Incidents happen, often through no fault of your own. We want to help you get back on your bike with a first class legal service to recover any compensation to which you may be entitled.
Our lawyers are leading experts in helping cyclists who have sustained injury, financial losses or damage to their bike as a result of an incident which was not their fault.
Legal support - learn more
Who is it available to?
What is Legal Support and Assistance?
Most incidents reported involve members who have either sustained personal injury or damage to their bicycle or other property as a result of a road traffic incident. In most cases incidents arise through the negligence of the driver of a motor vehicle. A small number involve defects to the public highway. Invariably both result in damage to members’ bicycles and, more often than not, personal injury.
British Cycling’s lawyers are recognised leading experts in personal injury litigation and in representing cyclists. Whether you have suffered an injury or simply damage to your bicycle, you will receive a personal, first class legal service to recover any compensation to which you may be entitled.
- You will keep all of your compensation, as long as the incident occurred within the UK(1).
- You will not be asked to pay for an insurance policy to indemnify you against a defendant’s legal costs in the event of an unsuccessful claim.
- You will not be asked to pay for an insurance policy to cover legal disbursements.
- You will not be asked to personally fund any legal disbursements.
Who is covered?
You have access to this valuable benefit if you are a Race Gold, Race Silver, Ride or Commute member, a resident of the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, were riding or wheeling your bike (including an e-bike(5)) at the time of the incident and believe that the incident was not your fault.
Damage to bikes
British Cycling membership does not provide you with insurance for damage to your bike or theft of your bike. However, if your bike is damaged due to the fault of another person you may be able to use the legal support scheme to provide you with advice or bring a claim against a third party. It should be noted that where such a claim is brought, the legal processes involved in recovering compensation can sometimes take time and legally you may not be able to recover the full cost of a replacement bike.
What is not covered?
Unfortunately, the British Cycling Incident Helpline and British Cycling’s solicitors will not support a legal action:
- against another British Cycling member.
- against a member of one’s immediate family.
- where there is a conflict of interest between a member and British Cycling eg. where a claim may be against an organiser or official of a British Cycling registered event(2).
- involving contractual, sale of goods and services or product liability issues such as faulty bikes or equipment (see below for information on assistance available if you have injuries which may have been caused by a defect with your bike).
- involving criminal legal advice or representation.
- where the incident takes place outside of Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands (see below for information on assistance available if you are involved in an incident abroad).
- where membership was not current at the time of the incident(3).
- where the incident involves a Ride member taking part in a competitive race or time trial.
- where the incident involves a Commute member taking part in cycling events or group cycling activities involving multiple participants, such as races, sportives, club rides and group rides.
What is involved?
Legal advice and assistance is a discretionary benefit provided to qualifying British Cycling members. It does not confer the benefit of legal expenses insurance, and members wishing to pursue a claim must do so via British Cycling’s appointed solicitors.
Our appointed solicitors will assess whether or not there are reasonable prospects of succeeding with a legal action against a third party. If our solicitors are satisfied that there are reasonable prospects of success a claim can be pursued on your behalf.
All decisions on a claim’s prospects of success and the pursuit and support of a legal action against a third party rest with British Cycling and its appointed solicitors and their decisions will be final. It is important to note, however, that British Cycling has an absolute discretion to provide or withdraw legal assistance in any particular case.
While British Cycling has an absolute discretion to withdraw cover at any time, the following are examples of situations in which cover would typically be withdrawn:
- there are no longer reasonable prospects of succeeding in your claim.
- you have failed to instruct, co-operate or agree to prosecute your claim for compensation.
- you have not adhered to advice given by our solicitors.
- you have sought to deliberately mislead either British Cycling or its solicitors in any material particular to your claim.
- you have given information or evidence which you know to be incorrect or misleading or that you have acted in any way or manner which, in our or our solicitor’s view, could be regarded as fraudulent or dishonest.
