Irish roads are more congested than ever, especially in cities. The volume of traffic has increased dramatically due to a wide number of factors and there are many more cyclists traveling to and from work on any given weekday.
Those cyclists have to compete for space with many cars, taxis and buses but also heavier goods vehicles all coming together to create a chaotic combination of hazards that the cyclist must navigate. Also, the increased cost of motoring, especially the rising cost of insurance, has meant many are cycling to work out of necessity rather than choice. As a means of transport, it can be tax efficient.
While there are certainly more cycle lanes in urban areas in recent years, the size of the lanes are small. On primary city runs there are still areas with no cycle paths and sections where cyclists must share a lane with buses or taxis.
The Road Safety Authority has reported that more than 100 cyclists are seriously injured every year on Irish roads. Sadly, 10 cyclists have been killed on the roads in the first six months of 2017. It’s of course important that cyclists take proper care and wearing a cycle helmet is essential although this may not prevent injury entirely in a serious collision. If you find yourself in busy cycle lanes and are suddenly confronted with a delivery van crossing your path, even though you take evasive manoeuvres you may end up on the ground, or even worse.
While less serious incidents may involve minor grazes or lacerations or damage to your bicycle, others may be significant resulting in broken bones, head injuries or death. In the event of a prolonged recovery period that prevents you from returning to work, you may suffer loss of earnings. If you have suffered an accident, legal advice is available.
Who is at fault?
Finding who is at fault is not always an easy task and can become a complicated investigation if the person who caused the collision decides to flee the scene. Thankfully, if the events occurred in an urban area it’s quite likely that there will be CCTV of the incident, which may be important evidence in showing who was at fault. Even if there is none, and the streets were busy, there may well be a number of witnesses. That being said, in many cases the offending driver or their insurer may realise they were at fault and admit at an early stage that they caused the accident. Where this occurs the only dispute is whether the accident caused the injuries that have been suffered. In terms of progressing a legal case, the severity of injuries will be shown by a written medical opinion obtained from an expert who specialises in that area. The medical report will describe the extent of the injuries but it will also show how quality of life has been affected. A very important part of the expert opinion will advise on prognosis into the future. In any case, deciding the monetary value of any claim is largely dependent upon the medical opinion of experts.
It’s important to bear in mind that in your daily travels to and from work it’s impossible to completely avoid the hazards of cycling. That being said, there is a duty upon all road users to take proper care for other users and to drive or cycle in accordance with the Rules of the Road and the Road Traffic Acts. Where a vehicle fails to take proper care and causes an avoidable injury to a cyclist, that driver may be legally responsible for any accident they cause.
Was the road surface to blame?
Liability on the part of a local authority may arise but only if the defects in question were caused by recent works or bad design or execution. Worn out or pot-holed roads are generally not legally reliable in finding fault associated with a personal injuries case.
Cyclist Lawyers in Dublin, Ireland
At Sherwin O’Riordan we have extensive experience in collision cases involving cyclists. We have many years experience investigating accidents such as these and coming to a satisfactory settlement as quickly as possible. You will receive straightforward advice on how long it will take to conclude the case. Our team will arrange for you to see the right medical expert depending on your injuries. You can call +353 1 663 2000 to speak to one of our experienced lawyers.