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Clarke Willmott says government must do more to prevent crashes

A Bristol law firm says it has received a 200% increase in enquiries from injured cyclists in the last year.

Clarke Willmott solicitors also asked the Department for Transport for cycle crash statistics surrounding its offices that show a 10% increase in cyclists killed or seriously injured in Bath, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

The firm reiterates criticism from the European Transport Safety Council that the government is dropping its guard on road safety and points out the UK's road safety is deteriorating while other European countries, including Croatia, Slovenia, Finland and Greece, enjoy safer roads.

Stephen Trump, a partner in Clarke Willmott’s Serious Injury Team, said more needs to be done but isn't clear about what, exactly, other than campaigning for road safety and "in some cases providing safety equipment to cyclists".

He said: "The number of cases we have seen has increased over the last year. We are dealing with cases where cyclists have suffered life-changing injuries in accidents where someone else is at least partly at fault.

"We strongly believe that many of the cases we deal with could have been avoided or prevented and that injuries and deaths on our roads can be reduced in the future. This would mean others will not have to endure the tragedy of losing a loved one, or sustaining life-changing injuries as our clients have.

"We have worked with groups across the country, campaigning for improved road safety and in some cases providing safety equipment to cyclists. Following the publication of these statistics, we believe the best way to improve the UK’s safety record for cyclists and all road users is for Government to ensure this is prioritised and has the resources it needs."

Trump, who is a member of the Spinal Injury Association, Headway and a panel member of the Limbless Association, makes no mention of presumed liability.

Led by Brenda Mitchell, Scottish legal firm, Cycle Law Scotland, founded a campaign to introduce presumed liability, arguing a lack of legislation is hampering efforts to encourage active travel, and pointing out Britain is one of only five EU countries without this law. There is a "clear and strong association between presumed liability and higher levels of safe walking and cycling" it says.

Cycling in Bristol doubled in the ten years to 2011, to 7.6% of journeys to work, with 57% of under 40s travelling to work by other means than the car.