On Your Bike – Keeping Safe on the Roads

When it comes to health and general well-being few activities can match cycling.  You have all the benefits of being outdoors, exercising and you can get to where you want to go for free.  Sadly, despite all these positive advantages, cyclists are the most vulnerable people on our roads and every year many of them suffer injury or tragically lose their lives.

Here are a few facts that highlight the risks cyclists take every time they venture out on the roads:

• In 2012, 118 cyclists lost their lives on Britain’s roads, up by 10 per cent on the previous year.

• 6 people were killed on bikes in less than two weeks on London roads in November 2013.

• Accidents whereby cyclists suffered serious injuries were up by 4 per cent to 3,222 in 2012.

So what are the main causes of death or serious injury to cyclists?  More importantly, how can cyclists protect themselves so they can stay safe on Britain’s roads?

According to a recent report by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the most common contributory factor to motor vehicle collisions with cyclists recorded by police is “failure to look properly”.   In 57 per cent of cases the driver of the vehicle failed to do this and in 43 per cent of cases it was the cyclist.  Many accidents occur when cyclists are entering the road from the pavement. Additionally, drivers turning or manoeuvring without proper care accounts for 17 per cent of serious accidents in the UK.

Whilst cars and taxis are the most common type of vehicle involved in road traffic collisions with cyclists, heavy vehicles pose a particular danger, especially in London.  To illustrate this, in November 2013 when six cyclists were killed in less than two weeks in the nation’s capital it was found five of the accidents involved a truck, bus or coach. Statistics also show that accidents commonly occur when a cyclist is turning left at a junction or if a large vehicle such as a bus passes too close.

So what can a cyclist do to protect themselves when they are on the road?

Wear a helmet

According to a RoSPA report from 2013, head injuries are extremely common in cycling accidents.  In a study of 116 cyclists it was found head injuries occurred in 70 per cent of the fatal accidents in London and 80 per cent of fatal accidents on rural roads.

A comprehensive study done in America in 2009 found that wearing a helmet reduced the risk of head and brain injury by 63 per cent to 88 per cent even if a car was involved.  The authors of the study concluded “Helmets reduce bicycle-related head and facial injuries for cyclists of all ages involved in all types of crashes, including those involving motor vehicles.”

Although it may mess up your hairstyle, there is no denying that wearing a cycle helmet is the best thing you can do to reduce your chances of receiving serious or even fatal head injuries if you are involved in a cycling accident.

Make Sure You Are Visible

Use the lights on your bike in bad weather conditions and after dark, and ensure you wear brightly coloured, reflective clothing.

Cycle Defensively

Make sure you make eye-contact with other drivers and always indicate your intentions when turning or stopping by using the correct hand signals.  Be aware of cars parking who may open their car door without seeing you approach and ride the width of a car door away from parked cars.  Avoid cycling on the inside of trucks and buses as they may not be able to see you.  If you are cycling on the inside of a large vehicle they may be unable to see you when they make a left turn manoeuvre so be very aware of the vehicle’s movements and indication.

Cycling is a healthy, fun activity which can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  By taking a few simple precautions you can enjoy riding your bike and avoid any nasty injuries.

French Police Investigate Coach Crash

French police are investigating a coach crash in the Alps which may have been caused by a fault with the brakes. The accident involved a coach owned by a firm based in County Durham, which was carrying 50 British youngsters who’d been on a skiing holiday in the area. Three of the passengers were critically injured and the 64 year old driver was killed.

Under French law, the bus should have been safety checked by local police before starting its journey down the steep mountainside. So far, investigations suggest that the safety assessment, which would have checked the brakes, didn’t take place. And whilst it hasn’t been confirmed that brake failure caused the crash, local police have said that ‘it is one of the strongest hypotheses.’

Statistically, coach travel is relatively safe but sadly, accidents like this happen every year – and not just during the skiing season. The outcome of this incident is still unknown, but if the investigation finds that it could have been prevented, the injured passengers and the coach driver’s family may be entitled to claim compensation.

The same rule applies to anyone injured in a coach accident that was caused by someone else’s actions, negligence or omission, whether the incident happened in the UK or abroad. Coach-related accidents don’t have to involve a crash or collision. Passengers can also claim for injuries caused by other things, such as luggage falling off a rack or unsafe steps that cause slips and trips when embarking or leaving the coach.

If you’ve been injured in a coach accident, don’t suffer in silence. Claiming compensation isn’t just about getting financial redress for your experience. By speaking up, you’ll also highlight the health and safety issues that caused the incident – helping prevent other people being affected in the future.

Find out today if you can claim

Injury Lawyers 4U are ready and waiting to help with your claim. We’re a national network of specialist personal injury lawyers who’ve dealt with dozens of successful coach accident compensation claims. Our aim is to get you all the compensation you’re entitled to, whilst helping you access the support and services you need to recover from your injuries.

Call us today on 0845 345 4444 – we’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or complete our simple online form here and a legal expert will call you back.

Road Accidents – Your Next Steps

Road accidents sometimes happen due to no fault of our own.  The results can vary dramatically. Whether you are the victim of a huge pile-up or a crash that means your car is completely unfixable, both incidents will need to be addressed accordingly.

If you feel like you have been left a little confused by the whole ordeal and feel a little unsure about what to do after the event of the accident, a wise decision would be to invest in the help of an accident specialist. He or she will be able to tell you a little more about road accident claims.

Vehicle collisions

As well as the general public, someone that works alongside vehicles can often become subject to a road related injuries. Just as a window cleaner is more susceptible to a fall from a height, those that work on the road are more vulnerable to a vehicle related injury.

Quite often this is due to a lack of concentration. Phone calls, other cars, eating and texting sometimes distract drivers. Even though all these acts should be avoided at all costs whilst operating a vehicle, many people quite simply can’t resist the temptation.

In order to warn drivers of such accidents, some employers will explain the risks to their drivers prior to them beginning the role. Distracting activities are in fact the cause of the majority of road related incidents. This is quite frustrating, especially when each and every one of the above activities can be avoided.

Making a claim

Most road related incidents end in a claim. The insurance will only cover a small cost of a new car and most drivers will need extra funds in order to help them gain a full recovery. Compensation will cover the likes of medical costs, living costs and vehicle repairs.

In order to make a claim you will need to contact a road accident claims specialist. He or she will then be able to guide you through the entire procedure. More often than not, they will only require a small amount of information from you. Once they have received this, they will then allow you to get on with your life whilst they work on getting you every penny you deserve.

You will receive regular phone calls and emails in order to tell you how the case is going. Once the claim has been made and a cost has been settled, the solicitor will take his or her fees out of the other parties’ contribution. This means that you won’t be required to pay a penny out of your own back pocket.

Life after an accident

Getting back into a car after a crash may seem like a daunting experience, however if you don’t do it as soon as possible after the event, you may never be able to get in a vehicle again.

Take it slowly and allow yourself enough time for a full recovery. Going back to work too early could result in adverse effects.

If you require physiotherapy in order to mend damaged muscles, be sure to follow all the advice given by your therapist.