Cyclists are vulnerable on the road but, following a road traffic collision, they may be left feeling more so in the event a driver claims the cyclist is at fault.
Whether you are injured or not, or your bike and property are damaged, it is important to understand what you as a cyclist can do to protect yourself from any allegations and how you may bring a cycling injury claim yourself.
What Does The Law Say?
Under Sec 170 (1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 a motorist is under a statutory duty to stop, report accident and give information or documents when “an accident occurs by which—
(a)personal injury is caused to a person…. or
(b)damage is caused—
(i)to a vehicle…..or
(ii)to an animal (defined as cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).…..or
(iii)to any other property…….
(2)The driver must stop and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his name and address and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle.
(3)If for any reason the driver does not give his name and address under subsection (2) above, he must report the accident.
(4)A person who fails to comply with subsection (2) or (3) above is guilty of an offence.”
What Does This Mean?
Sec 170 does not apply to cyclists (or pedestrians) who may cause a collision. There is, of course, no legal obligation for a cyclist (or a pedestrian) to have third party insurance. There is a body of opinion which advocates that all cyclists should be obliged to have third party insurance with registration numbers for their bikes. This would in my view be unworkable, disproportionate to the risk which cyclists cause to other road users, impossible to police and would result in a significant reduction of cycle journeys.
The Importance of Third Party Legal Insurance
Notwithstanding the lack of legal obligation, I recommend that all regular cyclists have a policy of third party legal insurance. I recommend that all regular cyclists join Cycling UK as its members have £10 million of third party insurance cover included with their membership. This is a valuable benefit which offers peace of mind should a claim be made against a member.
10 Tips For Cyclists Who Have Been Involved in a Collision:
- Exchange name, address, email address and numbers with the other party.
- Obtain the registration number of the vehicle (this is the most important piece of information which we need to pursue a claim as we can identify the vehicle insurers through the Motor Insurer`s Database by entering the registration number).
- Obtain details of make, model and colour of the vehicle.
- Obtain names, addresses, numbers of any witnesses.
- If possible obtain photographic evidence of the position of the vehicle(s).
- Report the incident to the police without delay. If the police attend the scene of the incident obtain details of name, serial number and station of the officer(s) as well as the CAD reference.
- If you were using a helmet camera do not wipe the film! We can use this in evidence in both criminal and civil proceedings.
- If you were injured seek medical attention.
- Remain calm and do get drawn into discussion with the other party about who was at fault for the collision.
- If injured contact a cycle injury solicitor. If you are a Cycling UK member contact their legal Helpline telephone 0844 736 8452.
Richard Gaffney is Slater and Gordon’s principal lawyer for Cycling UK (previously CTC), the national cycling charity.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers can provide you with free legal advice on cycling accident claims in an online guide that you can download and print.
Call us for a free consultation on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.