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Safer Cycling in a Post-Lockdown World

Paul Rossiter
Posted by: Paul Rossiter Managing Director

Huge reduction in lockdown traffic – but not cycling accidents

For a while, coronavirus brought traffic in Britain to a standstill. During the peak of the pandemic in the UK, road traffic plummeted by more than 70% to levels not seen since the 1950s. Worryingly, though, the number of accidents between cars and cyclists between March and May fell by just three per cent. Why?

A decrease in road traffic during lockdown has gone hand in hand with an increase in speeding, with police in some areas reporting a doubling in the number of speeding offences. More worrying still, the increase is greatest in 30mph zones, according to a recent RAC poll. With the vast majority (58%) of cycling happening on urban minor roads, this poses a significant threat to cyclists.

cycle traffic table.png

Source: Cycling UK

The easing of lockdown has sparked concerns that the roads could be even more congested than before the pandemic, as those returning to work try to avoid public transport due to health concerns – as well as the challenges posed to the usual commute by the reduction in bus and train services.

192% increase in cycling during lockdown 

Whether furloughed, working from home or commuting to frontline jobs, many of us have taken to cycling during the Covid-19 pandemic for exercise, fun or essential travel. Cleaner air and sunny spring weather has also contributed to a reported 192% increase in bike use. Cycling has many benefits: it’s heathy, cheap, emission-free transport. But with many more cyclists using inadequate or poorly-maintained cycle infrastructure, we are likely to see an increase in bike accident compensation claims.

In 2018, BBC 5 Live surveyed around 5,000 cyclists. Astonishingly, half had suffered a pothole-related cycling accident. More than 1,500 were injured as a result, 207 of those seriously. More than 10% of respondents said they missed work because of a pothole crash, and 31% were put off cycling. This survey was backed up by a mass freedom of information report from Cycling UK, which revealed personal injury claims for cycling accidents to councils in England and Wales are 13 times higher than motoring claims.

Safe cycling in a post-lockdown world

Cyclists are one of the three “vulnerable” road user types identified by the UK government. In 2018, cyclists were the second-most-injured road user type per billion miles travelled. So how can we reduce cycling-related accidents and injuries whilst boosting cycling numbers?

vulnerable road users.png

Source: Department for Transport


Wales has been allocated £15M to help transform how we travel safely as lockdown eases, with a focus on improving “active travel” routes: cycling and walking. The Major of London and Transport for London have said they would focus on a “complete transformation” of town centres to enable people to cycle more easily, along with ‘rapid construction’ of a strategic cycling network in order to reduce crowding on public transport.

Temporary cycle lanes are already popping up all over the UK, and local authorities have been given new powers to crack down on cycle lane misuse by motorists. Segregated bike lanes go a long way towards preventing one of our most common cycling accident compensation claims: car doors being opened into your path. Former Transport Minister Chris Graying famously knocked a cyclist off their bike in 2016, proving their worth.

But no matter how safe cycling is made, or how careful you are, you may be involved in a cycling accident that is not your fault. The debate about whether cyclists should be taxed, insured and identifiable (by some sort of licence plate) rages on. Whilst insurance is not a legal requirement, many cyclists choose to insure their bike against theft or damage in an accident. But personal injury cover for cycling accidents is less common.

Having a bike accident through no fault of your own can be painful – financially and otherwise. Compensation claims for cycling accidents extend beyond physical injury and bike damage to mental trauma, lost earnings, and personal items such as laptops and mobile phones.

It looks like the UK will be living with the risk of coronavirus for some time to come. Cycling is getting safer as cycle use increases, but the UK still lags behind its continental competitors. In that sense, the Covid-19 pandemic could be the best thing that ever happened to cycling.

About PSR Solicitors

PSR Solicitors is a leading law firm in Wales and Cheshire. Our Personal Injury solicitors have extensive experience in successfully pursing Cycling Accident Claims. We have helped hundreds of clients throughout England and Wales to successfully claim compensation for injuries sustained while cycling.

If you are looking to claim compensation for an accident on your bike and you want free advice from a fully qualified solicitor then please contact us now.

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