John here, with my latest blog.
Good news for cyclists and other vulnerable road users, like pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders.
I welcome the news that cyclists and other “vulnerable road users” are excluded from new laws that are going to come in.
I have lots of current and former clients in this group of road users and my experience is that they certainly are vulnerable and need protecting. They always come off worse in an accident and many of my most serious injury claims are from this group.
The new laws, that were first proposed by George Osborne in November 2015, are targeted at what the government say is an “epidemic” of whiplash claims, but would, perhaps unintentionally, have meant significantly reduced access to justice for cyclists and pedestrians injured in road traffic collisions.
The proposed increase in the “small claims limit” from £1,000.00 to £5,000.00 would mean that no legal costs would be recoverable from the insurer of an at fault driver where injuries are “worth” £5,000 or less. That would most likely leave cyclists and pedestrians fighting big, well-resourced insurance companies on their own without support.
A lot of pretty significant injuries would potentially fall in this bracket, including fractured collarbones (a very common cycling injury from going over the handlebars) and “soft tissue injuries” where symptoms persist for 2 years (a long time to have pain!)
A lengthy campaign by organisations and lobbyists representing cyclists and other vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders, has meant that the Lord Chancellor has backed down and announced that “vulnerable road users” are to be excluded from the new laws.
This is good news for my clients. I seem to have turned into an expert in cycling injury claims in Leeds and Yorkshire over the last two decades – such a great county for it.
Just need to sort out our roads and traffic systems now, so that folk can cycle more safely and avoid the daily conflict we all see, whether driving or cycling…