Cyclists to be exempt from stringent injury compensation reforms

Posted Sep 28, 2018.
In what has been hailed as a ‘victory for common sense’, charity Cycling UK are delighted that the government, in a second reading of a House of Commons Bill, has announced that the planned and more restrictive legal reforms in the personal injury sector will now exclude cyclists.

The government’s planned legal reforms, announced in December 2016 and which are primarily aimed at tackling the volume of supposedly spurious whiplash claims from motorists and their passengers at the behest of the insurance industry who pay for such claims, means that the small claims limit would rise from £1,000 to £5,000. The impact of this rise on lower value personal injury claims is huge as legal costs – ie, the costs incurred by a solicitor bringing a claim on behalf of their client – are not recoverable as part of the overall settlement. This means that should a claimant want to bring a claim for injury compensation valued at under £5,000, they will have to pay for professional legal representation out of their own pocket, or deal with the claim directly and fall at the mercy of the insurance companies and their large legal teams. 

Fair compensation is key

Cycling UK has campaigned for over 12 months for cyclists to be exempt from this draconian and restrictive change in the law, as statistics show that almost three-quarters of all claims made by cyclists who have been injured in an accident that wasn’t their fault would fall into the proposed £5,000 small claims limit. Other ‘vulnerable road users’ such as horse riders, motorcyclists and pedestrians will also be exempt from the increase to £5,000, with a new limit of £2,000 to be introduced. This means that in most cases individuals will still be able to fight claims in conjunction with a lawyer or solicitor of their choice who can secure the most appropriate settlement and compensation award depending on their specific circumstances.

Cycling injuries

A Cycling UK spokesperson commented: 

“Cycling UK is relieved the government has at last listened to reason and dropped plans to increase the small claims limit for vulnerable road users to £5,000. This is a victory for common sense and ensures the interests of victims are put first…Increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 would have cheated pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from full compensation after being injured on our roads…common injuries including among these groups include fractured collarbones and wrists, all of which usually sit below the proposed £5,000 threshold.”