Can I make a cycling injury claim if I ran a red light?

If you were injured on your bike and it was someone else’s fault you can claim financial compensation. But what if your injury happened when you fail to stop at a red light?

Cycling red traffic light

What does the law say about cyclists jumping red lights?

According to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Traffic Signs Regulations and Directions and Directions 2002, it is an offence for a road user to cross a traffic light stop line when the traffic lights are red.

The law applies equally to motorists and cyclists. If you jump a red light as a cyclist you could face a maximum £1,000 fine.

Some signal-controlled junctions have ‘Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs)’ which are sometimes referred to as ‘bike boxes’.

The Highway Code explains that ASL’s are designed to:

“Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.”

Motorists, including motorcyclists, must stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and cyclists must stop at the second white line.

What if I jumped a red light and was subsequently injured?

If you ran a red light and collided with another road user, it may still be possible to claim injury compensation for a cycling injury. However, it will need to be established that there was negligence on the part of the other road user.

If, for example, you ran the light and were hit by a driver crossing a green light, a court may conclude that you were solely responsible for your injuries and no compensation would be awarded.

If, however, the driver was speeding the court may conclude that the driver was partly to blame. The accident might not have occurred if the driver was not speeding, or the severity of your injuries may have been reduced. The cyclist still contributed to their injuries by jumping the red light, however.

Contributory negligence

Because liability for an accident is not always clear cut, It is sometimes possible to claim for compensation following an accident, even if you were partly responsible for the accident or partly responsible for the seriousness of your injuries (e.g. you weren’t wearing a bicycle helmet).

Contributory negligence’ is the technical term for this concept of partial responsibility. The courts will apportion compensation awards according to the apportionment of liability. For example, if the court finds that the claimant was 25 per cent responsible for the accident, the same percentage will be deducted from the claimant's compensation award.

The case of Malasi v Attmed (2011) is a good example of a court making a contributory negligence ruling.

In this example, a cyclist wearing dark clothing and no helmet ran a red light and was hit by a taxi. Although the taxi had correctly crossed a green light, it was travelling at between 40 and 50mph at the point of collision. As the accident occurred in a 30mph zone, the taxi was speeding.

The court decided that, although the main liability lay with the cyclist, the speeding taxi still contributed to the accident and the cyclist’s injuries. It was decided that the cyclist was 80% responsible for the accident. The cyclist received 20% of the compensation he would otherwise have received if there had been no contributory negligence.

What if I injured someone else?

If, as a cyclist, you jump a red light and injured someone else you could be held liable. As a cyclist, you may not be insured and you may be forced to pay financial compensation to the injured party.

Again, there may be contributory negligence involved. For example, if you hit a pedestrian who was crossing the road when you ran the light a court may find you fully liable. However, if the pedestrian was looking at their phone rather than the road, the court may take the view that the pedestrian might not have stepped out if they had been looking where they were going. The pedestrian's injuries may have been less severe.

In this example, your liability may be reduced on the basis of the pedestrian's contributory negligence.

How we can help

If you have been injured on your bike and another person was to blame (even partly), we can help you get the financial compensation you to deserve. Speak to one of our legally trained cycling accident advisors who will tell you what your options are and how likely a claim is to be successful.

If you then decide to pursue a claim, we will put you through to a solicitor with the best expertise to handle your claim.

Chris Salmon, Director

About the author

Chris Salmon is a co-founder and Director of Quittance Legal Services. Chris has played key roles in the shaping and scaling of a number of legal services brands and is a regular commentator in the legal press.

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