I was cycling on the pavement when I was injured. Can I claim?
The Highway Code states in Rule 64 of its Rules for Cyclists that you must not cycle on a pavement. This is backed up with legislation from 1835, when the Highway Act declared its "penalty on persons committing nuisances by riding on footpaths" in section 72.
That Act made it an offence for "any person to wilfully ride (a carriage) upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers..."
The Local Government Act 1888 further enforced this by declaring in section 85 that "bicycles, tricycles, velocipedes, and other similar machines are hereby declared to be carriages within the meaning of the Highway Acts".
Although statistics would indicate that accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians are relatively few, there has been no change to the legislation. Those found guilty of the offence may face a fixed penalty notice of £50, or a court fine of up to £500.
However the police tend to use discretion, especially where children are cycling on the pavement for safety.
Bringing a claim for a cycling injury
In bringing a claim for any personal injury sustained whilst cycling it is necessary to establish that the accident was caused by the negligence of another.
For example: if you were cycling along a pavement and collided with some "pavement furniture" - such as a lamppost, a pavement bench or a bus-stop it would be very difficult to find anyone other than yourself liable for your accident.
This is because by cycling on the pavement you were breaking the law. A Court would probably decide that had you not been on the pavement you would not have collided with the object - and therefore would not have sustained the injury.
However, if you were cycling along the pavement and an out of control vehicle mounted the pavement, knocking you off your cycle, then the driver of the vehicle may be found liable for your injuries. Since all road users have a duty of care to each other that duty of care would be breached by the road user who knocked you off your cycle.
The defendant may argue that you would have not been hit by the vehicle mounting the pavement if you had not been cycling on the pavement. But it could be counter argued that if you had been in the same place, but on the road you would have still been hit; or if you were pushing your cycle along the pavement that the outcome may have been similar.
If the Court considers that by breaking the law you have been negligent in your duty of care to other road users it may decide that you were partly liable for your injuries and make a reduction to your compensation award - owing to your contributory negligence.
Claims such as these can be complicated. We would advise speaking to an experienced specialist personal injury solicitor who can discuss your specific circumstances and recommend a suitable course of action.