What you need to know about cycling accidents and how to make a claim

If you do wish to claim compensation for your injuries and financial losses, it is important to take advice on your legal rights as a cyclist from a solicitor who specialises in bike accidents.

Here, we have gathered together some of the main questions people ask about four different situations. If you’d like to skip to the section that’s relevant to you, simply click the links below:

Please note, the below does not constitute legal advice. If you are looking for advice about your specific claim, it’s recommended to get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible.

First, what should you do in the event of a cycling accident?

In the event of any accident on the road, you should always do the following:

  • If you are able to, either at the time of the accident or shortly thereafter, record key pieces of evidence. This may be the size and location of a defect in the road surface, or details of the defective component that caused your accident. If involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, try to gain details such as the registration plate.
  • It is a good idea to take photographs to record details. You should also record evidence of injuries, and the damage to any equipment.
  • Keep copies of correspondence and receipts arising from your accident. For example, evidence of payment for bike repairs, letters from your GP or hospital, correspondence with your employer and a diary of your symptoms. This can include treatments and day-to-day difficulties.
  • Keep a diary of domestic assistance and medical treatment (even if you don’t pay for it privately). These are often things you will be asked about at a later date, by which time your memory might have faded.
  • It is often in your best interests to avoid corresponding with your opponent (or their representative) directly. We will be able to advise you on the merits of bringing a bicycle injury compensation claim in terms of liability and we can act in your best interests to assist you in arranging a programme to assist your rehabilitation.
  • When it comes to funding your claim, we regularly act for injured cyclists under the terms of a ‘no win, no fee’ agreement. This is otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. We also find out whether you have any ‘Before the Event’ insurance as an alternative funding option.

If you’ve been knocked off your bike by a car

The benefits of cycling far outweigh the small chance of an injury. But, if you are unfortunate enough to be knocked off your bicycle by a careless driver or injured in a collision with a vehicle whilst riding your bike, then you are entitled to expert legal advice.

We aren’t afraid to take on difficult and complex compensation claims. We are passionate about achieving justice for our clients, and as an independent firm we are not on any panel lists for cycling insurance claims.

Recently, for example, we have successfully represented injured cyclists in the following circumstances:

  • Cycling injury claims following collisions between cyclists and motorists; including cars, vans, lorries and buses;
  • Cyclists knocked off their bikes by motorists opening car doors;
  • Bike accident claims following collisions at roundabouts and junctions;
  • Traffic filtering accidents;
  • Vehicles performing U-turns and knocking cyclists off their bikes;
  • Cyclists wishing to transfer their matter to Royds Withy King because they were not happy with their bicycle injury lawyer; and
  • Overtaking accidents where vehicles collided with bikes in circumstances where they failed to allow sufficient room to overtake safely.

Following the successful conclusion of his cycle injury compensation claim, Mr F said:

The service and support I received was first class. After such a traumatic event, the friendly supportive nature of the company gave me great comfort. I would recommend Royds Withy King to everyone! Mark, my solicitor, was fantastic; I can’t speak highly enough of him. Great knowledge, support and correspondence. He is a credit to the company”.

We were delighted with the compensation settlement we achieved for Mr F who was knocked off his bike at a roundabout on the outskirts of Bristol.

If you think we may be able to help you, please get in touch and we will be happy to advise you on your options and assess the merits of your claim on a free of charge basis.

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If you’ve had a cycling accident at a cycling event or sportive

The circumstances of your accident may be such that you believe you are entitled to bring a claim against the organiser of a cycling event, such as a sportive.

This could be a possibility if you believe the event was negligently organised or supervised. Examples might include;

  • inadequate signage
  • inadequate warnings of hazards; or
  • a failure to check the route before the event.

This could be in relation failing to identify dangerous road surfaces or flooding that might not have been visible when the route was planned.

We will advise you on your rights and whilst it is unusual to pursue a claim against an organiser of a sportive, it is not out of the question.

Another consideration might be if the event organiser failed to supervise the closure of the road or failed to use Marshalls at appropriate checkpoints.  There might also be a claim arising from a collision with a motor vehicle, if it found its way onto the course having ignored warnings or road closure signs.

If you or a friend were able to gather contact details for anyone present at the time you sustained your injuries and photographs of the scene of the accident that will often be of assistance in assessing the merits of your claim. However if this was not possible at the time then it is still possible to investigate your claim.

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If you’ve had a cycling accident with an uninsured or untraceable driver

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for motorists to drive uninsured or fail to stop after being involved in a collision with a cyclist.

In these ‘uninsured driver’ and ‘hit-and-run’ cases the driver may not have the means to meet your claim personally and it can be very difficult to track the driver down unless there are witnesses or good CCTV footage.