In cases brought in the UK, members are fully indemnified in relation to the cost of legal advice and assistance from the point at which a claim is registered subject to certain exclusions. This indemnity may either be provided by British Cycling directly, or at its absolute discretion British Cycling may arrange for it to be provided through a policy of insurance. The indemnity would then be in accordance with the terms of the insurance, of which you will be notified. There would be no charge to you for the insurance. Normally, in successful claims there will be no costs deducted from members’ compensation but because of different legal systems in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, British Cycling cannot guarantee that there will be no deductions from compensation where claims are brought in these jurisdictions.
Usually when claims are successful, the member will recover all their legal costs from the other party. In unsuccessful cases, British Cycling will continue to cover all of a member’s costs and the full terms of the indemnity will be provided when you register your claim.
Cases will be referred to our appointed solicitors and no payment is made by our solicitors in respect of the referral of any case.
Time limits for making a claim against a Third Party
If you would like to receive the support of British Cycling’s solicitors you must report the incident to the Incident Helpline within 12 months of the incident. As a general point, the statutory time limit for bringing a claim for damages for personal injuries is three years from the date of the incident. For cases involving property damage only, the limit is six years(4). It will be appreciated that the sooner the matter is reported, the sooner it can be dealt with, particularly if witnesses need to be traced and interviewed. All too often a case can be prejudiced because of the failure to obtain, at the outset, basic information regarding the incident, the location and the witnesses. If you are under the age of 18 then the time limit is extended to three years from the date of your 18th birthday. However, it is very important that you progress your claim through your parent or legal guardian as quickly as possible, so get them to report the matter to the Incident Helpline for you immediately.
What happens if my incident happened abroad?
If you have had a cycling incident outside Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, members cannot use British Cycling’s legal support scheme to pursue a claim. Nevertheless, our lawyers can provide legal assistance and advice regarding your claim's prospects of success and consider how your claim can be funded to your best advantage.
Our lawyers have a specialist travel litigation team who deal exclusively with incidents abroad. These claims include cases of utmost severity to more straightforward injuries. The team has an excellent network of foreign contacts that can provide crucial advice regarding foreign law and procedure.
In addition, our lawyers will provide practical advice to our members who are unfortunate enough to be injured abroad.
If you have been injured as a result of an incident abroad, please contact us to discuss your potential claim.
Please note that British Cycling strongly advises its members to take out travel insurance before travelling abroad.
What happens if your injury is caused by a defect with your bike?
If you have sustained an injury or suffered financial loss and you think that it may have been caused by a defect with your bike, members cannot use British Cycling’s legal support scheme to pursue a claim. However, our experienced lawyers have expert knowledge in the area of defective products and may be able to provide legal assistance in respect of any potential claim.
If you have suffered injury that appears to be a result of a defect with your bike, please call the British Cycling Incident Helpline on 0161 274 2015. We will put you in touch with our appointed lawyers who will provide advice regarding a potential claim and discuss alternative funding options.
(1) Where an incident took place in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man this cannot be guaranteed. In these cases, where there is a shortfall in the costs recovered British Cycling will pay up to £2,000 towards that shortfall, which in many (but not all) cases will mean that there is no deduction, or no significant deduction, from a member’s compensation.
(2) this refers to an event that has been formally registered with British Cycling, appears on our published event calendar and is insured under British Cycling’s liability insurance policy.
(3) in these circumstances our solicitors may still be able to provide assistance but under different terms and conditions.
(4) for cases involving property damage only, the time limit is 5 years from the date of the incident in Scotland and 3 years in the Channel Islands. If an Injured Party is under 16 years of age at the time of the incident and the claim proceeds in Scotland, the 3 years commences from the date of the Injured Party’s 16th birthday.
(5) E-bike (Electrically assisted pedal cycle) must have pedals that can be used to propel it, the electric motor should have a maximum power output of 250 watts or less, and the motor should not be able to propel the bike when it is travelling more than 15.5mph. In addition your E-bike must display either the power output or manufacturer of the motor, as well as either the battery voltage or maximum speed of the bike, as defined by the manufacturer.
If you want to take part in a cycling event on your e-bike, please check with the event organiser whether there are any rules governing the use of e-bikes.