After 1 December 2017, if you are a cyclist and have been injured in a collision with a motor vehicle on New South Wales roads, then you will be able to claim damages pursuant to the provisions of the Motor Accidents Injuries Act (NSW) 2017.
Your claim can be made against the CTP green slip insurer of the motor vehicle or bus with which you had the collision and if the vehicle was unregistered then you are still able to bring a claim against the Nominal Defendant.
Pursuant to the provisions Division 2.4 of the Motor Accidents Injuries Act, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is for the purposes of this Act the Nominal Defendant.
The writer has acted for many cyclists who have been seriously injured in accidents involving another motor vehicle.
It is now a common sight to see cyclists on our roads, both during the day and also at night.
The NSW Government has recognised this fact and has enacted new laws in relation to driver behaviour regarding cyclists.
Since 1 March 2017, drivers in NSW must leave at least one metre of space when passing a cyclist in speed zones of 60 km per hour or less. They must leave at least 1.5 metres in higher speed zones.
Furthermore, if it is safe to do so, drivers can cross centre dividing lines or continuous lane dividing lines to overtake a cyclist. They can also drive on painted islands and dividing strips to pass a bicycle when safe to do so. If it is not safe, drivers must slow down and wait until there is enough space to pass.
As far as cyclists’ behaviour concerning other motor vehicles, the minimum passing distance is not specified for cyclists and they are advised to leave sufficient room to avoid a collision when passing cars.
The writer has been involved in several cases where cyclists were thrown from their bicycle and sustained serious injuries and in one circumstance was rendered unconscious. It is therefore important if you are a cyclist at all time you have with you photo identification and also a mobile phone. It has also been mandated by the government there is a requirement for bicycle riders to produce photo identification when stopped by police who have suspected they may have committed an offence.
It is helpful if you also carry a photo ID in the event that a person or persons witness your accident and may wish to keep in contact with you and provide you with statement regarding your accident to assist you in your claim. I have been involved in a number of cases where the statements by independent witnesses were crucial in proving the cyclist was not at fault and the entire blame for the accident fell upon the driver of the motor vehicle.
It is always important to have a mobile phone with you to be able to photograph the registration plate of a motor vehicle if needed and also record details of the driver including taking a photograph of their driver’s licence.
All of this information will assist you when completing the Application for Personal Injury Benefits which is the new claim form required to be completed for all accidents after 1 December 2017 and must be lodged with the relevant CTP insurer within three months of the date of your accident.
There may also be circumstances where a cyclist has sustained injuries from falling off their bike because of defects in the road surface such as a pothole or other dangers such as loose gravel, however, these claims are governed by the provisions of the Civil Liability Act (NSW) 2002 and such claims against the local council, who are responsible for the maintenance of the road, require far more investigation.
The local council will endeavour to seek immunity from suit pursuant to the provisions of Section 43 of the Civil Liability Act. It will be necessary to seek the advice of an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law with regards to proceedings of this nature.
If you are injured whilst riding your bicycle on NSW roads, then contact the specialist accredited lawyers at Beilby Poulden Costello who will be able to provide you with immediate assistance.