By Daniel Janeway. Last Updated 28th July 2022. As we try to become a greener society, more and more of us turn to cycling each year as a form of commuting, exercise and fun. Dedicated lanes on roads, paths and in the countryside aim to keep cyclists safe by providing them with their own space. If an accident happens in one of these spaces though, public cycle path accident claims might be made by the victim so that they receive compensation for their injuries.
In this guide, we’re going to explain how cycling accident claims work and when you may be able to start one. If you have any questions, you can contact us here. Before you do so though, please carry on reading the whole of this guide, which should answer any questions.
Choose A Section
- A Guide To Public Cycle Path Accident Claims
- What Are Public Cycle Routes Or Cycle Paths?
- What Is A Public Cycle Route Or Path Accident?
- Cycle Accident Claims – Compensation Payout Examples
- Other Ways In Which You Can Be Compensated
- Injuries Which Could Be Caused By A Public Cycle Path Accident?
- Public Cycle Path Accidents Involving Other Vehicles
- Public Cycle Route Accidents Involving Pedestrians
- Accidents Caused By A Damaged Cycle Path Or A Lack Of Maintenance
- Public Cycle Route Accidents Caused By Negligence
- No Win No Fee Public Cycle Path Accident Claims
- How Do I Claim For An Accident On A Public Cycle Route?
- Reference Materials
A Guide To Public Cycle Path Accident Claims
Statistics published by the Department for Transport (DfT) reveal that in Great Britain in 2020, 141 cyclists were killed in reported road accidents during the year. A further 4,215 cyclists suffered serious injuries in reported road accidents and 11,938 experienced slight injuries. That means 16,294 cyclists in total were killed or hurt in reported road accidents during the year. If you’ve been in a cycling accident on a public cycle route and it was caused by another road user’s negligence, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
There are different types of cycle routes available which we’ll provide full details on later in this guide. We’ll also provide bicycle accident claim tips and information on what type of injuries can be sustained. Furthermore, we’ll advise you on bicycle accident settlement amounts in the UK.
If you’re worried about the cost of making a claim, we’ve got information on how No Win No Fee services work too.
Accidents in public places, such as being knocked off a bike while on a cycle path, can lead to serious, and sometimes life-changing injuries. Therefore, it’s only right that you might want to seek cycle accident compensation. This guide will provide you with all of the information you need about claiming for a bicycle accident, so please read on.
What Are Public Cycle Routes, Paths Or Lanes?
In the UK there are different types of cycle lanes, paths or routes that exist. Mostly the cycling infrastructure aims to help reduce cycling injuries. The different types of cycle routes are:
Cycling Lane (Advisory): This is a lane at the side of a carriageway (road) with dotted lines. Drivers are advised not to enter the cycle lane, but it’s not an offence to do so. Parking in an advisory cycle lane is usually restricted by council parking policies.
Mandatory Cycling Lane: When a cycling lane has a solid white line along it, cars cannot enter it. Cyclists can ride in it knowing that they won’t be obstructed by other vehicles and can leave it to overtake. Parking in a mandatory cycle lane is not permitted.
Cycle Path or Track: These are cycle routes which are away from the road. They are sometime separate cycle tracks or sometimes, they are a shared space with pedestrians. This means a line divides a pathway, so cyclists use one half and the other is used by pedestrians.
Other cycle tracks and paths have been designed by innovative councils trying to increase the number of cyclists. Effectively though, if a road or path is marked as for cyclists, a claim may be possible if you’re injured while using it.
Many cyclists ask, “Is it illegal to ride a bike on the path in the UK?”. The highway code clearly states, “You must not cycle on a pavement”. So officially, cycling on a footpath is an offence. The only exception is when share cycle tracks have been put into place by the local authority.
What Is A Public Cycle Route Or Path Accident?
Public cycle path accident claims can usually only be made when an accident is caused by somebody else’s negligence and the accident caused you to become injured. The responsible party must have some sort of duty of care towards the injured party too.
