PASSION FOR CYCLING
Colleen always had a passion for cycling. She would typically cycle around 125 miles per week and occasionally over 100 miles in a day. She and her husband also regularly enjoyed cycling holidays in Gran Canaria and Majorca usually covering at least 300 miles during the vacation. Colleen enjoyed cycling from Edinburgh to the Scottish Borders with a quick stop to re-fuel in Innerleithen before the return trip back to the capital. She also commuted to and from work in Edinburgh City Centre daily on her bicycle. However, one day in February 2019, Colleen was involved in a cycling incident in Edinburgh which had a significant impact on her life and her passion for cycling.
At around 5.30pm, Colleen was cycling her Pinnacle down Dundas Street. She’d met a friend after work and together they were on their way to an exercise class. She was leading and her friend was following. She cycled towards the advanced stop line at the junction with Henderson Row and Eyre Place. All of a sudden, the passenger door of a car sitting stationary at the lights was swung open into her path, hitting her right arm and leg. The force of the impact caused her to fall from her bicycle landing face first on the pavement.
Colleen's bicycle was fitted with front and rear lights and she was wearing high visibility clothing. She was there to be seen.
Her physical injuries included cuts and bruises to her top lip, left eye, her face and also to her right arm and knee. Significantly, Colleen also suffered from psychological trauma resulting in sleep disturbance and recurrent flashbacks.
Colleen instructed Cycle Law Scotland to recover damages for her injuries and loss. Following intimation of the claim to the driver’s motor insurer, liability was admitted. We obtained an early interim payment for Colleen to cover the cost of her bicycle repairs to allow her to get back to cycling as soon as possible.
In March 2019, Colleen returned to cycling. She began commuting once again to and from work on her bicycle one day a week. She also cycled from the Borders to Edinburgh. However, as soon as she reached busy traffic and parked cars, she became anxious. This resulted in her stopping any commuting by bike and instead she began walking to and from work. This was a huge knock to Colleen as cycling has been such a big part of her life prior to the incident. Cycle Law Scotland instructed a Consultant Psychologist to meet with her to discuss her anxiety and avoidance she was experiencing in relation to cycling.
SETTLEMENT AND THERAPY
Colleen was diagnosed as having developed a specific Phobia of cycling. She was recommended twelve sessions of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
We valued Colleen's claim and asked for the cost of the CBT sessions to be factored into our settlement proposals. In response to our reasonable valuation, a very low offer was received that didn’t cover the cost of therapy, so we raised a court action.
Just one month after raising court proceedings, the defenders made an offer to settle that was accepted. It was hugely important for Colleen to be in a position to access psychological support. Funding for Cognitive Behavioural Treatment was included within her settlement to help her overcome the emotional distress of being involved in a collision and the fear of cycling.
WHAT WE DO
At Cycle Law Scotland, we recognise how important cycling can be to an individual’s life. It can be used as a form of exercise but also as a stress reliever. Being involved in a collision which leads to anxiety and avoidance of cycling can be extremely frustrating when all someone wants to do is return to the cycling they loved prior to the incident. We understand this at Cycle Law Scotland and that is why we work closely with psychologists to ensure treatment is available to help overcome this.
At CLS all of our specialist lawyers are cyclists, so we know how important our bikes and our cycling habits are to our routine. Emotional distress takes longer to recover from in some cases and help is needed. As cycling lawyers, we will always go the extra mile.
Colleen was delighted with the settlement she received and said, "I highly recommend Cycle Law Scotland for their professionalism and thoroughness. I was knocked off my bike when a passenger door was opened just as I was approaching an Advanced Stop Line zone. I was reluctant at first to pursue compensation for fear of exacerbating ongoing "us v them" arguments, but I am glad I contacted CLS. Zara handled my case with empathy and efficiency. She kept me updated regularly with progress and secured a fair settlement toward damages to my bicycle and kit as well as physical injuries and emotional distress."