Safe Drivers and Vehicles

Cherry Allan's picture

Compensation for injured cyclists

The rules about liability for road crashes need to be changed to make it easier and quicker for cyclists and pedestrians to be compensated if they are injured in collisions with motor vehicles.
Cycling in traffic
Headline Messages: 
  • Cycling causes little harm to others and it is not a hazardous activity. However, the actions of those engaged in a hazardous activity (i.e. driving), can put cyclists at risk.
  • While most drivers are generally considerate, the fact remains that non-motorised road users are disproportionately affected by road crashes and the compensation process is often complex and protracted.
  • This imbalance could be corrected by introducing ‘presumed liability’ (also known as ‘stricter liability’). This is the legal presumption made in civil law that injured cyclists and pedestrians are entitled to compensation from drivers who hit them, unless the victim was obviously at fault. ‘Presumed liability’ has been adopted by most west European countries.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • The UK should introduce ‘presumed liability’ rules to compensate cyclists and pedestrians for road crash injuries, as is normal in most west European countries. They should be entitled to full compensation from the driver’s insurance unless the driver (or in practice their lawyers/insurers) can show that the injury was caused by the cyclist or pedestrian behaving in a way that fell well below the standard that could be expected of them, taking account of their age, abilities and the circumstances of the collision.
  • Findings of ‘contributory negligence’ – i.e. a partial reduction in compensation where the injured party is at least partly at fault – should be exceptional, and certainly not be found against cyclists for: riding without a helmet; riding without high visibility clothing; not using a cycle facility; or for mere technical breaches of the Highway Code’s non-statutory rules for cyclists.
  • Particularly vulnerable people (e.g. children, the elderly and those with learning or physical disabilities), should receive full compensation from the driver’s insurance in any event, unless they evidently wanted to harm themselves.
  • Passing any proportion of the legal costs of pursuing compensation to the innocent victim of a road crash is unfair and wrong. The objective of damages in these cases should be to provide full compensation for injured people both for their injuries and financial losses. They are also a way of holding the person who caused the injury to account.
  • Taking out third party liability insurance is a sensible precaution for regular cyclists, but it should not be compulsory for everyone wanting to cycle.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
June 2013
RhiaWeston's picture

CTC welcomes decision to appeal sentence for Audrey Fyfe's killer driver

CTC and the family of cyclist Audrey Fyfe have welcomed the decision by the Crown Counsel in Edinburgh to refer Gary McCourt’s sentence for appeal, following a campaign by CTC and other organisations’ supporters.
Audrey Fyfe

Over 6000 CTC members, other cycling organisations’ supporters and members of the public wrote to the Lord Advocate in support of an appeal over the last few weeks.

RhiaWeston's picture

Personal message from acquaintance of Audrey Fyfe and George Dalgity

CTC has been contacted by an acquaintance of both Audrey Fyfe and George Dalgity. He sent in a heartfelt but considered letter, which he gave us permission to share.
Audrey Fyfe - the second of McCourt's victims

I have written to the Rt. Hon the Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, to ask that he consider appealing what I feel is the lenient sentence handed down to Gary McCourt. I knew both Audrey Fyfe and George Dalgity. In 1985, I was general practitioner to the Dalgity family, and I witnessed at first hand the effect George’s death had on them. They were quite literally devastated, totally bewildered and absolutely bereft.

Chris Peck's picture

The AA and BSM launch cycle awareness module for all driving instructors

CTC has welcomed the announcement by the AA and BSM that they will roll out a cycle awareness module to its driving instructors. The absence of cycle training for teenagers and the poor understanding of needs and rights of cyclists by some of the population has lead to aggressive behaviour.
BSM learner vehicle next to a cyclists in Cambridge

The driver awareness module would teach driving instructors about cyclists' needs, and also overturn some myths about cyclists' right to use the roads.

The AA and British School of Motoring (BSM) announcement is in large part thanks to the  President of the AA, Edmund King's personal backing of a more conciliatory culture of road use between cyclists and motorists.

