British Cycling road racer crashes when car suddenly exits junction

At Cycle Law Scotland, we’re fortunate to have a breadth of clients across the whole range of cyclists. From new and occasional cyclists to commuters, mountain bikers and road cyclists. However, sometimes, even the most experienced of cyclists can find themselves involved in an incident through no fault of their own. 
 
Ben is an Engineer in the Royal Navy but also a Category 2 British Cycling Road Racer. He has competed up and down the UK as part of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Cycling Association. He was a solid Cat 2 racer having accumulated 42 points in 2019 in the racing calendar year prior to the pandemic, racing in road races, time trials and crit races. He trains seriously throughout the year both on the turbo trainer and out on the road.

In July 2020, he was out on a training ride on his Dolan Aria TT bike on a route near to his  home. Whilst riding along a quiet country lane, a car suddenly pulled out from a junction to his left.  He had no choice but to take evasive action and pulled on his brakes. In doing so, he fell from his bike and sustained some very nasty road rash and an injury to his shoulder. Whilst being stoic about his injuries, Ben’s main complaint was that the interruption to his training whilst he recovered, meant that his race peak was affected and he wasn’t as competitive as he ought to have been during the 2020 season.Road Rash
 As cyclists ourselves, we know how important the sport is to our clients and we can understand the frustration of many hours of training leading up to race season being put to waste through an act of negligence. Our solicitors, Thomas Mitchell and Roz Boynton – both racing cyclists in their own right – represented Ben in his case and they could understand the impact this incident had on him.
 
When the claim was intimated to the insurers of the driver involved, liability was denied.  The driver said that he hadn’t pulled out of the junction (which transpired to be his driveway), but instead that Ben must have simply panicked on seeing his car and fallen from his bike.  Knowing the extent of the experience that Ben has on his bike, and despite there being no other witnesses to the incident, we were happy to raise his case at court to seek damages for his broken bicycle, helmet and injuries. 
 
Despite extensive negotiations with the insurers throughout the court case, the offers in settlement made were only partial offers providing incomplete compensation to Ben for what had happened.  We considered it likely that a Court would find in his favour and we advised Ben that we should reject those offers and proceed to a Proof hearing before a Sheriff at the All Scotland Personal Injury Court. 
 
The Proof hearing was carried out by video call due to the pandemic.  Ben was able to give evidence through video link without the inconvenience (and potential covid risk) of attending in person at Court and we were pleased that the Court found fully in his favour. The Sheriff relied heavily on Ben’s clear experience as a cyclist In making his decision and found it was most likely that he had fallen from his bicycle as a reaction to the hazard caused by the negligence of the driver and awarded him full compensation for his injuries, bike and kit.
 
We love getting to know our clients. Sometimes, going the extra mile to learn more about our clients than just basic details, makes all the difference in helping us to win our cases.” 

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