Knowledge base

Cyclists Claiming Against a Motorist

Been hit by a car, bus or truck while cycling on Queensland’s roads? Check your rights as a cyclist to claim against a motorist.

Cyclist injury compensation

If you are injured while cycling as the result of negligence by a car or motor vehicle driver, you may be entitled to make a cycling injury compensation claim.

Injured? Get expert advice now: Smith's are Queensland's only 100% risk-free injury compensation lawyers. Insist on our 'No Win. No Fee. No Catch' ® promise. Check your rights with no risk or obligations now and talk direct to our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith. Call 1800 266 801 OR  check if you can claim

Common cyclist injuries

Cyclists may suffer all variety of injuries as a result of road accidents:

  • Head & brain injuries - including concussion or more serious brain injuries may occur from the head or face striking the ground or another vehicle, especially if the cyclist is not wearing a properly fitted helmet
  • Fractures & dislocations - bones may be fractured or broken on impact with the ground or another vehicle and in severe cases joint dislocations may also result
  • Vertebral & back injuries - vertebral fractures, disc damage and soft tissue injuries may occur as a result of impacts, falls or sudden changes of movement
  • Cuts, lacerations & abrasions - contact with road or gravel surfaces can cause gravel rash to the skin and glass from windscreens may result in serious lacerations
  • Internal organ injuries - internal injuries may be caused by impacts with the road or a vehicle

Common causes of motorist road accidents involving cyclists

Car dooring as common cause of cyclist injuries

Road accidents involving cyclists are often caused by motorists failing to see a cyclist.  For example:

  • Vehicles turning: A significant proportion of cyclist accidents are caused when an oncoming car turns right across the path of a cyclist who is going straight
  • T-junctions: Cyclists may run into vehicles turning from the stem of a T-junction
  • Same direction collisions: Vehicles often collide with cyclists while travelling side by side where insufficient room is left by a vehicle around a cyclist.
  • Knocked off bike by car door opening: Collisions may occur when the driver of a parked car opens their door directly in front of a cyclist
  • Rear ending: Cars may strike the rear of a cyclists when changing lanes if they are travelling too close

Cyclist hit by car – what to do?

Here are some practical things you should do if you have cycling accident:

  • Get yourself and your bike off the road (provided it is safe to do so)
  • Determine the extent of your injuries
  • Swap details with other vehicles or cyclists involved
  • Obtain contact details from any witnesses of the accident
List of things to do after a bike accident
  • Report the accident to police
  • If possible, take photographs on your phone and take notes of the time and place of the accident
  • See a doctor or hospital to get checked over even if you have only sustained minor injuries
  • Get a quote to repair any damage to your bike

Depending on the nature of your injuries and the circumstances of the collision, compensation may or may not be available. You should always seek expert legal help to see if you are able to make a claim. See also:

How is fault determined?

It is always up to an injured cyclist to prove negligence on the part of the motorist. When determining who was at fault for an accident between a cyclist and a motorist the court considers:

  • how defensively the motorist drove;
  • whether the motorist had an opportunity to observe the presence of the cyclist;
  • what speed the motorist was travelling at; and
  • the capacity of the motorist to take evasive action.
Bicycles and road accidents

The court recognises that cyclists are vulnerable on the roads and have less ability to avoid collisions than motorists.  They also recognise that fault is rarely black and white, and more often than not 100% liability is not found against one party. Rather the court will usually apportion a percentage of liability to each party.

Non compliance with Queensland road rules by a cyclist or motorist is a relevant factor when considering the appropriate apportionment of liability, if it caused or contributed to the accident. Cyclists must observe basic road rules and must have mandatory safety equipment for protection and visibility.  If a cyclist is intoxicated or fails to wear a helmet, a court will generally reduce their damages by about 25% for contributory negligence.

In Queensland, motorists are required to leave a minimum of 1 meter between their vehicle and a cyclist when passing at 60km/h or less or 1.5 where the speed limit is over 60km/h. 

Examples: Fiona is travelling along the road adjacent to the kerb. A motorist is travelling in the right lane at slow speed looking for a park. The motorist sees a park and moves into Fiona’s lane without indicating, causing fiona to collide with the rear of the motorist’s vehicle. The court apportions liability 80/20 in favour of Fiona. A motorist is about to overtake Jeff who is cycling in the same direction on the road. At the last minute Jeff moves to the right without warning and the motorist strikes the back wheel of Jeff’s bicycle. The motorist attempts to take evasive action but is unsuccessful. The motorist is likely in breach of his duty of care by driving at an excessive speed, and travelling too close to Jeff. However Jeff is also at fault for moving to the right without warning. The court apportions 50% liability to Jeff and 50% to the motorist.
Motor vehicle accident involving cyclist
Rick sustains serious injuries when he cycles through a red light and T-bones a motorist travelling across his path. Rick has no claim for compensation for his injuries because the accident was a result of him not complying with road rules and there was no negligence on the part of the motorist. A motorist proceeds into an intersection on a green light at approximately 60km/h, and collides with John, a cyclist who is wearing dark clothing and a black hat and whose bicycle is unlit. John has no claim for damages as his breach of road rules caused or contributed to the accident and the motorist was not negligent.

See Also: What does CTP Insurance Cover?

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Last update on:
June 1, 2021
Disclaimer: This information is designed for general information in relation to Queensland compensation law. It does not constitute legal advice. We strongly recommend you seek legal advice in regards to your specific situation. For expert advice call 1800 266 801 or chat via live chat to arrange free initial advice with our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.

Next steps — get advice now

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