British Cycling has said that it is disappointed by the breadth of the Government’s consultation on reforming the whiplash claims process as it will block Access to Justice for cycle claimants.
The cycling federation has said that it recognises the need to address the UK’s “compensation culture” but is concerned that the consultation does not even provide a single mention of the impact that the proposed reforms will have on non-motorised road users – including people on bikes.
It said that it was clear that the proposals would significantly reduce cyclists’ access to justice. British Cycling said that the issue of raising the small claims limit for all personal injury claims to £5,000 and so ensuring that legal costs of claims under that amount would no longer be recoverable – went far beyond the main aim of cracking down on whiplash claims.
Martin Key, the British Cycling campaigns manager, said: “This is a disappointing set of proposals, and we felt the need to speak out publicly on behalf of Britain’s cyclists as well as submit our own response to the consultation.
“The vast majority of injuries sustained in cycling incidents are valued at under the proposed £5,000 limit, meaning that – under the new proposals – any cyclist involved in an incident would find it very difficult to get legal representation and therefore to be adequately compensated for their injuries.
“This would then have the opposite effect to that which the report sets out to achieve, and would encourage increased cold calls by claims management companies.
“The message that this sends to cyclists is one which conflicts with existing government policy. Increasing levels of cycling is a proven way to reduce congestion, improve the environment and reduce the burden on the NHS – the Government needs to be encouraging more people to cycle, not putting extra obstacles in the way.”
British Cycling also said that it objects to the consultation process running over the Christmas period, with the 6 January deadline for responses reducing the opportunity to produce robust responses to the broad number of issues raised.