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Cycling injury specialist welcomes recommendations from cross-party inquiry into Cycling and the Justice System

The findings of a cross-party inquiry on Cycling and the Justice System has been published and calls for more to be done to protect vulnerable road users.

3 May 2017

Sally Moore, head of the personal injury team at Leigh Day, gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) inquiry and has welcomed the report’s recommendations.
In particular, Ms Moore supported the recommendation that cyclists and pedestrians be excluded from the government’s proposed increase to the small claims limit from £1,000 to £5,000 for personal injury road collision cases, ensuring that cyclists and pedestrians can obtain the appropriate level of legal representation in these cases.
Ms Moore said: “The proposal to increase the small claims limit to £5,000 would have a disproportionately adverse impact on cyclists and other vulnerable road users.   Unlike collisions involving rear shunts, cyclists’ cases are often hard-fought by insurers and if you are injured whilst cycling your best chance of securing funds for rehabilitation and compensation from an insurer is with a lawyer fighting your corner.  It is pleasing that the APPCG report recognises the injustice that the increase will lead to and opposes it.”
The report, which was sponsored by Leigh Day, has made 14 recommendations to improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians including revision of the Highway Code, higher standards of police investigation in all serious injury cases and for all police forces to adopt close passing enforcement practice.
The report states: “The justice system is failing to protect cyclists, both by allowing dangerous and inconsiderate driving to go unchecked, and by letting down the victims of road crashes.”
One of the key findings of the report was that there had been a huge reduction in the number of people disqualified from driving over the last 10 years.  A reduction in the number of specialist road policing officers over the same period was also highlighted.
The report states that driving should be regarded as a privilege not a right and drivers committing serious driving offences and repeat offenders should have their driving licences withdrawn.  
Ms Moore told the inquiry that of the police investigation files her team obtains as part of their civil claims on behalf of injured cyclists “we see some shockingly bad ones and we see some good ones. Some of the poorer investigations arise because the police do not appreciate how serious the injury is... where it is a slight injury our clients feel that the police treat them dismissively.”
One of Ms Moore’s clients, Julie Dinsdale, also gave evidence to the inquiry. Ms Dinsdale was hit by a lorry in October 2015 which resulted in the loss of her leg. The driver was convicted for careless driving and was fined just £625 and given five points on his licence. Julie told the inquiry she wanted a more significant penalty and was particularly concerned that the driver continued to operate HGVs.
The report stated:
“We heard from lawyers representing injured cyclists that the deficiencies with police investigation - and the costs of obtaining police investigation files - often impeded cases, while in other cases, disputes over liability and damages meant that insurers were sometimes slow to compensate. Julie Dinsdale had to wait 14 months before interim payments began, which affected her rehabilitation from her crash.”
Ms Moore added:
“We welcome the inquiry’s recommendations which, if implemented, will not only make the roads a safer place for cyclists and pedestrians but will benefit all road users. It is crucial that these recommendations are now put into action swiftly and effectively.
“Cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit and it an easy way to incorporate exercise into people’s daily routines. We hope that action taken as a result of this report will give more people the confidence to enjoy cycling on our roads.”

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