Motorists Owe Cyclists a Duty of Care

Despite the fact that cyclists are more vulnerable than other road users, many drivers are impatient, uncaring and inconsiderate when it comes to cyclists in front of them. Under the general principle of negligence, all road users have a duty to take reasonable care and display reasonable skill to avoid causing accidents. This means that motorists must drive safely, keep a proper lookout, and avoid dangerous driving behaviour that could put other road users at risk.

The standard for judging whether a motorist is at fault for an accident is to consider what an average, competent motorist should have done in the same circumstances. For a claim to succeed, it will be necessary to show that a motorist was driving below this standard at the time of an accident, and that this breach of the duty of care owed to other road users directly caused an accident and the claimant’s injuries.  

There are many circumstances in which a motorist may breach the duty of care they owe to cyclists. Generally speaking, motorists must give cyclists precedence on the road if they are ahead of them. Drivers must take care to overtake cyclists safely, allowing sufficient distance between while doing so, and avoiding cutting them up when they pull in after overtaking. They must also avoid pulling out in front of cyclists at junctions, and must properly check their mirrors before turning off roads.     

Other specific examples of dangerous driving behaviour include motorists drifting into cycle lanes and hitting cyclists, and driving too closely behind them (tailgating), leaving a motorist insufficient time to stop if a cyclist brakes or turns, or otherwise distracting them and causing them to lose control and crash. Parked motorists may also be at fault if they open a vehicle’s door without checking the road properly and hit a passing cyclist. Inattention and driving too fast and/or aggressively are common factors when motorists hit and injure cyclists.   

Our firm has dealt with many cases where motorists have breached the duty of care they owe cyclists and caused an accident, and have successfully brought claims on behalf of the cyclists involved. Over the years, we have become experts at dealing with such claims. Find out more:

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