Cycle Lane Accidents6 Feb 2024 | Sam Collard
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If you’re fortunate to live in an area with dedicated cycle lanes – and many councils are increasingly investing in them – the risk of an accident is drastically reduced.
Cyclists are vulnerable road users, so if a vehicle is involved in a cycling lane accident the cyclist could be seriously injured. These accidents are distressing and usually avoidable.
Seek legal help
Almost all cycle lane accidents are caused by careless drivers or hazards in the cycle lane. If you’ve been injured while travelling in a cycle lane, you will want to know your legal rights and how to claim personal injury compensation.
Osbornes Law has been seeing a significant increase in the number of cycling injury clients. It’s little surprise given the surge in the number of Britons taking up cycling in the last few years. In 2022, for example, 7.6 million people were cycling on the roads in England (Statista).
Get in touch with us to arrange a free assessment with an experienced cycling injury lawyer at Osbornes Law on 020 7485 8811. We can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Cycle Lane Accident Dynamics
Cycle lanes are, by their very nature, designated cycling routes that are clearly marked by signs and road markings. They are kerb-side lanes designed to be safe routes for cyclists, whether you’re travelling from A to B – or cycling for leisure.
Don’t assume all dedicated cycle lanes are always traffic-free because they’re not. You don’t have to use them but they are provided for cyclists’ safety. Note that the Highway Code says cyclists should keep within the lane when practicable.
Given that cycle lanes are substantially narrower than road lanes, it’s not hard to see how any vehicle illegally on a cycle lane could cause an accident. The most common causes of cycle lane accidents are:
- Vehicles or motorbikes entering a cycle lane
- Careless bus or coach drivers
- Unexpected obstacles in a cycle lane
- Illegally parked vehicles
- Collisions with other cyclists
- Poorly maintained roads/cycle paths creating cycling hazards
- Poorly designed cycle lanes
Legal Considerations and Rights
Cycling on pavements is illegal in the UK and designated cycle lanes represent a welcome and sensible compromise.
However, cycle routes are not universally the same. If you’re unfamiliar with the differences, you’re putting yourself at potential risk.
Mandatory cycle lanes – These are marked with a continuous white line; cycle symbols on the road; and a white and blue sign. Always be aware of signs indicating the hours of operation where a cycle lane may not be in operation.
Advisory cycle lanes – Marked by a broken line and bike symbols. Motorists are allowed to enter the lane if it is clear of bicycles.
Shared lanes – Some lanes are designed to be shared by cyclists and buses. Other motorists are not permitted onto shared lanes except when there are signs indicating they can at specific times.
Contra-flow cycle lanes – Lanes allowing cyclists to travel in both direction on an otherwise one-way street
As a responsible cyclist, get to know the differences between the lanes and always be alert to the movement of traffic around you. Even if you’re travelling on a cycle lane, continue to signal when necessary, be mindful of other cyclists and adhere to the usual rules of safe cycling.
Motorists and other vehicle drivers have important legal responsibilities when they travel near cycle lanes. They have the general duty to drive with the reasonable skill and care expected of a competent and experienced driver.
This includes not illegally entering a cycle lane or parking there, nor should they use cycle lanes as a convenient drop off or pick up place.
Motorists must also be cautious when opening doors near a cycle lane, checking to see if there are any approaching cyclists – otherwise they risk a dooring accident.
Notable Legal Cases
Cycle lane accidents have presented legal challenges that have helpfully clarified the law to some extent. One issue that lawyers have to consider is whether the injured cyclist was to blame for the incident in any way (eg failing to signal while in or entering a cycle lane). This is known in law as ‘contributory negligence’.
If a cyclist is partly to blame for what happened, the question is then how blame is to be fairly apportioned.
In a 2002 case (Clenshaw v Turner), a cyclist was riding on a cycle lane head down in a ‘racing position’ and failed to see a lorry indicating to turn left. The cyclist was found 50% to blame for the ensuing accident.
Separately, a notable ruling in 2006 clarified that cyclists do not have to use a dedicated cycle lane – they have as much right to use the road as anyone else. The cyclist in that case was found not to have contributed to his accident, however, each case is considered on its particular facts.
Steps Following an Accident
If you are involved in a cycle lane, try to take some initial steps if you’re physically able to (and it’s safe to do so).
Read more about what to do here.
Filing a Claim for a Cycle Lane Accident
Starting your claim for a cycle lane accident is simple. Contact the specialist cycling injury team at Osbornes Law on 020 7485 8811 and we can explain how we can help you file your claim.
Read more about what to do here.
If you’ve been hurt in a cycle lane accident, you could claim compensation.
The person at fault – whether that’s a motorist or the highways authority – should be held legally responsible to pay you compensation for your injuries, as well as loss of earnings, medical costs and other financial costs resulting from the accident.
How much compensation you will receive depends on several factors such as the severity of your injuries, but our experienced cycling injury team will discuss this with you.
You can read here for more information about personal injury compensation and what it can cover.
How we have helped other clients
£25,000 payout for cycle lane accident
Osbornes Law recovered £25,000 for a client who was hit by a car while travelling along a cycle lane. The motorist pulled out of a minor road crossing the cycle path without giving way, hitting the cyclist. Our client suffered deep facial lacerations which left permanent scarring and loss of sensation.
We settled without the need to issue court proceedings following negotiations with the driver’s representatives.
Osbornes Law specialist cycling solicitors
The service we provide is unique given our recognised expertise and reputation in recovering compensation for the victims of cycling accidents. Osbornes has been exclusive legal partner to London Cycling Campaign (LCC) for 10 years, during which time we have helped countless of cyclists. Our specialist lawyers not only focus on achieving a financial settlement for their clients, they also ensure access to the best medical treatment, including any rehabilitation therapies that might be needed.
Our approach is simple: we are uniquely familiar with the predicament of our cycling clients. We are also experts in securing early admissions of liability from insurance companies; and experienced in building robust cases in order to secure early settlement – allowing clients to get on with their lives.
With our experience, we bring a personal approach to each client. We advise with empathy and full appreciation of the significant impact cycling injuries have on victims and their families.
Contact and Support
We understand that making the first step to getting legal advice can be difficult. Our specialist cycling injury are able to provide a free initial assessment to help you start your cycle lane injury claim.
A specialist cycle injury lawyer will make an initial evaluation of whether you have a good chance of winning compensation. Assuming you have a case, we will explain what happens next and what we need from you get your claim started.
Get in touch with the team at Osbornes Law on 020 7485 8811. Alternatively, complete our online contact form and we will be pleased to call you when convenient.
Links to safety guidelines and preventive measures for cyclists
Speak to us about a cycle lane accident claim
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
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