RhiaWeston's picture

Letter delivered to Lord Advocate supporting sentence appeal

On 14 May CTC’s Chief Executive, Gordon Seabright, CTC Scotland’s Councillor, Peter Hayman, and CTC’s Road Safety campaigner, Rhia Weston, met with relatives of Gary McCourt’s two victims; Audrey Fyfe and George Dalgity at the Crown Office in Edinburgh.
Letter delivered to the Lord Advocate supporting an appeal of the sentence

We met to present a letter to the Lord Advocate outlining why the ludicrous sentence handed down to McCourt for causing Mrs Fyfe’s death should be appealed. We also met with the Head of Appeals and Head of Criminal Justice Policy at the Crown Office to discuss concerns with the leniency of the sentence and the legally irrelevant comments made by the sheriff about helmets.

Chris Peck's picture

Minor win for cyclists as prosecution guidance shifts

In early May 2013 new guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service on prosecuting acts of bad driving was published. It includes a potentially important addition in determining what should be charged as 'dangerous' rather than 'careless' driving.
The driver of this car was charged with 'careless driving'

One of the issues that CTC has been concerned about for years has been the downgrading of cases of bad driving from 'dangerous' to 'careless' driving.

Now a change in the prosecution guidance to explicitly mention vulnerable road users may help reduce this shift from dangerous to careless.

Chris Peck's picture

Demand a proper sentence for driver who killed twice

3 May 2013
CTC has joined with the family of Audrey Fyfe to challenge the scandalous sentence handed down to Gary McCourt on 3 May. McCourt was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a five-year driving ban for causing death by careless driving
Audrey Fyfe and her daughter Aileen Brown

* * * Campaign update: 31st May 2013. Scotland's Crown Office has today decided it will appeal the 'unduly lenient sentence' handed down to McCourt. * * *

Mrs Fyfe was a mother and a wife and much valued member of CTC Scotland. She was hit by McCourt while riding her bike near her home in Edinburgh in August 2011.

Chris Peck's picture

Pedro Delgado joins battle against helmet compulsion in Spain

1988 Tour de France champion Pedro Delgado has walked out of a meeting with María Segui, the director of the national traffic authority (DGT), in protest at the Government's plan to force cyclists in urban areas in Spain to wear helmets.
Delgado won the 1988 Tour de France (Photo: Numerius, Flickr)

Pedro Delgado told María Seguí that he was opposed to mandatory helmet legislation because it would discourage people from cycling.

19 city councils - including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Zaragoza, and Bilbao - have now joined Spanish cycling organisations in public opposition to the proposed ban on cycling without helmets. Last week, the national consumers' organisation (OCU) also announced that it opposed mandatory cycle helmets.

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Chris Peck's picture

Get Britain Cycling report recommends £10 per head, per year funding for cycling

Six weeks of oral evidence, hundreds of written pages, and the report is out. CTC welcomes its publication and urges the Government to implement its 18 recommendations
Chris Boardman, MP Julian Huppert, Dr Sarah Wollaston and Ian Austin

CTC, the national cycling charity, is calling on David Cameron to act on the report, which calls for 10 per cent of journeys in Britain to be made by cycle by 2025 – the current figure is less than 2 per cent.

It has also called for central government spending of at least £10 per head of population per year to boost cycle use, increasing as cycle use rises. London has recently announced plans to spend £12.50 per person per year over the next 10 years, whilst the Dutch are spending around £24 per person per year.

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Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle lawyers campaign for compensation changes

Cycle Law Scotland, a firm that deals with cyclists' injury claims, has launched a Road Share campaign to change the law relating to compensation.
Cyclist on a road

If the campaign is successful, cyclists and pedestrians would receive compensation automatically and promptly for injuries/damage sustained in a crash with a motor vehicle.

At present, because injured cyclists or pedestrians are not compensated automatically, they are all too often forced to fight for it  – a process that is often protracted, expensive and particularly difficult for those who need financial help with treatment and care. It is also burdensome for the courts.

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