We’ll cover this in more detail later but examples of who might owe you a duty of care includes:
- Other cyclists, who should ride carefully to protect others.
- Local authorities, who have a duty of care to keep the cycle track safe.
- Drivers and other motorists, who also have a duty of care to other road users.
You should be aware that there is a personal injury claims time limit in the UK. This means that bike accident claims usually need to be started within 3 years of the incident you wish to claim for. For children, a parent can begin the claim while they’re still aged under 18. If not, the child has 3 years from their 18th birthday to mount their own claim.
Cycle Accident Claims – Compensation Payout Examples
You may be wondering about the potential value of successful cycle accident claims. However, if you’ve been injured in a cycling accident, claims can vary in their value due to the array of factors that need to be taken into account.
The amount that you receive in accordance with your level of pain and suffering is called general damages. For example, the nature of the injury and the extent of the damage can affect how much your settlement is worth.
Legal professionals make use of a few different resources when they are calculating an appropriate amount for this figure. For instance, they will need to take a look at the medical evidence that you submit to support your claim. Additionally, there is also a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). This contains various helpful figures that relate to injuries compensated for in past court cases. The JCG was last updated in 2022. We have included some example figures from this latest edition below. The table should give you a rough idea of how much your general damages payment could be worth.
|Brain/head||(a) Very severe - When the injured person may retain some basic ability to follow commands, but there is little evidence of any response to their environment.||£282,010 to £403,990|
|Kidney||(a) Both kidneys sustain lasting damage or are lost.||£169,400 to £210,400|
|Chest||(a) When the heart is seriously damaged and/or a lung has been removed.||£100,670 to £150,110|
|Arm||Amputation - (b)(iii) One arm amputated below the elbow.||£96,160 to £109,650|
|Arm||(d) Simple forearm fractures.||£6,610 to £19,200|
|Back||(a) Severe - (i) These injuries will be of the most severe nature where the nerve roots and spinal cord are involved.||£91,090 to £160,980|
|Psychiatric Damage||(a) Severe - A Very poor prognosis following marked issues with various factors.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|Sight||(d) The injured person will have completely lost one eye.||£54,830 to £65,710|
|Shoulder||(e) Clavicle fracture.||£5,150 to £12,240|
|Mental anguish||(E) For the event in which the injured person thinks their injuries may be fatal.||£4,670|
Get in touch for a more accurate valuation or if you need more bicycle accident claim tips.
Other Ways In Which You Can Be Compensated
The table above is just one part of any public cycle path accident claims that are made. They can include many other elements, depending on the impact to the victim. Here is a list of what might be included in any public injury claims:
- General Damages: This is paid, to the claimant, to compensate them for the pain, suffering and any loss of amenity caused by their injuries.
- Medical Costs: The costs of prescription medicines, treatments (such as physio) and over the counter medicines could also be included in a claim.
- Care Costs: If the claimant has to have professional care while recovering, they might be able to include the costs in their compensation request.
- Travel Costs: The cost of travelling to and from medical appointments might be compensated too. The same is true if the claimant has to make alternative travel arrangements while recovering.
- Damaged Property: Costs for replacing personal property, damaged in an accident, can sometimes be claimed.
- Loss of Income: This can sometimes be a large part of claim. If injuries are so serious that the claimant cannot return to work, or has to change jobs, they could claim future loss of income. The amount awarded will depend on the victims age, salary and job prospects. Claims can also include any earnings lost because of taking time off to recover.
All of the financial elements of a claim are called special damages. To prove these, it’s best to provide receipts, pay slips or bank statements that show the financial loss. Special damages aim to put you back in the same financial position as you were prior to the accident happening.
Injuries Which Could Be Caused By A Public Cycle Path Accident?
There are numerous injuries which can lead to public cycle path accident claims, but some are more common than others. Despite safety advice and government strategies to reduce the risk to cyclists, the risk of injury on a cycle path is still fairly high. Some of the more common injuries include:
- Fractures and broken bones.
