In November of 2013 we were contacted by our client who was 73 years of age and an experienced road cyclist.
He was cycling on the A914. He would usually cycle 100 -150 miles per week which often involved cycling on A roads. In fact, he had a small mirror fitted to his handlebars to enable him to see traffic following behind.
On the day of his accident and thanks to having that mirror, he was aware of a large HGV vehicle behind him. The road was busy and the truck driver attempted to pass the cyclist but only left a few inches of clearance.
Our client felt terrified and somehow managed to keep the bike upright but as the tailgate passed the backdraft caught him and he went down with the bike. The truck driver kept going but later stopped and returned to the accident scene only to say to the cyclist, “I never touched you”.
The cyclist was taken to a local hospital where he was diagnosed as having suffered a fractured collar bone and 4 fractured ribs. We intimated the claim to the truck driver’s insurance company who initially maintained that their driver had not hit the cyclist. We reminded the insurance company that their driver had to give cyclists "at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car." (Highway Code Rule 163).
Even though there had been no collision, the cyclist lost control of his bike because the lorry had been far too close. Thankfully, there were helpful witnesses who all confirmed the driver barely gave this elderly cyclist inches of passing space.
Eventually, the insurance company agreed to negotiate settlement. In July 2014 an offer in the sum of £16,000 was accepted and our client was delighted with the outcome.
In this case, the client was a vulnerable road user who has now unfortunately lost his confidence and may not return to the level of cycling he enjoyed pre accident. It is a nonsense to suggest that if there was no collision, then there was no liability. The only reason the cyclist lost control of the bicycle was because the truck driver passed far too close and did not give the requisite room.