A keen cyclist was out for an afternoon’s cycle ride on the 3rd July 2011. She was riding on a climbing road through a forest and was involved in an accident with a 4×4 travelling in the opposite direction. She sustained brain injuries and could not give any details about the accident circumstances. The car driver denied that there had been any contact between the car and the cycle and alleged that the cyclist had lost her balance.
The car was on its own side of the road but the evidence suggested that the cycle was quite close to the middle of the road. She was on her pedals as she cycled up the hill and the car driver did not see her until it was too late to react.
The Claimant used an accident reconstruction expert to prove that there had been contact between the cycle and the car and the cycle tyre had left scuff marks on the rear offside wheel of the 4×4. The court decided that the car driver was to blame because car drivers had to anticipate vulnerable road users such as cyclists and be ready to react to them. Had the driver kept a better look-out she would have realised there was no room to pass the cyclist safely. There was judgment in favour of the cyclist but the court held that she was 25% to blame for the way she was riding. The case is Sinclair v Joyner heard on 23rd June 2015.
The facts of the next case are simple and it represents a very common occurrence in cycling – in McGreer v Macintosh an HGV turned left into a side road and at the time the HGV driver undertook that manoeuvre there was a cyclist, Colette McGreer, passing the lorry on the inside. The HGV driver was indicating a left turn but Ms McGreer could not have seen that from where she was. There was a collision and she suffered very severe injuries. The court decided that the lorry driver was to blame for failing to properly check his mirrors before he moved to the left but the cyclist was held to be 30% to blame for failing to heed the guidance in the Highway Code about the dangers of passing long vehicles on the inside should those vehicles then turn left.