Can I claim for personal injury if I was cycling without lights?

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At this time of year, the mornings and evenings are darker and the weather just that little bit more treacherous. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution to exercise more and you’re cycling to and from work, or you’re an experienced cyclist, with reduced light comes reduced visibility and the potential to make cycling more dangerous.

What does the law say about cycling at night without lights?

The law makes it clear that it’s illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors. It says that your bicycle must have white front and white rear lights, and also be fitted with a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors. There is also some useful guidance on the Cycling UK website.

The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations (RVLR) specifies which types of lights and reflectors should be used, when to light them and how to fit them. Essentially, cyclists are required to:

  • Fit lights and reflectors of appropriate quality and must conform with relevant standards
  • Display lights between sunset and sunrise
  • Keep lights and reflectors in good working order

So how does the law affect personal injury claims? If you’re injured in an accident while you were cycling at night without lights, are you still able to claim?

I was involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t have my lights on. Can I still claim?

As with driving offences, it all depends on context and whether the other party was negligent in their actions.

The driver could argue that they are faultless as they couldn’t see you due to your lack of lights/reflectors, however, you can still claim compensation if the driver was negligent, i.e. they pulled out in front of you or they were speeding when they knocked you off your bike. Furthermore, there is case law to suggest that if the car had its headlights on you were there to be seen.

If you’re successful with your personal injury claim, you may have to accept a significant deduction in your damages for personal injuries and financial losses to account for the absence of the correct lights/reflective gear; this is known as contributory negligence.

How we can help

Cycling accident claims can be complex, however, and are often hotly contested by the defendant. Having specialist legal advice is therefore critical to ensure the right information is brought to light and supported with robust evidence, and that your case is presented effectively, giving you the best chance of a fair outcome.

Our personal injury solicitors work with clients all over the UK from our six offices spread across Bristol and the surrounding area. To discuss a potential cycling accident claim with a member of our team, call 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.


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