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Cycling safety in Edinburgh and Midlothian

Recent research by Allan McDougall Solicitors has revealed that bicycle retailers in Edinburgh and Midlothian believe an integrated safety awareness campaign to educate and train both cyclists and motorists in good safety practice would be the best way to prevent cycling accidents in the region.

Allan McDougall Solicitors, which operates the www.cyclecompensation.com website to help cyclists make accident compensation claims, interviewed 21 specialist bicycle retailers during May 2013.  As they deal with cyclists every day, the firm wanted to understand their informed views on the main causes of cycling accidents in the region, what preventative measures could be taken, and what might prohibit an injured cyclist from making a claim for compensation.

Julie Harris, a partner with Allan McDougall Solicitors, commented: “Bicycle retailers are clear that motorist and cyclist errors and behaviour, in addition to poor road conditions, are the main causes of cycling accidents.  This is a more balanced view than we often read in the media.   However, motorist error is still seen as the main culprit.  We are of course aware that cyclists are among the most vulnerable of road users.  If Scotland were to introduce a system of strict liability (the presumption that if a cyclist is injured by a motor vehicle, the motorist is to blame) for vehicle/cyclist accidents, that would be a huge step forward.

We agree with the need for a more integrated approach to this issue.  Too many campaigns are focused on just one aspect of the problem.   An integrated approach involving both cyclists and motorists (not forgetting pedestrians, and drivers of other vehicles too) would assist in building mutual understanding and respect among all parties.  After all, many individuals are both cyclists and motorists!”

Lack of knowledge about making a claim and a perception that it would take up too much time were seen by the retailers as the main reasons why cyclists may not make a claim for compensation when they have had an accident.

Julie added: “Clearly lawyers need to provide more information about the claims process.  While the duration can be lengthy, it does not need to take up much time.  We encourage anyone injured, whether slightly or seriously, in a cycling accident to make a compensation claim. In taking this step, they are in fact acting in the interests of other cyclists.  We have first hand experience of seeing that it sometimes takes someone to pursue a claim for the powers that be to take remedial action, e.g. to sort a dangerous junction or repair the road.”

For more information, please call Julie Harris on 0131 225 2121 or email julieharris@allanmcdougall.co.uk.

Download a presentation of our findings (PDF)

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APIL Senior Litigator

Allan McDougall Solicitors in Edinburgh