British Cycling has today appealed to the government to protect cyclists from proposed changes to the law aimed at reducing the number of fraudulent whiplash cases.
The proposals, which look to increase the small claims limit for personal injury claims from £1,000 to £5,000 for all those involved in road traffic incidents, would mean that thousands of injured cyclists would be unable to recover their legal costs and therefore be denied access to justice.
Despite opposition the government is pressing ahead with its reforms, which are unfair to vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and horse riders who rarely sustain the whiplash-type injuries being targeted.
British Cycling has been working with the Vulnerable Road Users Group to seek to remove vulnerable road users from the reforms on the basis that they should be protected rather than penalised.
British Cycling policy adviser Chris Boardman said: “This move will have huge unintended consequences for anyone involved in a collision that is not driving.
“It will now become almost impossible for cyclists to get legal representation without sacrificing a significant proportion of the compensation that they would be entitled to and I appeal to the government to rethink this approach.”
The government recently announced a revised Civil Liability Bill which is in the early stages of going through Parliament, and it is anticipated that the small claims limit will be increased at the same time that the Bill comes into force.
Catherine West, Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has tabled an Early Day Motion (used by MPs to publicise a particular cause and to gain support in the Commons) calling on the government to remove vulnerable road users from the reforms.
British Cycling is now encouraging the general public to write to their MP in support of the motion, and has today launched a simple online tool which enables the process to be completed in a matter of minutes.
To visit the page and write to your MP, click here: Email your MP