There’s a war taking place on our roads – between cyclists and car drivers.
At its core, this battle is led by a misunderstanding, from the perspectives of all road users, about equal rights on the road. Each party is frustrated with the other – car drivers are angry with the way cyclists ride, and cyclists are concerned about being injured by oblivious drivers.
All these concerns are warranted, but what can we do to bring peace between the parties?
Eighty-five per cent of cyclist collisions involve another vehicle. Common accidents include
For their part, drivers need to understand how vulnerable cyclists are on the road. The latest figures report 45 cyclist deaths on Australian roads in 2014, while 5500 cyclists were hospitalised in 2012 due to road accidents.
Even a small knock can lead to devastating permanent injuries.
If a cyclist is injured in a road accident, the legal support varies depending on the type of accident:
Paul* sustained a broken wrist when a car suddenly pulled out in front of him while he was cycling down the road. Because Paul’s case was against a car driver, we acted for him in a common law damages claim with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC). He received payment of medical expenses, lost wages and a lump sum payment for future economic loss and pain and suffering.
Paul’s wrist is still painful, and ongoing psychological injuries mean he's unable to cope with his demanding job.
This is an example of how important it is for drivers and cyclists to share the roads safely. It’s not about who's to blame; it’s about taking care and looking out for each other on the roads.
I hope we can one day reach acceptance and greater safety between car drivers and cyclists. Research has shown that the following changes could help this to become a reality:
As a passionate cyclist myself, I’d like to see fewer injuries occurring on our roads and a decrease in the intensity of this war between road users.
* Real name has been changed.
Our specialist road injury lawyers are experienced in a range of claims related to road accident injuries. If you've been hurt on the road, we can help you understand your options.
Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.