With the increasing popularity of cycling in Victoria, more and more cyclists are being injured on the road and in transport accidents.
The State Government and Local Governments are actively encouraging cycling with the introduction of dedicated cycling lanes and bike paths. But these lanes and paths do not span the entire road network and inevitably cyclists are required to take to the public roads.
Cyclists are very vulnerable road users. Unlike motor bike riders who wear protective clothing, cyclists tend to wear sporting attire, which affords them no protection at all if they come into contact with the bitumen road surface.
Further, cyclists are more than able to travel at or even above the posted speed limits in city and suburban areas. Just like motor bike riders, when cyclists hit fixed objects at speed, the potential for serious or even catastrophic injury is high.
Unlike motorists, cyclists don’t have the benefit of TAC coverage unless:
They are involved in a collision with a motor car or motor bike, tram or train; or
They collide with a parked car when travelling to or from work. If they hit a parked car at any other time, they are not covered by the TAC.
Many bicycle accidents occur on shared bike paths. Accidents on bike paths usually involve collisions between two bicycles or between a bicycle and a pedestrian. In these cases, none of the parties injured in such an accident are entitled to TAC benefits.
This means that injured cyclists or injured pedestrians would have to look to the party at fault to bring a claim for damages. All cyclists using shared bike paths, or the public roads, should carefully check their home insurance to make sure that they are covered in respect of claims made against them by people injured as a result of their negligence.
If a cyclist is injured through their own fault in these circumstances, they have no insurance cover or TAC entitlements at all.
Given the increasing popularity of cycling on public roads and on shared bike paths, it makes sense that Government policy should be developed to provide TAC cover for these vulnerable road users. However, everything comes at a price.
The cost of providing TAC cover for a recreational vehicle, e.g. a dirt bike not used on public roads is about $68.00 per annum. A cyclist’s risk profile is probably greater because they do ride on public roads. However, the problem is how to administer a scheme for collection of insurance premiums from this group of road users.
The issue is not one of revenue raising for Government. It is one of providing compensation that is equivalent to that enjoyed by drivers of cars and motor bikes on public roads.
For more information about this you should telephone either Peter Burt or Clara Davies, specialist TAC Claims Lawyers/Bicycle Claims Lawyers of Burt & Davies, Level 11, 451 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. They are both Accredited Personal Injury Lawyers and Personal Injury Lawyers who practice exclusively in TAC Common Law Claims.
Telephone (03) 9605 3111 or freecall 1800 109 940
© Burt & Davies 2014