Why Are Cycle Accident Claims On The Rise?

June 27, 2018

Cycle Compensation Claims Are Increasing

Among cyclists, autumn and winter is the time of the year when the nagging urge to park the bicycle in the shed to hibernate is at its strongest. Not only is the cold setting in, but the days get shorter and the clocks go back.

A spate of recent headlines documenting the tragic death of cyclists on Britain’s roads adds to the sense of unease. Statistically, the number of compensation claims on UK roads has actually fallen over the past 15 years – improvements in emergency service response time appear to have helped. However, during that same period, the figure for seriously injured casualties has risen, by 31 per cent. There has been a particular increase in the numbers of cyclists suffering severe trauma injuries.

Mr Ian Hunt, a specialist cardiothoracic surgeon, is one of only a handful of UK specialists treating severe chest wall trauma. He speculates that faster bikes and fitter riders are a contributing factor to what he’s seeing on the operating table. The key is the increase in people riding lighter and faster bikes alongside bigger, more powerful cars on roads that are the same width they’ve always been.

“I’d estimate that around one-fifth of all the chest trauma injuries I treat are cyclists. I’m treating more penetrative wounds that I’d associate more with motorcyclists – that gives you an indication of the kinds of speeds involved. For those cycling to commute or even for a hobby there’s also an emphasis on achieving speeds that can be fatal if you have a collision.”

For Mr Noorani, consultant trauma and orthopaedic surgeon at the Princess Grace Hospital, repairing injured cyclists involved in cycle accidents is becoming increasingly common.

“I have seen a rise over the last few years both in the private sector as well as in the NHS where I work in London’s biggest and busiest trauma centre. We see some really severe injuries – life threatening ones involving the vital organs as well as the spine and pelvis. Unfortunately the least experienced cyclists tend to get more limb and life-threatening injuries. They’re more likely to be in the blind spots of vehicles, especially buses, and get seriously injured.”

As high-performance bikes become more popular and the pursuit of faster routes to work or records on social fitness apps increases, so the specialists fear that their workload will rise too. The causes of accidents are so varied – it’s just that the speeds they’re capable of reaching are making the injuries sustained so much worse.

In cycle accident claims, cyclists can receive compensation for the following:

  • Injuries caused as a result of the bike accident
  • Compensation for the damage to the cycle (replacement or repair)
  • Losses and expenses
  • Loss of earnings
  • Medical expenses
  • Prescription charges