Can I claim for an injury if I am cycling across a zebra crossing?
Rule 79 of the Highway Code's rules for cyclists clearly states that you should not ride across a pelican, puffin or zebra crossing - instead you should dismount and wheel your cycle across.
As the rule stands it is non-statutory - i.e. it is not illegal to cycle across a zebra or other pedestrian crossing, however other legislation (sections 28 and 29 of the Road Traffic Act 1988) might find you guilty of the offence of either dangerous cycling or careless and inconsiderate cycling - especially if you were involved in an accident with a pedestrian while cycling on the crossing.
If this did happen, it would be difficult to establish that anyone other than yourself was liable for any injuries you sustained and therefore unlikely that you could bring a successful claim. However the pedestrian would be able to claim against you for his injuries.
What if I was hit by another motorist while cycling across a pedestrian crossing?
Much depends on the circumstances of the accident and the persons involved.
The Highway Code rules 195 to 198 detail procedures for motorists and other road users approaching and stopping at pedestrian crossings, and these are supported by legislation in the Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations 1997 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
A motorist who injures a pedestrian on a crossing is therefore in breach of the regulations, likely to be prosecuted and would be found liable for any injuries sustained by the pedestrian.
Since a cyclist who rides his cycle across a pedestrian crossing is not a pedestrian, in theory a motorist who fails to give way to the cyclist would not be committing an offence, or be liable for the injuries caused.
However, all road users have a duty of care to ensure each other's safety; therefore a motorist who collides with another road user (whether pedestrian or cyclist) on a pedestrian crossing may be guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act (RTA) 1988.
This may include:
- Driving without due care and attention (careless driving), which applies to both deliberate inconsiderate driving and incompetent driving
- Dangerous driving
- Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users
- Driving under the influence of drink or drugs
- Driving while unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured
In this situation a Court may rule that the defendant is liable for the claimant's injuries, however the defendant could argue that those injuries would not have occurred if the claimant had not been cycling on the crossing.
This may mean a reduction in the compensation award for "contributory negligence".
What about toucan crossings?
Toucan crossings are light-controlled and designed to allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross together - with cyclists permitted to ride across.
A claim for injury sustained by a cyclist injured whilst cycling across a "toucan" may be more straightforward than one brought by a cyclist on a zebra crossing.