Cycling to Get Fit in 2019; Beware of the dangers!
The 2018 Tour de France pulled in thousands of new cycling fans after Welshman Geraint Thomas won the famed long-distance cycling race. Indeed, official figures reveal that more than three million people in the UK are heading out on their bicycles this January! For many of them it may be their first time in years on a bicycle as they use cycling as a way of getting fit. As the interest in cycling has increased so too has the number of accidents. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, there are over 18,000 reported incidents involving cyclists each year. Cathal Murray from www.jamesmcnulty.co.uk explains why cyclists are so at risk and what you should do if you have had an accident.
Why are cyclists particularly vulnerable?
High volumes of traffic combined with excessive speed and the behaviour of some motorists conspire to make cycling a potentially dangerous activity. Cyclists are some of the most vulnerable road users because of their limited ability to shield themselves and their exposure to serious injury in an accident.
Common cycling accident causes:
- vehicles turning into the path of a cyclist;
- pedestrians stepping out in front of cyclists;
- drivers of larger vehicles not giving way;
- cyclists being clipped by a passing vehicle;
- car doors being opened without looking; and
HIGHWAY CODE GUIDANCE
Cyclists should consider the advice of the Highway Code before taking to the roads:
- Helmet – Your cycle helmet should conform to the current safety regulations, be the correct size for your head and be securely fastened.
- Appropriate fitted clothing – Your clothing should be tight fitted to prevent it getting tangled in the chain or wheel of your bicycle.
- Light clothing – Light and fluorescent clothing will help you to stand out in daylight and poor light.
- Reflective accessories – Strips on the helmet, as well as armbands and ankle bands will help you be seen in the dark- use a front and rear light at all times.
- Cycling Two Abreast- Whilst cycling two abreast is permitted, cyclists should ride single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round
What to do immediately after an accident
If you are unfortunate to be involved in an accident it is important to stay calm and take the following action:
- the police should be called if someone has been injured;
- any witnesses should be asked for their name, address and phone number;
- check if anyone managed to capture the accident on their dash cam;
- get the name, address and car registration of the other vehicle;
- take photographs of the scene of the accident and in particular of all vehicles, the position of your bike and any damage or skid marks; and
- if your accident was caused by a pedestrian obtain their name and address.
- If a pothole caused your accident, take photographs from various distances.
If you wish to claim compensation the sooner you speak to a solicitor the easier it will be for them to gather the evidence they need for your case while events are still fresh in everyone’s minds. Your solicitor will deal with any attempt by the other person’s insurers to avoid paying you compensation. This could include allegations that the accident would not have happened if you had been wearing high-visibility clothing, or that you would have suffered no injury – or a less severe one – if you had been wearing a properly fitting helmet. You can recover the cost of repairing or replacing your bike, damaged clothing, lost wages and a payment to cover the value of care provided to you by family or friends.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published.