wearing a helmet?

One issue that has concerned many cyclists who are involved in accidents is the wearing of a helmet. The law states that if you are partly responsible for the injuries that you sustain during an incident, you must accept a portion of blame and this will affect the amount of compensation you receive. This is known as contributory negligence.

When it comes to wearing a helmet, there are no official laws stating that cyclists must wear one while on the road. However, during a case if a court assess that wearing a helmet could have prevented or reduced a cyclist’s injuries, it will likely return a verdict that will see their percentage of the damages reduced significantly.

This means you can still make a claim even if you weren’t wearing a helmet, but you should expect to receive a lower settlement than the full amount. It is up to the court to determine what this figure should be.