For many years, the Government have tried to reduce pollution by encouraging people to avoid driving their cars where possible. The Department of Transport reported that the number of miles cycled has been on the increase in recent years; an extra 110 million miles were reportedly cycled in 2012 compared to 2010. What is perhaps good news for the environment, however, has been bad news for road safety; the number of cyclist casualties in the past few years has risen significantly.
In October 2013, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) released its annual figures in relation to cycling accidents. In 2012, there were a total of 19,091 accidents involving cyclists, 118 of these involved a fatality and 3,222 were seriously injured. However, this figure may not be entirely accurate as not all accidents involving cyclists are reported to the Police even when a serious injury occurs so, in reality, these figures will be much greater.
Most accidents involving cyclists take place in urban areas and towns and two thirds of cyclists who were killed or seriously injured were involved in accidents on a junction or roundabout. With regards to the apportionment of fault between cyclists and drivers, the Guardian reported in May 2013 that more than two thirds were held to be the fault of the motorist and 21% were caused by drivers failing to look properly. These figures clearly illustrate the vulnerability of cyclists on our roads, and the need for further care to be taken by both motorists and cyclists alike.
Last month, motorist Emma May was thrust into the limelight after she tweeted when she had clipped a cyclist, blaming him for the knock by tweeting about the incident – “#bloodycyclists”. Miss May received a £337 fine, a £300 Costs Order and seven points on her license. Prosecutor Steven Poole commented that it was Miss May’s tweet alone that brought this incident into the public arena. Luckily, the cyclist involved escaped with only minor bruising and damage to his bike but it is clear to see that the injuries sustained could have been much more severe.
If you, or a family member, have been injured in a road traffic accident (as a cyclist or a motorist) and have suffered personal injury and other loss then contact our experienced personal injury team for a free claim evaluation. Our team of solicitors have a great deal of experience in pursuing cycling accident claims, and can advise you on the best way forward in relation to your individual circumstances.
By Nick Molyneux, Personal Injury Lawyer, Lancashire