Many cyclists do not have third party insurance and it is not compulsory to do so as it is with other road users like motorcyclists, cars, vans and lorries.
It is often a criticism of cyclists that they do not have registration plates that would help to identify them in the event of a collision. This could also make them a hit and run risk if they cause an accident and flee the scene. Even if there is CCTV, it would be much more difficult to identify a cyclist than to track down a car through its registration number.
From the victim’s point of view, if the cyclist does not have insurance, this often means that, even if the cyclist does stop, he may not be worth suing if he has no assets or a limited income. Injured pedestrians or other road users are then left without any recourse to compensation as the Motor Insurers' Bureau does not deal with claims where the uninsured or untraced ‘driver’ is a cyclist.
The downside for the cyclist who is responsible for causing an accident, be it colliding with a pedestrian, another cyclist or other road user, is that he or she may be personally liable for the damage caused. Compensation claimed against them depends on the severity of the injuries, which would be substantial in the event of a serious injury. The liability would also extend to the injured person’s legal fees. Enforcement of damages and costs can include charging orders against a person’s house, an order for sale or even a garnishee order on that person’s pay packet to take the amount owed over a period of months or more.
Clearly, it makes sense to take out third party insurance if you are cyclist because, if you do not and you cause an accident, the consequences could be financially very damaging.
At Penningtons Manches we act for victims of cycling accidents as well as acting for cyclists who want to defend civil claims made against them when they caused the accident themselves.