Cycling Accidents Involving A Car

9 Feb 2024 | Sam Collard
bike hit by car

Table of Contents

Knocked off your bike by a car

Cycling is incredibly good for your physical and mental health; but despite substantial investments in cycle lanes and safety measures, many cyclists fear being hit by a motorist.

The fact is, however careful you are when cycling on UK roads – there are drivers who fail to be alert to cyclists. A vehicle turns left without checking their wing mirror; a car cuts across you on a cycle lane or a roundabout; or pulls out of a side road and collides with a bicycle.

Unfortunately, any pedal cyclist hit by a car may suffer serious, potentially life-changing injuries. And with the number of cyclists on the road increasing – so are cycling accidents. In 2022, 4,056 pedal cyclists were seriously injured (91 fatally) and at least 11,500 were slightly injured – and that’s just those that were reported.

Osbornes Law are expert cycling accident solicitors and represent injured cyclists, as well as the families of cyclists who have tragically been killed in a traffic accident.

Seeking legal assistance after being hit by a car

We understand how distressing these accidents are and how difficult the road to recovery can be (not to mention regaining the confidence to get back on your bike).

Claiming personal injury compensation from the at fault motorist can make all the difference in your recovery. Osbornes Law are specialist cycling injury lawyers with years of experience recovering compensation for cyclists who have been injured on the road.

For a free initial assessment with an experienced cycling injury lawyer contact us on 020 7485 8811. We’ll discuss your options with you and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

What causes collisions between cyclists and cars?

A motorist who fails to drive to the standards expected of a reasonably competent driver puts vulnerable road users, such as pedal cyclists, in serious danger. The figures show the scale of the problem: between 2018 and 2022, there were a reported 64,022 cyclist casualties (including 248 fatalities) where another car was involved.

The most common causes of collisions between cars and cyclists include:

  • Failure on the part of a motorist to look properly
  • Failure to judge a cyclist’s path speed
  • Failure to give a cyclist priority
  • Careless or reckless car drivers
  • Motorist executing a poor manoeuvre or turn
  • Failure to check wing mirrors
  • Opening car doors without checking for approaching cyclists
  • Fatigued motorists
  • Speeding or travelling too fast for the road or weather conditions
  • Driver under the ‘influence’
  • Car not have its lights on when dark or in poor visibility

A motorist is not always at fault (or 100% to blame). Occasionally, a cyclist may be partly responsible for what happened, for example in these scenarios:

  • Failing to look properly or failing to judge a car’s speed
  • Being in a hurry
  • Carelessly entering the road from the pavement
  • Wearing dark clothing
  • Losing control of the bicycle
  • Not having lights
  • Cycling while being impaired by drugs of alcohol

Even if you believe you were partly to blame, you should still seek legal advice as you could still claim compensation.

What types of injuries are caused?

Cyclists are classed as vulnerable road users because of the high risk of injury it they are involved in an accident. They have next to no physical protection – and it’s not hard to imagine how a cyclist can be seriously injured if they are hit by a motor vehicle. A head on collision, for example, could prove fatal.

While lucky cyclists may walk away with little more than a few cuts and bruises, serious cycling injuries caused by collisions with a car include:

Some of these cycling injuries are life-changing, having a profound and devastating impact on your life and that of your family. Our cycling experts are passionate about supporting injured cyclists and ensuring they recover maximum compensation.

Legal Framework and Cyclist Rights

As a cyclist, what are my rights on the road?

Cyclists have the right to expect motorists to drive with due care to avoid the risk of injury to them. Reassuringly, cyclists’ rights have increased in recent years in response to the significant rise in the numbers of cyclists on Britain’s roads.

The Highway Code (the official ‘how-to’ manual for UK drivers) was updated in 2022 to better protect cyclists by making driver’s responsibilities more robust.

Driver responsibilities

Car drivers have a legal duty of care to minimise the risk to other road users. They also have specific responsibilities to protect vulnerable road users, such as pedal cyclists.

The Highway Code makes clear what additional precautions car drivers ‘must’ or ‘should’ take to protect cyclists. These include:

Overtaking – Leaving at least 1.5 metres room when overtaking a cyclist at a speed of up to 30mph (and a wider gap if travelling faster than 30mph)

At junctions – Motorists must give way to cyclists at junctions – whether they are travelling straight ahead, or turning into or out of a junction. This applies even if the cyclist is using a cycle lane.

