Cyclists continue to be one of the most vulnerable road user groups, despite the recent high-profile conviction of a cyclist for riding into a pedestrian in east London, which resulted in her death.
The behaviour of road cyclists has been brought to national attention following the conviction of a former courier for ‘wanton and furious driving’ on a bicycle with no front brakes. However, statistics show that cyclists are still disproportionately at risk of serious injury. James Murray, Head of Dispute Resolution at Jones & Co Solicitors, said:
“All road users should remember that when an accident involves a cyclist or pedestrian, they can come off a lot worse than any car occupants involved. Whatever mode of transport we use, the fact is irresponsible road use risks causing a life-changing accident, plus potential convictions and financial penalties for anyone at fault, whether they are behind the wheel of a car, bike, HGV or on foot.”
According to the Department for Transport, cyclists are 30 times more likely to be seriously injured than a car occupant. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents says that 3,339 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in road accidents in 2015 and a total of 18,844 cyclists were in road accidents reported to the police that resulted in injury or death.
Pedestrians, pedal cyclists and motorcyclists are vulnerable user groups because they account for disproportionately more casualties than expected for the distance travelled. Statistics from 2015 show that car occupants accounted for 44% of road deaths, pedestrians 24%, pedal cyclists 6% and motorcyclists 21%, but pedestrians, cyclists or motorcyclists are more proportionally likely to be involved in accidents than motorists.
James said: “Road users have rights but are also expected to consider other road users. An accident can lead to life-changing injuries, the need for rehabilitation and physiotherapy, being unable to earn a living in the short or longer term, and the cost of replacing a bicycle or vehicle.
“A cyclist or anyone else who suffers an injury in a road accident may have a valid personal injury claim for his or her losses. This makes it essential for everyone to behave carefully on the road if they want to avoid the consequences of not doing that.”
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