British Cycling has raised concerns over the access cyclists will have to legal representation in small claims court in the future following news that the government’s proposed changes to personal injury claims will not apply to cyclists.
The Ministry of Justice announced this week that an increase to the small claims limit for personal injury claims – which are being made to reform the soft tissue injury, or whiplash, claims process – from £1,000 to £5,000 would not apply to cyclists.
The proposed accross-the-board £5,000 limit for small claims will instead only apply to injury claims involving motor vehicles. For all other traffic-related personal injury claims, including injuries sustained on a bicycle, the new limit will be £2,000.
Despite presenting fears that even the imminent £1,000 increase opens the door for further changes in the future, the overriding message from British Cycling was a positive one.
The UK’s cycling governing body released a statement in January which expressed its concern that proposed increases to what is considered a small claim would prevent 70% of cyclists from accessing legal aid. It also claimed that the proposed changes had not taken cyclists into consideration at all.
Its recent statement read:
“British Cycling is pleased that the government has not extended the £5,000 limit across the board and has quite rightly excluded vulnerable road users such as cyclists from the full force of the reforms.
“However, there are concerns that once these changes are implemented it will pave the way for the government to increase the £5,000 small claims limit to all personal injury claims. British Cycling will be watching developments closely in this regard.”