- Head injuries, including concussion – even when a helmet is worn.
- Lacerations, cuts and bruises.
- Crush injuries.
- Life changing and life-threatening injuries.
As mentioned earlier, to make a successful claim for these injuries, you’ll need to prove that a) somebody else caused the accident through negligence and b) your injuries were sustained in the accident.
In the case of a fatal injury, it is possible for the family of the victim to make a claim on behalf of their estate. This can become difficult and you’ll want to make sure it’s done correctly. Using a personal injury specialist is definitely advised in cases such as these.
Public Cycle Path Accidents Involving Other Vehicles
Many cycling accidents include motor vehicles including, cars, lorries, buses, vans and motorbikes. In the same way as a car accident, if the driver of the other vehicle was responsible for the accident, you could make a claim against their insurance.
This might be because they pulled out in front of you, swerved into your path or hit you from behind. They might counter any claim if you weren’t using lights at night. Other reasons you might not be able to claim include if you rode through red lights or riding where you were not permitted to.
Public Cycle Route Accidents Involving Pedestrians
Cyclist have been injured in a public place simply because a pedestrian has walked out in front of them. This can be because the pedestrian wasn’t paying attention, didn’t hear them coming because they were wearing headphones or because they were concentrating on other, larger, vehicles when crossing the road.
If an accident is caused by a pedestrian, it is possible to make a claim. It can be tricky, so we advise you speak with a personal injury solicitor for advice. The lawyer will look at the situation to see if it’s worth pursuing the case, especially when not all pedestrians are covered by insurance as drivers should be.
Accidents Caused By A Damaged Cycle Path Or A Lack Of Maintenance
Road maintenance in the UK is governed by the Highways Act 1980. This puts a duty of care on councils or local authorities to inspect, maintain and repair roads regularly.
Potholes can be a real problem for cyclists, especially if lighting is inadequate or if they are filled with water. For a pothole to be deemed dangerous, generally it needs to be deeper than 1 inch. Following an accident, you should try to photograph the defect (including a measurement where possible) and ask witnesses to prepare a statement.
Even if a pothole caused your cycling accident, you might not be successful when claiming. Councils are able to claim that, if they can prove they’ve inspected the area within the allowed time limits, then they’re not liable for the accident. Therefore, we highly recommend using a personal injury lawyer to make your claim.
It is highly likely that the local authority will use their own legal team to defend the case. Therefore, it would make sense to have an equally competent lawyer on your side to defend or counter any legal arguments.
Public Cycle Route Accidents Caused By Negligence
To make a successful compensation claim, you will at some point need to prove negligence on behalf of the defendant. Examples of negligence might include:
- Where it can be shown that a council hasn’t inspected a road within the allowed time limits. The same could be true if a dangerous defect has been noted in an inspection but not repaired quickly.
- If a pedestrian walks out without looking, then they will have breached their duty of care to other road users.
- When another motorist hits you from behind. Negligence could be claimed for dangerous driving and careless driving as well.
- Accidents that are caused by obstructions to a cycle path. This might be when a delivery lorry parks on the cycle path, causing an accident as cyclist have to go around the lorry.
There are many other examples of negligence causing accidents on cycle paths. Essentially, if somebody else did, or didn’t do, something which caused your accident to happen, you might be able to claim against them.
Proving negligence is a key part of making a public cycle path accident claim. If you speak with a personal injury specialist about what happened, they might be able to help you decide if somebody else was responsible for your accident.
No Win No Fee Public Cycle Path Accident Claims
Most people have heard on No Win No Fee claims, but it’s not always clear what’s included and what’s not. Usually, a claim will be made against the defendant’s public liability insurance, meaning your personal injury lawyer will be dealing with the insurer for most of the claim. Here’s how No Win No Fee works in comparison to other solicitors’ services:
- No Win No Fee Solicitors
No Win No Fee agreements are also known as Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs). They provide guarantees to claimants that, if the solicitor or lawyer is unsuccessful in winning compensation, they won’t have to pay the lawyer for their service.It will also tell the claimant about the ‘Success Fee’. This is an amount of compensation that the lawyer will keep if they win the case. It’s limited to 25% but can be less. When a case is one, the compensation is sent to the solicitor, they take the success fee to pay for their service and then send the rest directly to the client.
