British Cycling is calling for the government to exclude them from plans to restrict the recovery of legal costs. They claim that under the new reforms it will be almost impossible for cyclists to receive fair compensation.
The Ministry of Justice will introduce the new restrictions next year, in an attempt to tackle fraud. At the same time though, many motorists and road users stand to lose out on compensation. There are also no guarantees that the cost of insurance premiums will decrease in line with reforms.
70% of Cyclists who suffer injury will be unable to recover legal costs
The argument from British Cycling for the government to exclude cyclists from the restrictions is certainly a strong one. Cyclists very rarely suffer whiplash injuries yet will struggle to get legal representation because of the whiplash reforms.
This is because that they will no longer be able to recover their legal costs following a claim. The majority of claims involving a cyclist fall within the £5,000 limit that the Government is proposing. British Cycling expects around 70% of cyclists who suffer injury in an accident to be unable to recover legal costs . A figure that Martin Key protests is way too high and will discourage people from choosing to cycle over driving.
“The current proposals are aimed at tackling fraudulent whiplash claims, and the government argues the reforms could save motorists £40 per year on their insurance premiums. However, whilst cyclists do not tend to suffer whiplash injuries, the reforms impact on all road users and not just drivers. It will become almost impossible for the majority of injured cyclists to get legal representation without sacrificing a significant proportion of any compensation that they receive.
“The government needs to be doing everything that it can to encourage more people to get on bikes. All this will do is put people off. We do not accept that the small claims limit needs to be changed at all. If the limits are changed, the increase should be in line with inflation only and limited to road traffic claims brought by occupants of motor vehicles.”
Number of Flaws in reforms increasing
The personal injury sector has until 2018 to try and prevent the introduction of the reforms. As their implementation gets nearer, it appears the number of flaws with the proposals continue to grow.
Cyclists are vulnerable road users. When they are victims of a road traffic accident, their injuries will almost certainly require rehabilitation and adequate recovery time. They don’t have the cushion of an airbag in the instance of a crash. They also don’t have the protection of a seat belt. To deny them the opportunity to get the compensation they need to help them recover is a bad move on many levels.
Opposition to the proposals is ever present since their introduction. The consultation period to hear people’s thoughts and opinions also drew criticism. British Cycling and Cycling UK both feel it disallowed adequate time for a sensible discussion. The growing number of flaws in the reforms certainly seem to support this.
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