Cycling UK has applauded a government decision to abandon plans to raise the small claims court limit to £5,000, a move which would have prevented many cyclists injured in road traffic collisions from obtaining compensation from a driver who was at fault.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) had planned to increase the small claims limit for victims involved in “road traffic accidents” from £1,000 to £5,000.
Cycling UK, together with RoadPeace and Living Streets, argued that this would have disproportionately affected cyclists as 70 per cent of such claims are under £5,000.
As claimants’ costs are not recoverable in small claims cases, the increase would have left cyclists paying most if not all of their compensation back to their lawyers for legal fees. This would likely have meant many being put off pursuing a rightful claim for injuries received.
The changes were to be made in conjunction with other compensation reforms proposed in the Prison and Courts Bill, but this was dropped on Thursday following a significant response to the MoJ consultation in which over 6,000 people expressed support for Cycling UK’s “Road Victims are Real Victims” campaign.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer said:
“Cycling UK are delighted that following our recent meeting with MoJ officials to highlight the impact of the small claims proposals, our submissions to the Justice Select Committee inquiry into compensation reforms, and the thousands of people who backed our campaign, that the Government now accepts road victims are real victims.
“The Government had tagged proposals to increase the small claims limit onto plans to reform what they claimed were fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims, despite the fact that whiplash claims by vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, are a rarity.
“The issue of an increase to the small claims limit might re-surface at some point in the future. If it does, any future Government must give more thought to the impact on the most vulnerable road users, who shouldn’t be scapegoated under a misleading headline of whiplash reform.”