Don’t throw cyclists under the bus, says campaign

MPs are being asked to sign a Parliamentary Motion calling on the Government to remove vulnerable road users from the measures set out in the proposed reforms to personal injury, including the recently published Civil Liability Bill.

The motion, tabled by Catherine West, Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, argues that pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horseriders should not be swept up by measures that are designed to curb whiplash claims.

The plans, which aim to impose stricter limits on damages for minor soft tissue injuries, referred to as ‘whiplash’ injuries, will also require all claims with an injury valued less than £5,000 to go through the small claims court and therefore not be able to recover sufficient legal costs even if they are successful.

Fletchers Solicitors recently joined forces with Cycling UK to issue a joint statement calling for the Government to rethink its proposals and draw a clear distinction between claims from different types of road users.

Ed Fletcher, CEO of Fletchers Solicitors, said: “The Government’s plans to crack down on fraudulent whiplash claims threaten to seriously harm the rights of vulnerable road users.

“While I’m sure we can all agree on the need to wipe out fraudulent claims, the Government also needs to recognise that its current proposals will put vulnerable road users at a substantial disadvantage.

“We are urging all MPs to sign the motion to stand up for the rights of society’s most vulnerable road users and get their voices heard. We hope that the Government will give our recommendations serious consideration, and agree that all reforms brought in should be limited to claims made by ‘occupants of a vehicle’ to defend the rights of bikers, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians.”

Catherine West MP added: “I want to see ministers apply common sense when it comes to law making. Cyclists and other vulnerable road users, including children, should be protected on our roads, not punished by the Government if they are unfortunate enough to have a non-fault accident. I hope MPs on all sides will show their support and sign the motion.”

The motion reads:

“That this House notes the Government’s publication of the Civil Liability Bill; supports Ministers’ intention to reduce fraudulent and frivolous claims; expresses concern that vulnerable road users, including cyclists, pedestrians, horse riders and motorcyclists, will be swept up within the scope of the Bill and the broader personal injury reform package, despite there being no evidence that non-fault road traffic accident injuries suffered by VRUs include whiplash; further notes that almost all whiplash claims are made by drivers or passengers of motor vehicles; believes that VRUs deserve the Government’s protection, as opposed to removing their rights to redress for injuries under Tort; acknowledges that under these reforms, VRUs suffering injuries below £5,000 in value will be unable to access a lawyer should they wish to pursue their rights of redress in the Courts; and urges the Government to take a pragmatic approach and remove VRUs from the scope of the reforms to ensure they remain protected on our roads.”

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