Cycling UK is appealing for the Government to drop plans to include vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, in proposals that would compromise full compensation if they are injured on the road.
Baroness Vere, the Government Whip in the Lords, said it was ‘sympathetic to the arguments’ and would continue to consider the matter. Last month, the House of Commons Justice Select Committee accepted Cycling UK’s evidence that vulnerable road users should be excluded from the changes to the compensation rules.
Cycling UK is now appealing to MPs to press the Government to commit to this exclusion when the Civil Liability Bill goes to the Commons later this month.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, said: “We’re urging MPs to do the right thing. Increasing the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 would cheat pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from full compensation after being injured on our roads. It’s common sense and would ensure the interests of victims are put before those of the insurance sector. Why wouldn’t you?”
Government proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 were announced in December 2016. These proposals would mean people claiming compensation for injuries worth less than £5,000 would not recover legal costs, even where the other party was to blame. Legal costs, when incurred, would therefore have to come from the victim, meaning victims would therefore not receive full compensation.
Mr Dollimore continued: “Common injuries including among these groups include fractured collarbones and wrists, all of which usually sit below the proposed £5,000 threshold.
“However, if the insurance industry has its way, 70 per cent of vulnerable road users would have been prevented from recovering their legal costs even when someone else is to blame for their injuries. That’s neither fair nor right.”
This would have particularly affected cyclists, as analysis of past cases by Slater and Gordon and Leigh Day Solicitors showed 70 per cent of cyclists’ compensation claims are for injuries worth fewer than £5,000, such as fractures to collarbones, elbows, and wrists.