Prime Minister Boris Johnson has often been seen cycling around London (though perhaps somewhat precariously…) and is known to be supportive of cycling as a means of promoting health, both physical and mental;  tackling obesity;  improving the environment and cutting congestion.

If the pandemic and lockdown have had any good effects, then people getting out and about by walking and cycling with a visible benefit to the environment and air quality are two of them and this is what has “kick-started” the government’s latest promotion.

To carry on this good work and to promote cycling and walking, the government has outlined plans to do just that, combining a “vision”  thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes, cycle training for any child or adult, and the first ever zero-emission transport city, using, it is said, £2 billion pounds of new investment.

To this they have added the initial release of £50 bike repair vouchers to encourage more people to enjoy the benefits of active travel. The first 50,000 are now available on a first come first served basis to those who register:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-apply-for-a-voucher

You can also register as a bike repairer:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fix-your-bike-voucher-scheme-register-as-a-bike-repairer

GP’s will also apparently be able to prescribe cycling as a means of health promotion and prevention.

The plans are contained mainly in two documents:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-plan-for-england

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-kickstarts-2bn-cycling-and-walking-revolution

which set out the actions required at all levels of government, grouped under four themes:

  • Better streets for cycling and people
  • Cycling and walking at the heart of decision-making
  • Empowering and encouraging local authorities
  • Enabling people to cycle and protecting them when they do

Aim

The aim is to build on the significant increase in the number of people cycling during the pandemic. It sets out a comprehensive, long term vision to increase active travel and embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and get around.  Cycle training will be made available for every child and adult who wants it, accessible through schools, local authorities or direct from cycle training schemes; more cycle racks will be installed at transport hubs, town and city centres and public buildings and funding will go towards new bike hangars and on street storage for people who don’t have space to keep a bike at home. There are also plans for thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities and improvements to the National Cycle Network, together with lots more ambitious plans.

You would be hard -pressed to find more support for this campaign than from two of our personal injury lawyers here at Ringrose Law.  Our Senior Partner, John Knight, is a passionate cyclist, as is one of our Senior Solicitors, Richard Teare, who held national junior titles in track racing (round and round a velodrome), hill climbs and roller racing (static bikes on rollers) together with a bronze medal in the National Team Pursuit as a senior. Any chance they get, any weather, they are out there on two wheels, leaving the rest of us (who are not without our own sporting skills, to be fair) thinking they must surely be slightly mad…. They in turn think we are for not cycling.

Whilst we know how beneficial cycling can be in many respects, as lawyers, we are also only too aware of how vulnerable cyclists can be; John and Richard through practical experience, though hopefully the government’s plans will reduce this.

We see lots of cycling injuries in our personal injury department.

Car doors are opened without the driver looking around, straight into the path of a cyclist.  Cyclists become invisible in traffic, with vehicles, often large lorries, turning right across their path. They get clipped by protruding wing mirrors as cars pass too close, or are forced off the road when an overtaking car decides they need to dip back into the traffic sharpish.  This is in addition to injuries caused by the poor state of many roads. They can be very serious and life changing injuries such as head injuries or severe breaks to limbs.

We do know cyclists aren’t all saints and some can seem to be at least contributing to their own accident by failing to take simple precautions such as wearing helmets, hi-viz clothing and making sure they have lights on their bikes. The law does recognise this and any compensation can be reduced as a result.

Our hope is that this campaign will also raise awareness of these issues for cyclists, especially new ones. We want to see riders seeing self -protection as the norm and being puzzled by those who don’t take such steps.  We want to see the actions of the few cyclists who alienate the public by riding at speed on pavements and jumping red lights become unacceptable.  Our team want cycling made safer with fewer accidents and injuries so many more people can enjoy what John and Richard will tell you is a brilliant activity for all.

We can help

If you have been involved in a cycling accident, contact John, Richard or any of the personal injury team at Ringrose Law for initial free advice as to whether you can make a claim.

Call 01522 561020 or email enquiries@ringroselaw.co.uk

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