A green bicycle helmet resting on the back of a bicycle

Understanding the Serious Injury Rates of Cyclists as Vulnerable Road Users

Learn more about how common serious injuries are for cyclists on UK roads

Cyclists, those brave souls who pedal their way through the bustling streets, often find themselves in a precarious position. They are among the most vulnerable road users, exposed to the elements and the whims of passing cars and trucks. In this article, we will delve into the serious injury rates of cyclists as vulnerable road users, exploring the statistics, factors contributing to accidents, and measures that can be taken to improve their safety. We will also delve into the best steps to take when making a road traffic accident claim.

The Vulnerability of Cyclists on the Road

Cyclists, whether commuting to work or embarking on leisurely rides, share the road with motor vehicles that outweigh them by thousands of pounds. This stark contrast in size and protection makes cyclists particularly susceptible to serious injuries when accidents occur. To understand the gravity of the situation, we must first grasp the extent of their vulnerability.

Examining the Data

In the United Kingdom, as in many other countries, cycling is a popular mode of transportation and recreation. However, this popularity comes at a cost. According to statistics from the UK Department for Transport, cyclists are overrepresented in road accident statistics. In 2019, they accounted for 6% of all road traffic deaths and 15% of all road user casualties.

These figures highlight the precarious nature of cycling on the road and underscore the urgency of addressing the safety concerns faced by cyclists. To delve deeper into the issue, it’s crucial to explore how many of these accidents result in injuries.

Cyclist Accidents and Injury Rates

Understanding the frequency and severity of cyclist accidents is vital in assessing the risk that cyclists face as vulnerable road users. Let’s take a closer look at the statistics to paint a clearer picture.

The Grim Reality

The data regarding cyclist accidents resulting in injuries is a sombre reminder of the challenges faced by those who choose pedal power as their mode of transportation. In 2019, there were 18,321 reported cyclist casualties in the UK. Of these, 4,106 resulted in serious injuries.

These numbers reveal a sobering truth: a substantial portion of cyclist accidents leads to injuries that extend beyond minor scrapes and bruises. Serious injuries have a lasting impact on victims’ lives, affecting their physical well-being, finances, and overall quality of life.

Factors Contributing to Cyclist Accidents

To address the serious injury rates of cyclists, it’s essential to identify the factors that contribute to these accidents. By understanding the root causes, we can work towards implementing effective preventive measures.

Lack of Cycling Infrastructure

One significant contributing factor to cyclist accidents is the absence of dedicated cycling infrastructure. In areas without bike lanes or designated cycling paths, cyclists are forced to share the road with motor vehicles, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Driver Behaviour

Driver behaviour plays a pivotal role in cyclist safety. Instances of careless or reckless driving, such as speeding, running red lights, or failing to yield to cyclists, can result in collisions and serious injuries.

Visibility Issues

Cyclists are often less visible on the road compared to larger vehicles. Factors like poor lighting, adverse weather conditions, and blind spots can lead to accidents when drivers fail to notice cyclists in their vicinity.

Dooring Incidents

One lesser-known but significant hazard for cyclists is dooring incidents. These occur when a driver or passenger in a parked car opens their door without checking for approaching cyclists. The collision can throw the cyclist off balance and into the path of oncoming traffic.

Road Conditions

Unmaintained or poorly designed roads can pose hazards for cyclists. Potholes, uneven surfaces, and debris can cause accidents, especially when cyclists swerve to avoid obstacles.

Taking Action to Improve Cyclist Safety

While the serious injury rates of cyclists are a cause for concern, there are steps that can be taken to enhance their safety on the road. It’s essential to work collectively to create an environment where cyclists can travel with confidence and reduced risk.

Investing in Cycling Infrastructure

One of the most effective ways to protect cyclists is by investing in cycling infrastructure. Dedicated bike lanes, separated from motor vehicle traffic, provide a safe space for cyclists to ride without the fear of collisions.

