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Cycling claims overseas

Our travel team works closely with our specialist UK cycling injury team to look after cyclists travelling abroad

Cycling abroad has never been more popular. Plenty of people are now taking their beloved bikes with them on holiday when travelling overseas.

But as the rules of the road differ by country, plus the unfamiliar pathways and language barriers, things can go wrong. You may be left by the wayside if injured in a cycling accident outside the UK.

One way to protect yourself is with the right insurance. However, that doesn’t always cover the pain and suffering you may have experienced alongside any physical injuries.

Our travel team works closely with our specialist UK cycling injury team to look after cyclists travelling abroad. We can help you get justice for your cycling accident overseas, whether you were there on holiday, competing or training.

Start your holiday cycling claim with Leigh Day today and get in touch to find out if you could be entitled to compensation.

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Cycling accidents abroad

You can fall off your bike at any time for various reasons, whether it’s due to faulty equipment or poor weather conditions. However, when an injury or accident is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to compensation.

Some common cycling incidents abroad may include:

  • Falling off your bike due to potholes or poor road conditions.
  • Being involved in a collision with other road users because of their unsafe or negligent behaviour.
  • Injuries inflicted at a training camp due to negligence.
  • An accident caused by faulty or poor rental equipment.
  • Incidents involving other cyclists, such as in a charity bike ride.
  • Accidents during cycling excursions organised as part of a holiday package.

In the event of an injury overseas

See our tips from legal holiday experts on what you should do if you or a loved one are injured whilst travelling

British cycling membership and insurance

It’s important to have the correct level of insurance for your overseas cycling trip, especially if you are cycling outside of Europe. Medical treatment, especially in America, can be extremely expensive if you are injured abroad.

Being a member of British Cycling can provide liability insurance of up to £10 million, subject to terms and conditions. This covers you in the event that a claim is made against you when cycling abroad.

However, this membership does not provide cover for medical bills, repatriation or legal advice for incidents that happen abroad. Therefore, it’s a good idea to take out cycling and travel insurance to protect yourself from bike theft, medical bills and accidental damage.

If your insurance doesn’t cover treatment following a cycling accident, you might want to make a claim.

How to claim compensation for cycling injuries overseas

To make a claim for cycling injuries abroad, you need to prove that someone else is at fault for the accident. This could be another road user, a bike rental company or a package holiday provider.

Different countries have their own laws for making a claim.

If negligence of another party is determined as the cause, you may be entitled to compensation. This can be used to cover:

  • Medical expenses, such as medication, treatment, hospital bills and transport to and from appointments.
  • Damage to repair and/or replace your bike and cycling equipment.
  • Loss of earnings if you are unable to work during rehabilitation.
  • Cost of the holiday if the operator is at fault.
  • Any emotional and physical pain and suffering you faced.

Gathering evidence

After seeking medical attention, it can be helpful to start gathering any evidence that could strengthen your claim. This may include:

  • Photographs of the incident, location, any injuries inflicted and damage to your bike and equipment.
  • Details of all parties involved, including names, contact details and registration numbers.
  • Witness statements and their contact information.
  • Medical reports and bills for any treatment you received.
  • Police reports and reference numbers if applicable.

Cycling outside the UK: FAQs

How long do I have to make a claim for cycling injuries abroad?

It depends on where the incident takes place. For example, in the UK you typically have three years from the incident date to make a claim. In France, you may have up to 10 years.

We recommend starting the claims process as soon as possible. This way you can try and avoid any time limits with the incident still fresh in your mind, which can make gathering supporting evidence easier.

Who do I bring a cycling claim overseas against?

It depends on where the accident happened and who was involved. For instance, if the accident happened while on a package holiday, you may claim against the tour operator. For faulty biking equipment, the claim the rental company might be held responsible.

Download our safe travel guide

Read our travel guide for top tips to cycle abroad, from the best insurance to how to make a claim.

I am very grateful to Leigh Day for all of the support they have provided since my cycling accident in Portugal. The rehabilitation package, funded by the driver’s insurance company, was implemented shortly after my first meeting with the team at Leigh Day and has been central to my progress."

Mr F Davis, Leigh Day client

Guide for cycling outside the UK

Protect your bike

If you’re taking your own bike, there are a few things you can do to ensure it travels safely. These include:

  • Investing in a proper bike bag or box to transport it.
  • Making sure the forks, handlebars, saddle and rear ends are protected with bubble wrap.
  • Ensuring the wheel ends are held in position.
  • Protecting brake/gear leavers, the saddle and rear derailleur as much as you can.

When you arrive at your destination, check that there has been no damage to your bike during the journey. If there has, take photographs immediately.

Hire the right bike

If you plan on hiring a bike, it pays to do some research beforehand. This means finding a bike that’s the right size for you, and that the dealer you’re renting from is reputable.

Once you pick up the bike, make sure the brakes and gears have been checked, are in working order and that it has received a service prior to you hiring it.

Check the rules of the road

Countries abide by different laws, so it’s a good idea to read up on the common road rules for your destination, such as signage.

Once you’ve arrived, make sure you ride on the correct side of the road. You should also get used to checking for traffic at junctions, as this is likely to be from the opposite direction than what you are used to.

Keep identification on you

Take a written copy of your contact information with you with ‘In case of emergency’ written in the local language. You should also keep a copy of your health insurance and your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) with you at all times.

Also include the name of the hotel you’re staying at and any other useful information, such as emergency contacts.

Take a map

Never rely solely on your phone for navigation. Some areas might not receive GPS or network coverage and your battery may run out – a paper map is always the best failsafe.

Start learning the route you plan to take before you go. Google Street View is a great tool that lets you interact with a country’s pathways.

Plan your rides

Make sure you have a plan in place if you were to have a collision or a mechanical issue. This means asking yourself:

  • Could I get back to my hotel?
  • Do I know who to call?
  • Do I know any local taxi companies?

Always take a minimum of two inner tubes with you in case of punctures, as well as a good pump.

Learn the language

Speak the language or at least learn a few key phrases in case you’re stuck in a remote place. This could be:

  • I need help.
  • Do you speak English?
  • Can you call an ambulance?
  • I don’t understand.

Alternatively, have an appropriate phrasebook or dictionary on you, or use a translator app on your phone.

Join local cycling clubs

Contact local cycling clubs and ask if you can join them for a ride during your trip. This is a great way to get to know likeminded cyclists, receive route suggestions and safety tips.

Many clubs also have a dedicated café where you can grab a bite to eat and fill up your water bottle mid ride. Details of these clubs are usually available at local cycling shops.