Opening car doors – Motorists must not open car doors or allow them to be opened without first checking to see if any cyclists are approaching. This can cause ‘dooring’ injuries and may be a criminal offence. For more information on dooring, read here

At roundabouts – Cars must give way to cyclists who are travelling on a roundabout and allow cyclists to move across lanes ahead of them. They must not overtake a cyclist on the lane they are in. For more information on cycling accidents on roundabouts, read here

Any motorist who fails to adhere to the rules risks (at the very least) a financial penalty.

Cases and legal precedent

A challenge lawyers frequently have to deal with is whether, and to what extent, a cyclist was to blame for what happened (known in law as ‘contributory negligence’). While every case is considered in the context of the full circumstances, court rulings frequently provide helpful clarification on areas such as contributory negligence.

In 2015, for example, the High Court ruled that a cyclist who was standing on her pedals in the middle of the road (only just within her side of the road) was 25% to blame for the ensuing collision which caused catastrophic injuries.

The judge made the important observation that a ‘counsel of perfection’ should not be imposed on car drivers. Even so, cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users; and in this case (despite the claimant’s positioning), a reasonably prudent driver would have braked immediately and stopped – allowing her to pass safely.

In 2017, a cyclist was found 20% to blame for an accident in which he collided with a van – even though the driver was convicted of a driving offence and admitted negligence. The cyclist, who was left paralysed, had been taking part in a time trial and was cycling in a ‘head down’ position: he failed to see the van when he would otherwise have done (Rickson v Bhakar | [2017] EWHC 264).

Immediate Steps after being hit by a car

If you are involved in a collision with a car, we know you are likely to be injured and unable to take any immediate action. In our experience – as keen cyclists and lawyers – we know that witnesses and other members of the public are exceptionally helpful and concerned, and will do what’s necessary to get emergency help.

But if you are able to (and if it’s safe to do so) it is important to take a few initial steps, such as getting the driver’s details. Read more about what to do here.

 

Pursuing a Legal Claim

Starting your claim for injuries caused after a cycle/car collision is straightforward. 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 and what it involves.

For more information read here.

Compensation and Recovery

If you’ve been hit by a car, you should be able to claim compensation for your injuries and the wider impact on your life. We will hold the motorist (via their insurance company ) legally responsible for what happened to you.

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on several factors such as the severity of your injuries and the extent of the impact on your life. We know that cyclists involved in car accidents are sometimes seriously injured, sometimes catastrophically.

We will claim maximum compensation for your injuries, as well as loss of earnings, medical costs and other financial costs stemming from the accident. In serious cases, compensation payouts can be substantial: if you’ve been left unable to work; requiring carers; adaptations at home; and so on – we will take into account the full financial impact of the accident on your life.

Our experienced cycling injury team will be pleased to discuss your compensation with you.

You can read here for more information about personal injury compensation and what it can cover.

Clients we have helped who have been hit by a car while cycling

The specialist cycling injuries team here at Osbornes Law has a formidable track record of recovering substantial damages for cyclists injured in collisions with cars.

£335,000 for fatal hit and run

A particularly distressing case Osbornes settled was that of a newly-wed who was cycling home in the early hours when she was killed by a hit and run driver. The driver was travelling at 50mph in a 20mph zone, tried to overtake another car and hit our client head-on. Her bike was broken in two and he left her dying from multiple injuries. The driver was eventually jailed for 6 years; and we negotiated a £335,000 payout for her family.

£50,000 for cyclist hit by Porsche

In 2023, our team negotiated a £50,000 settlement for a cyclist who was hit by a Porsche sports car at a London junction. The car undertook a lorry and collided with our client’s bike, throwing him to the ground. He was left with a brain injury and serious fractures to the face, collarbone and skull.

£40,000 for IT worker

An IT worker cycling to work straight ahead on a London cycle lane was hit by a car that turned right, crossing his path. He suffered chronic injuries to his shoulder, elbow and wrist and was left with long-term problems. Our team negotiated a settlement of £40,000 to reflect the longer term consequences for our client.

You can read more injured cycling compensation wins here.

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 cyclists, many serious injured.

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.

Contacting Osborne’s Law

We understand that making the first step to getting legal advice can be difficult. Our specialist cycling injury lawyers 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.

Additional Resources

Links to safety guidelines and preventive measures for cyclists

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