Another option is to pay a solicitor up front. This means that they will quote an hourly rate or fixed fee for taking on your case. You’ll need to pay them upfront, from your own bank account, before they’ll proceed.
If they win the case, you’ll keep 100% of any compensation. However, if the case is lost, you’ll have lost all of the money you’ve already paid them. This could be a large amount of money, depending on the complexity of your claim.
In the past, you could also retain 100% of any compensation when using a No Win No Fee service. This is because the defendant would pay for your solicitor. The law on this changed in 2013, which means the success fee was introduced. Even so, we believe that No Win No Fee is still the least risky way of making a claim. It allows those who can’t fund a solicitor to make a claim without worrying about losing money.
How Do I Claim For An Accident On A Public Cycle Route?
When you decide to make public cycle path accident claims, there are a number of steps we advise you to take. These will make any claims much easier as you’ll be able to provide a lot of evidence to support your claim. The steps we recommend are:
- Visit a doctor or hospital. Have your injuries assessed and receive any treatment that is needed. At the same time, the doctor will record your injuries in medical records. Ask for a copy and they can be used as evidence that your injuries were sustained and how serious they were.
- In the case of road traffic accidents, get the other driver’s details. Ask for all of their contact details, their insurance provider and policy reference and their number plate.
- Photograph the scene of the accident. Try to capture as much detail as possible and do so before anything is cleared away or repaired.
- Ask any witnesses to write statements detailing what they saw when your accident happened. Get their contact details too.
- Take photos of any visible injuries. You could use these photos as extra evidence to support the medical records.
- If you contacted the police or emergency services at the time of the accident, ask them for any reports they logged at the time.
- Write down all of the financial expenses that you’ve incurred following the accident. Include any lost earnings and try to collate all of the receipts to back up these claims.
- Make a note of what happened. Include the dates, times, locations and any other relevant information.
- Once you’ve done as much of this as possible, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your claim.
Free Initial Consultation
If you would like to speak to an advisor about public cycle path accident claims, you can contact Public Interest Lawyers. Our advisors can answer questions you may have and potentially provide additional support if you have grounds to start a personal injury claim of your own. You can call us on 0800 408 7825 or you can contact us online using our contact form or our live chat service.
We hope this guide about making a public cycle route accident claim has answered all your questions. For further information, we’ve added some other useful and relevant resources below. You can also speak to our advisors if you still have any questions using the contact details above.
Public Liability Claims – How to claim for an injury against public liability insurance. This could be against a local authority or private business owner.
Public Transport Accidents – Details on making a claim against bus, train, taxi or other public transport operators.
Shop Accident Claims – Information on when you can make a claim against shops for accidents caused by negligence.
Cycle Safety Advice – Information from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents about how to stop cycling accidents from occurring.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long do cycle claims take?
There is no set amount of time in which cycle accident claims must be completed. Various circumstances can result in time scales being affected. For instance, the person who caused the injury may immediately admit liability. This could make the claim shorter.
However, if the defendant denies being responsible for your injuries, this could mean the process of making a claim takes longer.
Can I still make a claim for a cycle accident if I was to blame?
If you were solely liable for how you were injured, you would not be eligible to make a claim for compensation. However, if you only contributed to your injuries, and there was another party who was also responsible, then it’s possible you could still be awarded a partial payout.
The percentage you receive is determined by legal professionals. They decide how liable you were for your injuries and compensate you accordingly.
To illustrate, the claim may be worth £10,000. If you are judged to be 50% responsible for how your injuries were sustained, then you would receive 50% of this payout. In this instance, the amount would be £5,000.