Friday, 30 August 2013

Understanding the complex nature of cycling injury compensation

The father of teenager Ryan Smith, who was knocked off a bike whilst riding without wearing a helmet and now lies comatose in hospital, is campaigning for cycling helmets to be made compulsory.

Mark Smith, who is a paramedic, said “I don’t want any family to go through this. Don’t let this happen to your kids. Get your kids helmets.” It is understandable that he wants the issue to “go to Parliament straight away.” But the debate surrounding mandatory cycle helmets is a very controversial one and has continued for several decades. Although the decision to wear a helmet may affect the level of cycling injury compensation following an accident, whether or not helmets actually increase safety remains open to question.

The controversial nature of bicycle helmets:

Opponents of compulsory helmets often point to Holland which has one of the best cycling safety records in the world and where fewer than one in a thousand cyclists wear head protection. However, the low number of cycling injury compensation claims in the Netherlands may have more to do with the country’s excellent road infrastructure and the Dutch culture which has adopted pedal-power as a mainstream form of transport and where car drivers aren’t constantly complaining about their two-wheeled compatriots.

Back in the UK, research by Bath University traffic psychologist Dr Ian Walker found that helmet wearing cyclists could actually be exposing themselves to more danger purely due to the fact that
they appear to motorists to be “more serious, experienced and predictable” than their bare-headed equivalents. As such, drivers tend to give them less room when overtaking, increasing the possibility of accidents. This rather ironic observation shows how the route to ensuring safety on the roads is not black and white; there are a whole range of factors which need to be taken into account.

Even if one ignores factors such as road infrastructure, culture and psychology of motorists, the question as to whether a cycle helmet is an effective safety measure is disputed. They are only tested to impacts of 14mph so any serious accidents will not be covered by this testing. Furthermore, one study indicated that bicycle helmets might even increase the risk of brain injuries from rotational motion.

If you would like to speak to solicitors who know all the ins and outs of cycling injury compensation, call a member of the friendly and experienced team at Cycle Aid on 0800 387 815 or send an email to
Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Bivvy tastic

Having only camped a handful of times the concept of the bivvy was new to me and until I read about long distance bikepacking I thought it was something reserved for fishing allnighters.
This said I was intrigued and working with an ex-forces guy who raves about it I was keen to try.
I'm currently still recovering from a broken thumb and post op ligament damage so my racing is over for the year and my riding has been restricted to my single speed Inbred mtb on the flat pathways of Norfolk.
This is not all bad as its kept me motivated and I have been loving the simplicity of the single/rigid machine and how far it can take me in this brilliant summer weather.
So this week I planned to string together a few of the long distance cycle/walks that cover Norfolk. Starting from Norwich along Marriotts Way, Weavers Way, Norfolk Coastal Path and then down to Thetford on the Peddars way. Along with a few extra trails I know locally.
I had planned to set off on Saturday but rained stop played and I headed off Sunday AM. Within 8 miles I had a puncture in my only Tube so I had to try and ride nearby to a shop to find another thankfully the discount store of Roys of North Walsam held some for £2.99! bargain!
A rather large lunch was ingested and I was back on the remainder of the Weavers Way to Stalham and then I rode the Norfolk coastal path to Cromer. From Cromer did a few small trails in Weybourne and then back on the Coastal Route until a quick Fish & Chip stop at Salthouse.
Light was beginning to fade so on with the lights (In true shameless blog styley these were the awesome Hope R4 LED front light with the Hope District rear Light).
Enough of dicing with death against the cars on the Narrow coastal path I saw a Hostel/campsite open @ Brancaster. They appeared to have just closed, so I found a member of staff and asked in there was any room at the Inn was initially told no but they managed to squeeze me in on a unpopular pitch next to the toilet block. Given that I was only a bivvy bag I didn't need much room. 
This site is excellent and well worth a visit if camping out that way
Someone to kip found so a pint is was in order as I had just been cycling for 13hrs, just a couple of hundred yards was and again very impressed and a amazing courtyard with the best patio heaters I had ever seen.
Couple of pints down and back to the camp-site and a wiggle into the bivvy and to fall asleep watching multiple shooting stars in the sky.
Everyone was up early, so up I got washed/packed and on the bike by 6:30am. The remainder of the coastal path beckoned until the start of the Peddars way just before Hunstanton.
This is a long straight 47mile roman road which ends just past thetford. This is well signposted and reasonably quick so just under 4hrs I was at the end and then cycled onto to Thetford.
Wimping out on 40miles on a singlespeed MTB on roads home I caught the train back to Norwich.
All in I rode approx 200miles and had a mini adventure to boot, Again? most definitely and in fact the the Ridgeway - Reading to Bristol and back is planned for September.

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