Posted on September 07, 2017
Duncan Sutcliffe, director, Mann Broadbent, offers the following advice:
"Yesterday I was waiting to cross the road near the Tower of London when a pedestrian stepped out in front of a cyclist. Fortunately the cyclist took evasive action and no one was badly hurt. I witnessed the event, but in different circumstances, and if it had been more serious, it could have been difficult to prove who was at fault. By coincidence, yesterday in Prime Minister’s Questions (6th September 2017) Theresa May was asked if laws needed reviewing following the tragic death of pedestrian Kim Briggs, who was killed in a collision with cyclist Charlie Alliston. In this case an archaic law was used to prosecute but there have also been many other cases in recent years where cyclists have been involved in legal disputes following collisions; we have even seen a significant claim brought against a cyclist participating in a triathlon.
"In cases where legal action is taken it can be very distressing and costly to defend.
"Some are insisting that cyclists are made subject to compulsory liability insurance and registration in a similar way that drivers of motor vehicles are under the Road Traffic Act. This would certainly make compensation for victims and legal defence for cyclists easier, it might also encourage safer cycling.
"However counter arguments include questions on how compulsory insurance or registration would be monitored, at what age should cyclists be forced to insure, and how does this encourage cycling when we are trying to reduce congestion and promote health? And if cyclists need to be regulated then what about pedestrians who can also cause accidents?
"Undoubtedly the discussion will rage on as there are passions on all sides of the debate. Most cyclists, like most drivers, do not intentionally risk collision or injury to others but it can happen.
"If you are worried about finding yourself involved in a collision and in need of legal support and associated costs you may want to consider insurance. Membership of a cycling club may provide this, and some household polices might do so as well, alternatively you can purchase specific cycle insurance that can provide public liability cover, legal support and can also cover damage to or theft of your bike and equipment."
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