Back in February I wrote a "Woe Is Me" piece after being brought down rather badly (5 stitches in my eyebrow, Trek 2300 seriously damaged, clothing ripped etc) by a loose dog on a public road, albeit out in the countryside. Dog owner had pet insurance. I had the Police and some terrific Paramedics who sewed me up by the road.

But I also had British Cycling Membership. I gave them the details and they put me onto their solicitors Leigh Day. After a rather shaky start to my claim, things escalated rapidly. But the dog owner's insurance company contested my claim and denied liability!

Yep, can you believe it?

I've got fotos, medical reports, Police reports, physical damage - and yet they deny responsibility? Tell me, just how does that work? Who's worse? The (many) insurance scammers, or the companies who simply refuse to pay up when the people they insure are clearly to blame?

Leigh Day have been absolutely great!!! (They are good fun to work with too!) They advised me thoroughly at all stages, dealt with the whole process for me, took the dog owner's testimony apart (it was full of blatant untruths!) and engineered a situation where the insurers paid out 3.5 times what I was expecting/hoping to receive - although only if I allowed them to deny liability!!! Que? Yes, quite.

Without Leigh Day's help, the only alternative would have been a personal suit against the dog owner after having paid a Barrister's fee to review the evidence and tell me if whether we had a case, or not.

And me - I did nothing wrong at all. Just rode me bike, one lunch time.

Thank goodness I had my BC Membership. Like my helmet and burner phone, I would never ride without it and I'm proud to say I've been a BC member for years.

What have I learned from all this?

1. Get insurance to ride - whatever you do and wherever you ride! Join British Cycling now! And ride safe in the knowledge that you have backup and legal protection.

2. If you have an incident - pray there's a witness(es) and get their name(s) and address(es)

3. If you're hurt - get the Police involved.

4. Take fotos and record all the evidence.

It has taken from 16 Feb to now to get this all sorted.

But without BC Membership and Leigh Day's help, I would simply have taken it on the chin and in the eye.

BIG, BIG UP for British Cycling and for Leigh Day. I am proud to be associated with them both because they look out for and look after the little guy.

You don't have to ride with risk. It's easy to get the law on your side. Take it from one who knows and who found out the hard way that it's easier to get things done when you've got someone working for you who knows exactly what they're doing.

So ... ride hard, ride safe and enjoy every mile.


mizzle [21 posts] 5 years ago

Good to hear. I am currently going through the process against a car driver who knocked me off in August so this is reassurring

Gkam84 [9119 posts] 5 years ago

I went through the same sort of thing, what made it difficult for me, it was a car, the driver found a "witness" and I was charged with throwing my bike at the car and causing the damage myself.

So it went to court and I was done with it, after all that, I actually got a pay out, more than I was expecting aswell because the solicitor was happy to appeal it. So long as they didn't have to admit liability (I don't quite understand how that works) then the drivers insurance were happy to pay out.

Had I wanted them to admit liability, they wouldn't have paid  39

Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago

Do they cover racing?

davebinks [153 posts] 5 years ago

Sorry to hear you had to call on their services in the first place, but well done.
However, not just BC offers free insurance through their membership. CTC also offer an excellent service. I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of CTC's solicitors.

SideBurn [890 posts] 5 years ago

Have had similar positive experiences with the CTC and BCF (as it was then) membership is worth its weight in gold! If I remember correctly you have to pay extra for racing insurance Raleigh.

MrBLH [26 posts] 5 years ago

I bought the standard BC membership for 12 pounds using the voucher code 'TForL12' - still valid until the end of the year.

Cost was the only reason for BC over CTC.

Thankfully I haven't had to use the insurance, and I am also insured (3rd party) in case I am liable in an accident.

comm88 [76 posts] 5 years ago

I think it's great to see that there are people like me who do care about riding responsibly and ride with adequate insurance - not just for themselves, but for any damage they may unexpectedly cause to others like clipping a car or wing mirror when you're trying to stay safe, catching an unwary pedestrian, or something as simple as falling off (yes, we all do it!) and damaging someone else's vehicle, possessions or property.

If it's your fault, then you should pay and you should have the resources behind you to be able to pay. I guess it all boils down to respect for others and, maybe, in this beggar thy neighbour era respect has gone out of the window. Does anyone care any more? A few it seems do and there are marginally more of us than of the other kind. (Louse Armstrong excepted!!)

As I've said often, I wouldn't ride without my helmet and insurance. Ever.

Ride clean, ride safe and stay happy in the saddle!

mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago

There is a fantastic permanent thread on LFGSS about what to do in an accident: http://www.lfgss.com/thread4213.html

comm88 [76 posts] 5 years ago

Thanks for the great tip - most useful. I think we should alert The Times to the site - they are the ones who care most for cyclists and best champion our cause. The more we shout, the more people will hear and the more the world may take notice.

I saw in The Times today the story of a Cambridge rower, aged just 27, whose sporting career was wrecked by an idiot driver - one Mr Bocking aged 47 - who admitted driving without due care & attention and got a measly 6 points & a paltry £300 fine ... for wrecking someone's life!

I think he should have done time - 6 months in prison - been banned for a year and fined £5000 with the additional threat of a second strike on a cyclist being 3 years prison and £10,000 fine made very clear to him.

These are people's lives we're talking about, not card tricks in a game of Blackjack. And serious messages and healthy deterrents are needed.

Once again, cycling insurance is sooooo very important. It turns others' ignorance and blatant disregard into an answerable event that has consequences.While the law often appears reluctant or powerless to help, the lawyers definitely will.

Hopefully they'll sue the reckless git till his pockets bleed!!!! But you know who'll pick up the bill - yep, it'll be us, the taxpayer cos there's no mechanism in law that can make the criminal pay up. None at all, without going to the wall and back to get something done.

How about confiscating and crushing his vehicle? There's a start. Hit 'em where it hurts most and make them pay for the damage they do.