However, in these circumstances, you can still make a cycling compensation claim by going to something called the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB).

What is the Motor Insurers’ Bureau?

The purpose of the MIB is to:

  • Compensate victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers
  • Compensate victims of accidents caused by untraced drivers

To operate the Green Card System in the UK i.e. to compensate UK citizens who are involved in accidents with foreign registered vehicles, either in the UK or within the European Economic Area.

If you are injured while riding your bicycle as a consequence of the actions of a careless uninsured or untraced driver, then it is most likely that your claim for damages will be dealt with by the MIB.

Such claims should be acted upon promptly.

Compensation is only payable where fault can be established on the part of the driver identified as having caused the accident. The MIB will investigate those allegations and if it believes you are entitled to damages, it will assess the sum you are entitled to.

As a fund of last resort, accidents are only covered by the MIB if they happen on a road or other public place. The Uninsured Drivers’ Agreement deals with claims arising from the negligence or intentional assaults of uninsured drivers.

How do you make a claim with the MIB?

On receiving your enquiry, our first step will be to try and discover if there is a motor insurer. If there is no insurer or if the driver is untraced, we will submit the claim to the MIB.

Claims for injuries must be made within 3 years of the accident date. The MIB will expect to see that the accident has been reported to the police within 14 days.

The MIB then gather the evidence to make a decision as to whether there is a valid claim and assess its value.

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If you had a cycling accident whilst abroad

If you have been unlucky enough to be injured whilst cycling abroad, we would encourage you to contact us straight away for advice as, depending on which country your claim will be brought, the limitation period for that country may differ to the general three-year rule in the UK.

We are passionate about getting the message across to the cycling community that if an accident occurs abroad you should instruct someone to investigate your cycling accident claim.

Claims of this nature can be complex and the below does not constitute legal advice, it is simply intended to help you understand the different types of cycling claims that may be available to you. For more information you can always contact us for an informal discussion.

In which country should the claim be brought?

If you have a cycling accident during a cycling holiday/foreign trip, where you are knocked off your bicycle by a motorist in Europe you are entitled to:

  • bring your claim directly against the insurer in the courts of your home country; or
  • directly against the driver in the courts where the accident occurred; or
  • against the courts of the driver’s home country.

If the accident happened outside Europe, the claim will have to be made in that country but there are certain exceptions to this rule.

Which country’s laws apply in the event of a foreign cycling accident?

Even though your claim for an accident in Europe can be brought in the courts of your home country, it is the law of the country where the accident happened that should be applied.

Your chosen solicitors should be able to liaise with specialist solicitors based in the country where your accident happened for advice on the applicable law. This can be beneficial if the law of the country where your accident happened is more sympathetic towards cyclists involved in road traffic accidents.

The courts in your home country will apply the law of the country where the accident happened to establish whether you are entitled to bring a claim i.e. establish liability on the part of the motorist and, if successful, dictate the appropriate sum of compensation.

The systems for calculating compensation vary from country to country and are likely to be different to the sum you would receive if your accident had happened in your home country.

What if the cycling accident occurred on a package holiday?

If your cycling accident occurred during a foreign package holiday then you are well placed to bring a claim against the package tour provider.

Some travel agents and tour operators have got wise to this and seek to avoid the regulations by selling holidays which fall outside the definition of a ‘package holiday’, but there are further regulations that provide further protection if your cycling trip was a flight + arrangement. Essentially, it provides protection wherever a flight out of the UK is sold with accommodation and/or car hire outside the UK.

Claims under these regulations should be brought at home in England and Wales and do not apply the law of the country where your accident happened.

These regulations protect cyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles and other causes of foreign cycling accidents such as failing to exercise reasonable care and skill in leading a group of riders as contracted for in the holiday or providing a defective bike for hire.

What about foreign uninsured or untraced drivers?

If an accident is caused by a foreign hit and run or uninsured driver in Europe then you will probably have the opportunity to bring your claim against the Motor Insurers’ Bureau at home.

The MIB provide a fund of last resort to compensate victims of accidents in this country caused by uninsured or untraced drivers.  The MIB will also deal with such claims if they happen abroad.

Does a foreign solicitor need to be involved?

When we are contacted by cyclists who have been injured abroad, we take a history so we can advise on these issues.  We will thoroughly advise you on your options as to the most appropriate remedy to seek because the compensation available to you differs depending on the nature of the claim that you pursue.

This is why it is particularly important we speak to a specialist solicitor in the country where the accident happened to compare the approaches between that country and at home; this is likely to be a very important consideration from your point of view.

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If you want to find out more about making a claim for compensation following a cycling accident, whatever the circumstances you have experienced, get in touch with our specialist team today.