ACT News

$1.7 million cyclist negligence case - will riders rush to insurance?

Pedal Power ACT executive officer said he expected other cyclists to look to join as a result of the judgement.

A leader of Canberra's most popular cyclists' organisation said a surge of inquiries was expected after the $1.7 million judgment against a negligent rider. 

Pedal Power ACT executive officer John Armstrong said members of the lobby group should be reassured public insurance cover was included in their membership fee.

Mr Armstrong said the case should not stop people cycling.
Mr Armstrong said the case should not stop people cycling. Photo: Wolter Peeters

He said he expected other cyclists to look to join as a result of the case, which involved a serious accident after a man who hit a large wooden tree stake in a bike lane veered into his cycling friend. 

"I don't know the full implications of it ... It's more around the implications of a supreme court judgment of one bike rider against the other," Mr Armstrong said. 

"Certainly many years ago when workers comp wouldn't cover riding to and from work, we had a surge of membership."

As reported on Friday, Justice John Burns found the defendant David Blick had acted negligently in relation to the accident, which occurred on the off ramp from Capital Circle onto Canberra Avenue in June 2009, at a time of darkness but in an area described by Mr Burns as having good lighting. 

"I am satisfied that the defendant did not exercise reasonable care to observe the piece of wood in his path on the cycleway, and to avoid it," Mr Burns said.

The plaintiff, Michael Anthony Franklin, suffered injuries which included fractures to his pelvis and spine, internal bleeding, grazes and bruising. 

Mr Armstrong said the 3900 Pedal Power ACT members were covered under a $20 million insurance cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Annual membership is $75 for an individual or $120 for household. 

The defendant's insurers were referred to in court documents, but payments in relation to the damages are not known. 

Mr Armstrong said the case should not stop people cycling.

"There is a danger in walking across the road," he said.

Certainly many years ago when workers comp wouldn't cover riding to and from work, we had a surge of membership.

John Armstrong, Pedal Power ACT

"You can't wrap yourself up in cotton wool."

Rates of cycling injuries in the ACT are twice the national average.