Injured People

“A Cyclist Ran Into Me, Can I Claim?”

TGB Partner Barney Gask discusses the legal options available for pedestrians who have been struck by a cyclist.

TGB Partner Barney Gask discusses the legal options available for pedestrians who have been struck by a cyclist.


 

On 25 October 2015 it became legal in South Australia for cyclists of all ages to ride on the footpath. It seems the reason for the change is that the footpath is considered safer for cyclists than being on the road. But where does that leave those who currently use footpaths to make their way around the streets? There is growing concern for pedestrians of all types who are potentially unable to claim compensation, even following a significant injury.

The question is therefore:

If a cyclist causes an injury to a pedestrian on a footpath is the pedestrian able to claim compensation for the injuries sustained? 

When a motor vehicle is registered a proportion of the payment includes compulsory third party insurance. If a pedestrian is injured when a motor vehicle is involved any compensation for injuries sustained is covered by this insurance. Cyclists do not register their bicycles. There is no third party insurance attached to them. If a cyclist causes injury to a pedestrian on a footpath, and if the cyclist is at fault, is there any way that the pedestrian can be compensated?

Firstly, the pedestrian will need details of the cyclist, at the very least a name and address. That is not always possible but it will make pursuing compensation almost impossible if the cyclist cannot be identified. If those details are obtained the only opportunity for the pedestrian to be compensated for injuries is if the cyclist has access to liability cover such as home and contents insurance. If there is a policy of insurance the issue is whether it covers this type of incident. That is not always the case.

If the insurer confirms the cover, and you can prove that the injuries were the fault of the cyclist, the pedestrian can be compensated for such things as pain and suffering, economic loss and medical treatment expenses.

As a result there will be some instances where a pedestrian will be able to claim compensation and others where this is not an option. This issue is the basis of why some would prefer that bikes/cyclists are required to be registered. Registration would then result in compulsory third party insurance, and would make it easier for compensation to be claimed against cyclists by both pedestrians and car drivers following an accident.

There is no clear cut answer to this issue, however, it is something that will need to be considered at length. If cyclists are to continue using footpaths, where no specific speed restrictions apply and pedestrians maintain right of way, this is set to be an ongoing issue in South Australia.

These claims can be complicated and it is important to obtain advice from a lawyer experienced in personal injury claims as soon as possible so that the necessary enquiries can be made.

For further information or assistance contact your nearest TGB office.