Whether you are cycling as your daily exercise or as a method of travel to work to avoid public transport, many people are dusting off their saddles and reuniting with the cycle lanes as a result of the pandemic. Cycling is a safe and healthy activity and a practical way to get around. To to make the most of your cycling, you should know the risks, your responsibilities and what to do if something goes wrong.
Bicycles are far safer for pedestrians and other road users than most other vehicles, but not risk-free. Don’t ride on the pavement and know the rules of the road. When the sun sets you are required to have lights on your bike, so you can see where you are going but so that other people can see you too. Your bike is also legally required to have an efficient braking system. Think about insurance, it might already be cover you have.
While there is no British law to make helmets or high visibility clothing for cyclists mandatory, it is certainly very sensible to do so and the the Highway Code suggests that cyclists should wear a cycle helmet “which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened.”
Think about other road users and ride safe. I often help people injured by car doors opened into them, cars pulling out into their path, or turning left across them. You cannot prevent other road users driving badly, but it makes sense to do what you can to reduce your exposure.
In town be aware of pedestrians as they can be very unpredictable. Our cyclepaths are often shared with pedestrians so keep an eye out for walkers, kids, dogs, and the leads they are attached to.
If you go out into the wild make sure that people know where you are going, and have a charged mobile phone with you at all times. Apps that track your location can quickly drain your battery and remember that if you are in the middle of Dartmoor your mobile phone might not have good reception.
If there is an accident and people are hurt, think about the following things:
- Don’t make the situation worse. Avoid standing in the road and make sure casualties are as safe and comfortable as possible.
- If there is any risk that people have injured their head, neck or back they should not be moved but they should be made as visible, warm and safe.
- Call the Police.
- If other road users are involved, get their details including their name, address, phone number, registration and insurance details.
- It is always sensible to take pictures of the accident scene, any defect in the road or path, and it’s a useful way of recording any other vehicles involved.
- Make sure you have the details of anyone that witnessed the accident.
- If anyone is injured, then they may be entitled to compensation. They should talk to a specialist solicitor (yes, like me) who will normally be able to deal with their case on a “No win, no fee” basis. Remember that you have three years to make a claim but the earlier you start the better.
Chris Tagg is a member of our civil litigation team and can be contacted using the form below or by telephone on 01392 256854.