Can I claim if I was injured when cycling with headphones?
While it is not illegal to wear earphones and listen to music while cycling on public roads, doing so may pose a risk to your safety by potentially distracting you from your surroundings and impeding your ability to hear approaching vehicles.
If you were injured when cycling whilst wearing headphones, you may still be held partially liable if your lack of attention or awareness contributed to your accident.
How is liability decided?
Cycling accidents can happen for a multitude of reasons, and the court will assess the circumstances that led to your accident in order to determine who is responsible (liable) for the accident.
Although most cycling claims are settled outside of court, the process of determining liability for an accident remains the same for both the claimant's and defendant's solicitors, whether the case is resolved through negotiation or in a courtroom.
The court will consider various factors to determine liability, including the speed and compliance of other road users and the road conditions. The cyclist's attention, visibility, attire, visibility, use of lights (if appropriate), and adherence to traffic signals are also considered to determine whether the cyclist was partially liable.
Following the Highway Code's guidelines on road safety is essential for cyclists. The Code includes maintaining awareness of their surroundings, signalling their intentions, and checking for obstructions in the way.
Wearing headphones can distract cyclists from their surroundings, potentially leading to slower reactions to hazards, collisions, or failing to notice road defects. If you were distracted or your awareness was compromised by listening to music while cycling, the defendant may argue that there was contributory negligence on your part.
What is contributory negligence?
In the context of a cycling injury claim, contributory negligence refers to the idea that the cyclist may have contributed to the accident or their injuries in some way.
If, for example, you were involved in an accident with a driver and you were not wearing a helmet, the driver's insurance company may argue that you were partially responsible for your injuries because you failed to take reasonable precautions to protect yourself.
Similarly, a defendant may put up a defence of contributory negligence if it can be demonstrated that had you not been listening to music, the accident could have been prevented, or your injuries would have been less severe.
If contributory negligence is agreed, your compensation will be reduced to reflect the degree to which your actions or omissions contributed to the accident or the severity of your injuries. The exact percentage of the reduction will depend on the specific circumstances of the case and the extent to which your actions contributed to the accident or injuries.