As a keen cyclist I am all too familiar with the vagaries of being on two wheels.
Most days I cycle to our Norwich office from home. It’s a journey of around 3 miles that incorporates a few designated cycle paths along the route. Depending on the time I leave there can be heavy traffic to negotiate, but generally I feel safe and confident using a bike as the mode of transport for my commute.
However, things could be improved.
Cycle paths safety
Sadly, a lot of cycle paths are not fit for purpose. They’re not swept in the same way as roads are, and if your bike wheels have ever slipped on wet autumn leaves, you will know it is as lethal as being on an icy road.
Cycle paths are rarely inspected either. During the winter weather whilst roads are gritted, cycle paths can be neglected because they are often separate from the road. This is one reason why cyclists choose to use the road rather than a cycle path during winter months.
Motorists v Cyclists
On the whole cycles and cars (and their respective rider/driver) tend to co-exist quite well in Norwich. It can require patience and understanding on both parts. Cyclists can give themselves a bad name by seemingly disregarding basics of the Highway Code.
We have all seen cyclists jump red lights, particularly at pedestrian crossings. This can be infuriating to other law-abiding road users and lead to angry exchanges.
On a bike you are much more likely to come off worse in an argument with a car, so a little patience can go a long way. Why risk wasting time dealing with a collision or even worse, months recuperating from an injury for the sake of few seconds wait?
From a practical perspective, if the worst does happen and you are involved in an accident try and make sure you record as many details as possible straight away. Take pictures of all the damage caused by the collision, including the bike, car and other things such as road signs or bollards. Accurately record the accident location and ensure you obtain the other driver’s details, including their full name, address, phone number, email and insurance information.
If (as I encountered) you are the victim of an uninsured ‘hit and run’ accident, try to record the number plate and report the incident to the police immediately. If a driver isn’t insured, you may be entitled to claim compensation through the Motor Insurer’s Bureau.
If you need legal advice after a cycle accident, feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01603 877000.