Cycling accidents in cycle lanes

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The UK has experienced a huge surge in cycling in the past few years. The average number of cycling trips per person rose 26% from 2019 to 2020, and the number of cyclists on A-roads surpassed drivers on more than 40 roads, according to Department for Transport figures.

The increase in cycling popularity has led to more painted cycling lanes and shared bus lanes. In London alone, 62 miles of new cycle lanes were introduced in one year between 2020 and 2021.

While these measures are designed to provide space and safety for those travelling by bike, some argue they are failing to protect cyclists.

A recent study by the University of Westminster and funded by The Road Safety Trust, found that painted cycle lanes and shared bus lanes tend to increase the likelihood of injuries, compared to having no cycling infrastructure. While features like cycle lanes help to separate cyclists from vehicles, they don’t reduce the risk of accidents.

Common problems that cause accidents in cycle lanes

Cycle lanes are defined by a solid white line. This indicates to drivers that they should not drive or park in the lanes unless it is ‘unavoidable’, as laid out in The Highway Code.

In addition, significant changes have recently been made to The Highway Code, including the introduction of a hierarchy of road users. This aims to create ‘clearer and stronger priorities’ for road users most at risk of serious collisions, such as cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders.

Despite these rules, common causes of accidents in cycle lanes often involve driver errors. For example:

  • Drivers using cycling lanes as a place to overtake other vehicles.
  • Drivers temporarily stopping in cycle lanes to drop off passengers.
  • Vehicles parking in cycle lanes, forcing cyclists to swerve into the road in front of other drivers.

Poor design of cycle lanes and infrastructure is another common reason for cycling accidents. Although there is a wealth of guidance on how to design cycle lanes, there are no statutory rules on how to design and implement cycleway design. This often leads to poor execution that fails to protect cyclists.

How to get help with cycling injury claims

Anna Cole, Director of Novum Law and head of our serious personal injury team in Swindon, says:

“When cycling lanes are well designed, they can be a great benefit to cyclists. The problem is that many are constructed in haste and fail to make the roads safer for people on bikes.

“We also see many instances where careless driving or parking has caused unnecessary accidents in cycle lanes. It’s important for cyclists to know their rights so they understand who is at fault in the unfortunate event of an accident taking place.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, it is important to speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor who specialises in cycling accident compensation claims. This ensures you receive the best medical treatment, rehabilitation and support available, and secure maximum compensation.

Our solicitors have many years of experience helping cyclists secure cycling accident compensation. To book a free, no obligation chat with us, call 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form.

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