CYCLE LANE ACCIDENT CLAIMS

Cycle lane accidents often occur when vehicles other than bicycles use the cycle lanes of a road or something that should not be in the cycle lane is causing an obstruction. As cyclists ourselves and experienced cycling accident lawyers since 1988, we have encountered many different types of accidents in cycle lanes.

If you have been affected by a cycling accident in a cycling lane, our specialist solicitors are here to provide you with assistance. Call our 24/7 helpline on 0808 100 999 5.

The most commonly encountered cycling facilities are ‘on carriageway cycle lanes’ which may be defined by a broken white line, a solid white line or plastic bollards. (Highway Code 140).

A similar arrangement is known as an ‘off-carriageway cycle track’ which is a facility physically separate from the carriageway  and may be shared use with pedestrians, the two halves being distinguished by a solid white line, kerb or height differential often with some tactile paving.

Defects

Cycle facilities of whichever nature are still part of the Highway so fall under S41 of the Highways Act meaning that regular safety inspections (6 monthly) are required. This is a statutory obligation, so if there is a dangerous defect which has caused a crash the Highway Authority is potentially liable unless it can rely upon its statutory defence, namely that it can demonstrate a reasonable inspection regime and that there was no defect last time it inspected.

Poor design 

The other cause of cyclists’ complaint is due to the cycle lane design. The media periodically reports examples of the more ludicrous shortcomings, but there is a huge amount of published design guidance out there from dimensions (width) to access control.

The problem is that this is only guidance, so carries no statutory authority. If a cyclist is injured in a dismount due to for example an inconveniently located bollard lacking retro reflective material or a street sign pole in the middle of a cycle lane the Highway Authority will try to escape liability irrespective of all the published guidance which it may have breached by arguing what’s known as the common law test of foreseeable danger.

Which makes life altogether much less predictable. Despite all the erudite works on cycleway design and engineering written by qualified experts in the field and published by the DfT, the claimant will still have to overcome the inherent resistance to highway claims held by certain judiciary who’ll likely not have ridden anything much since a bike with handlebar streamers and stabilizers.

Vehicles

The Highway Code prohibits motor vehicles from entering or parking in an on- carriageway cycle lane defined by a solid white line and instructs drivers to avoid driving or parking in a lane identified by a broken white line “unless unavoidable”. Honoured more in the breach than the observance in practice.

Despite clearly being marked as to be used by cyclists only, cycle lanes are a common place for cycling accidents to take place. It could be that car drivers use cycling lanes as place for overtaking other vehicles, it could be that they are using the lane as a place to temporarily stop whilst dropping other passengers, or it could be that vehicles have parked in the cycling lane, causing cyclists to swerve into the path of other road users. Whatever the situation causing a vehicle other than a bicycle to be in a cycling lane, the implications of this can often mean that a cyclist is seriously injured or even killed.

Common difficulties with cycle lane claims

Although it is possible to win an injury claim due to failures in design and construction, the Highway Authority will have a major sense of humour failure because it implies that their Highway Engineers and Highway Inspectors are not up to speed with the guidance or for whatever reason have failed to apply it.

An injury due to a defect is a more straightforward proposition, but the inevitable retort from the Highway Authority will be “It wasn’t there when we last inspected, so we’re not liable. Thanks for telling us though, we’ll go mend it”. The answer is to keep an eye on the defect while 6 months ticks by and if it remains unfixed, present a claim. Essential to have images and measurements as at the time of the crash and not X months down the line.

Irrespective of how cycle friendly a Local Authority may appear from the cycling pages on its website, present a claim arising from a cycle facility failure and it is likely to be a different experience.

How can we help?

We can assist you with a claim at no initial cost to you in most cases. Almost all of our cyclist road accident claims are funded through a Conditional Fee Agreement. More commonly known as a no win, no fee agreement, this will mean you will only pay for our services if you are successful in your claim.

Why choose Cycle SOS?

As cyclists ourselves, we know the dangers the roads present and have seen first-hand, the consequences that cycling accidents can have on both the cyclist and on their families.

If you have been affected by the death of someone close to you in a cycling accident and are making a claim on their behalf, we are here to provide you with the support and assistance to ease your suffering.

At Cycle SOS, we are not just cyclists and solicitors, but also cycling safety campaigners too. Cycle lanes should be free from other traffic and should be a safe place for cyclists to complete their journey. However, this is not always the case and unfortunately, cycle lane accidents do occur. To minimise the occurrences of these accidents, we regularly support campaigns raising awareness of cycling safety.

Led by Paul Darlington, we are committed to cycling safety issues and are supporters of many initiatives introduced to increase the safety of cyclists in Great Britain. Initiatives we have worked with, include Cycling England, the Cycling Demonstration Town project and various cycle city expos.

Call us for free on 0808 100 9995 to receive specialist advice and assistance in beginning your claim.