South Australia has an enviable reputation as the "cycling state", but how do we treat cyclists injured in accidents on our roads? By TGB's Tim White.
South Australia has an enviable reputation as the “cycling state”, but how do we treat cyclists injured in accidents on our roads? By TGB’s Tim White.
South Australia is a perfect cycling region.
I should say, it is perfect if you’re lucky enough to avoid a road traffic accident and stay safe.
But if you’re one of the many cyclists injured in collisions with motor vehicles in South Australia, this “cycling city” of Adelaide, the host of the world class Tour Down Under and other enviable cycling events, now offers very little financial protection.
On 1 July 2013, the South Australian government’s overhaul of motor accident compensation came in to play. It slashes compensation for the significant majority of people injured on South Australian roads. It is spoken about often in the context of motor vehicle drivers, but we’re also talking about the thousands of cyclists riding on our streets every day – who don’t have the added protection of a chassis, seat belts or airbags.
Our state continues to try and attract interstate and international cycling events and tourists, but most local and visiting cycling enthusiasts would be unaware of the financial risks they are now exposed to.
The unfortunate reality is, if you’re a cyclist injured in a collision with a motor vehicle in South Australia you’re highly likely to have no entitlement to compensation for lost income, future care or for pain and suffering.
In South Australia there are significant thresholds that must be exceeded before a cyclist injured on the road can claim compensation for pain and suffering, future loss of income or future care. These thresholds are so high that it has been reported that 70% to 75% of road victims who were previously compensated (ie prior to the changes of 1 July 2013) will now be excluded from receiving compensation.
It has been argued that the new thresholds will only wipe out “minor” injury claims. This is simply not the case.
Below are some examples of injuries that would not exceed the threshold and accordingly no compensation would be paid:
1. Neck injury involving herniated disc;
2. Spinal injury involving herniated disc;
3. Traumatic shoulder injury, including fractured collar bone;
4. Compound fracture to the elbow;
5. Compound fracture to the pelvis;
6. Knee injury requiring arthroscopy;
7. Compound leg fracture;
8. Fractured wrist;
9. Minor psychological injury.
In many other states of Australia or other countries, entitlements to compensation for cyclists are largely unrestricted. For example in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria there is no threshold, in relation to the severity of injury, that needs to be sustained to make a claim for past or future economic loss.
Despite actively promoting itself as “the cycling state”, the current government has failed to maintain any reasonable level of financial protection for cyclists injured on South Australian roads. On the back of popular events such as the Tour Down Under, Velo-City and ITU Duathlon World Championships, I hope we can continue to raise awareness about this issue, and that everyone on two wheels on our streets (including myself!) can stay upright and safe!
If you are injured in a collision with a motor vehicle in South Australia, it is now more important than even to seek legal advice. For a free initial interview, contact Tim on (08) 8212 1077.
Find out more about cyclist injury compensation claims.