Published 27 Dec 2017
Author: Garbis Kolokossian
Cycling accidents have become a growing concern in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) following several high-profile incidents over the last few years.
The tragic death of endurance cyclist Mike Hall in March sparked debate over whether the ACT's roads were still safe for people riding their bikes.
Furthermore, a man riding an electric bike was awarded $9 million in compensation in 2016 after a collision with a motor vehicle that left him with quadriplegia.
How can I stay safe?
Cyclists are considered vulnerable road users due to the severity of injuries they can suffer when involved in accidents.
So how can cyclists stay safe? Here are a few tips from the ACT government:
Wear an approved safety helmet: Cyclists must always wear helmets to protect from head injuries if they are involved in a crash. Any helmet should be in line with relevant Australian Standards in either the ACT or NSW.
Wearing a helmet has been enshrined in ACT law since 1992, and riders must be compliant whether they are cycling on the road or a path.
Care for your bike: Accidents aren't always due to other road users. A poorly maintained bike could risk failing at a critical time, especially if lights, brakes or the bell fail.
Cyclists should always assess the condition of their bike and rectify any issues before embarking on a journey.
Use your lights: Anyone riding a bike at night is legally required to have a white headlight, a red taillight and a red tail reflector.
These simple measures protect cyclists in two ways; they can see where they are going, as well as be seen by other road users.
Be careful: Cyclists should prioritise their safety and that of others when riding their bike, which means adjusting their behaviour according to the surroundings.
Always be on the lookout for hazards and risks that could lead to an accident, including damaged roads or paths, overhanging foliage, pedestrians and motor vehicles.
Can I claim compensation?
A 2015 ACT government report found cyclist casualties are trending upwards in the territory, largely due to the fact more people are riding bikes. There were 41 casualties in 2006, but this had more than doubled to 94 by 2014.
Cyclists who are injured in motor accidents where they are not to blame or only partly at fault could be eligible for compensation.
If you would like to discuss cycling accident damages, please contact Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers for more information.