Can I make a cycling Injury claim if I ran a red light?
Cycling accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including a cyclist's failure to comply with the law. One such common offence is the act of ‘running’ or ‘jumping’ a red light, which refers to the action of crossing the line at a red traffic light.
What does the law say about running a red light?
Running a red light is a punishable offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 s.36 and the Traffic Signs Regulations and Directions 2002 regulations 10 and 36(1).
The maximum penalty for running a red light is a fine of up to £1,000 and six penalty points on the driver’s licence. However, in most cases, cyclists receive a Fixed Penalty Notice of £30.
However, despite this legislation, many cyclists continue to flout the law, with 1,000’s of cyclists receiving Fixed Penalty Notices for this offence every year.
Duty of care
All road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, have a duty of care to all other road users, and observing traffic signals would fall within this duty.
Running a red light can have serious consequences for a cyclist and other road users, including pedestrians.
In 2013, a cyclist received a 12-month jail sentence for grievous bodily harm after he knocked down a 9-year-old girl at a pedestrian crossing because he failed to stop at a red light. The cyclist was travelling at speed and was seemingly oblivious to his surroundings.
So I can’t claim compensation if injured when I jumped a red light?
If you were injured after running a red light, you may still be able to claim compensation.
If another road user also contributes to a cycling accident, compensation for injuries sustained while running a red light may still be awarded.
In one example, a cyclist collided with a truck that had also jumped a red light. Although the truck driver was also found to be at fault, the cyclist's compensation was reduced due to his ‘contributory negligence’.
In another example, a cyclist collided with a taxi that had crossed a junction on a green light. The cyclist jumped the red light and failed to brake in time to avoid the collision.
The Court learned that the taxi driver was speeding (41-50mph in a 30mph zone) and had the taxi driver been observing the speed limit, the collision would not have occurred. Had the cyclist observed the red light, however, he would not have been in the taxi's path.
It was concluded that the accident had 3 causative factors:
- The cyclist's running of the red light
- The cyclist's failure to apply his brakes in time to avoid the accident
- The taxi driver's excessive speed
In this claim example, a ruling of contributory negligence was made and the cyclist received a reduced amount of compensation.
In conclusion, cyclists must obey traffic rules and signals, including stopping at red lights. Failure to do so not only puts the cyclist at risk of an accident but may also lead to reduced compensation if they are involved in an accident.