Our colleagues at Pedal Power ACT recently highlighted the findings from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report on cycling injuries (Pedal cyclists deaths and hospitalisation), which was released on 8 May 2019. In this article Richard Faulks talks about about the need for safe cycling infrastructure and laws, as well as for fair compensation when accidents and injury do occur.
Cycling in Canberra
At Snedden Hall & Gallop we’re aware of the risks faced by cyclists in the Canberra region. We’ve acted for many cyclists who’ve been injured and who then sought proper compensation for their injuries and losses.
As the AIHW report shows, an amazing 20% of the people hospitalised in Australia after injury from a transport accident were riding bikes.
Although our cycling infrastructure in the ACT is very good, there are still far too many accidents and too many cyclists suffering serious injuries. People on bikes are particularly vulnerable in collisions with cars. And it’s our experience that no matter how careful cyclists are – including wearing appropriate protective clothing and helmets – injuries inevitably occur when there is an accident.
Minimum passing laws
We join Pedal Power ACT in applauding the ACT Government for introducing the minimum passing laws to increase the protection of cyclists on our roads. The recent University of Adelaide report evaluating the laws shows that they are generally being complied with and are having a positive effect.
There’s no doubt, however, that the quality of cycling infrastructure still needs to be improved. Possible improvements include separate cycleways and substantial, safe shoulders on roads. These measures would help to keep cyclists safe.
It’s also important that all road users continue to be educated about road rules and follow them, and drive and ride defensively. We must all be vigilant and take whatever steps are necessary to avoid collisions.
Compensation in the ACT
When people are injured in accidents, it’s important that there’s an appropriate and proper system to compensate accident victims. Currently, the ACT enjoys the best compensation system for road accident victims in Australia.
Unfortunately, however, the ACT Government is determined to bring about change to that system. Those changes won’t benefit those riding bikes in any real way. In fact, the changes are likely to significantly limit the compensation available to them. This is particularly so in relation to pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. We believe that up to 90% of such injured cyclists won’t qualify for any form of payment for their pain and suffering. We are continuing to work with Pedal Power to try and avoid the implementation of that unfair law.
How can we help?
If you have been involved in an accident, and think you may be entitled to compensation, our Personal Injury team can advise you. Please contact us on 02 6285 8000 or by email.