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.
These concerns are warranted, with 85% of cyclist collisions involving another vehicle. Common bike accidents include:
For their part, drivers need to understand how vulnerable cyclists are on the road. Cyclists make up 25% of people injured on Australian roads and paths, and, on average, a cyclist dies every nine days on Australian roads. Even a small knock can lead to devastating permanent injuries.
With the number of people killed and injured on the road increasing each year, it's important to highlight the impacts of road trauma and what both cyclists and drivers can do to be safer on the roads.
To help raise awareness for National Road Safety Week, we share Paul's story and some ways that we can make the roads safer for everyone.
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.
If you've been involved in a bicycle accident or a collision with a vehicle, seek legal advice to help understand your options for compensation.
* Real name has been changed.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, 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.