Q: I recently started to commute on my bike and have become more aware of the poor road surfaces on m journey. As a cyclist do we have any legal rights if there an accident as a result of the road condition?
A: Poor road surfaces contribute to almost three times more crashes involving cyclists than cars, and according to British Cycling, 12% of accidents are the result of "a defective stretch of road or a spillage or obstruction in the cyclist's path". If you have an accident because of the road conditions:
- Take a photo with your mobile phone, or return later with a tape measure and include a sense of scale.
- Report it to the local highways authority or to the National cycling charity CTC online or use the mobile app FillThatHole.
- Take pictures of any damage to your bike and any injuries you may have suffered. The Highway Authority is obliged to maintain the road properly and if this is breached the Council can be liable to pay compensation to an injured cyclist, though this is not as clear cut as you think and it is recommended to seek professional advice.
An innocent injured victim could get compensation to reflect pain, injury and suffering and repayment of any financial losses that are incurred, such as loss of wages, damage to a bicycle and clothing, and other expenses. The Government now has a Portal system to make compensation claims easier to process for road traffic or public liability claims, these cases only apply to those claims to the value of £25,000 or less.
Higher value claims follow the Personal Injury Protocol. You can make claim up to three years from the accident date.
It is recommended to seek professional specialist legal advice as soon as possible especially if there were witnesses to the accident or if you are receiving medical attention.