Raising Awareness

Educating both cyclists and drivers about road safety is crucial. Campaigns that emphasise the importance of sharing the road responsibly and adhering to traffic rules can reduce the risk of accidents.

Improving Driver Training

Ensuring that drivers are well-trained and aware of the presence of cyclists on the road can significantly reduce accidents. Driver education programs should include information on how to safely interact with cyclists.

Enhancing Visibility

Cyclists can improve their safety by enhancing their visibility through reflective gear and well-maintained bike lights. Similarly, vehicles can be equipped with technology that alerts drivers to the presence of cyclists nearby.

Enforcing Laws

Enforcing laws related to road safety, such as those pertaining to speed limits, distracted driving, and dooring incidents, can act as a deterrent and help protect cyclists.

Making a Road Traffic Accident Claim

Cyclists, as vulnerable road users, not only contend with the physical and emotional toll of accidents but also often face significant financial burdens. When a cyclist is involved in a collision with a motor vehicle and sustains serious injuries, pursuing a road traffic accident claim may become a crucial step in their recovery process.

The Importance of Legal Support

Road traffic accident claims are a means through which cyclists can seek compensation for their injuries, medical expenses, and other damages resulting from an accident. These claims can help alleviate some of the financial stress that arises from medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and potential loss of income due to injuries.

The Process of Filing a Claim

Filing a road traffic accident claim can be a complex process, and it’s essential to seek legal counsel to guide you through it. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved:

Seek Medical Attention

The well-being of the injured cyclist should always be the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention, and ensure all injuries are properly documented. These medical records will serve as essential evidence in your claim.

Gather Evidence

Collect all available evidence related to the accident. This includes photographs of the scene, damaged vehicles, and your injuries, as well as any witness statements. The more documentation you have, the stronger your case will be.

Notify Authorities

Report the accident to the relevant authorities, such as the police. Their official report can be valuable evidence in your claim.

Consult with National Claims

Contact National Claims, where we specialise in road traffic accident claims. Our claims specialists will assess the merits of your case, advise you on the potential outcomes, and guide you through the claims process.

The Road to Recovery

Making a road traffic accident claim can be a challenging process, but it is often necessary to ensure that cyclists receive the compensation they deserve. Serious injuries can have a lasting impact on a cyclist’s life, and the financial support obtained through a claim can make a significant difference in their recovery.

A bike resting against a black wall


Cyclists, often considered vulnerable road users, face a disproportionate risk of serious injuries when sharing the road with motor vehicles. The statistics reveal a grim reality, with a significant number of cyclist accidents resulting in harm. However, there is hope on the horizon. By addressing the root causes of these accidents, such as the lack of cycling infrastructure, driver behaviour, visibility issues, and road conditions, we can work towards a safer environment for cyclists.

Moreover, taking action to improve cyclist safety through investments in infrastructure, education, and enforcement can significantly reduce the serious injury rates of cyclists. This not only benefits cyclists but also contributes to safer roadways for all users.

In the unfortunate event of a road traffic accident, cyclists have the option to make a claim for compensation to help alleviate the financial burden of medical expenses and other damages. Seeking legal support from us at National Claims is essential in navigating the complex process of filing a claim.

In conclusion, it is our collective responsibility to make our roads safer for cyclists. By doing so, we can ensure that cyclists can enjoy their rides with reduced risk, and the roads become a place where all users can coexist safely.

Contact us today to get a start on your claim and find out more from one of our claims specialists.

Click below to see why we are one of the most trusted claims management companies in the UK.


We’re proud of our excellent customer reviews

We thrive on delivering exceptional service and ensuring our clients’ satisfaction. Don’t just take our word for it. Check out some of our independent reviews to see what our clients have to say.





Find out if you have a claim

Get free, no obligation help from a claim specialist.

Related News

Hassle-free claims process

Our expert panel of solicitors can typically confirm almost immediately whether your claims application is likely to be successful and also give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim for.