Reported accident figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) show that 118 cyclists are killed and 19,000 injured on Britain’s roads every year.

Should cyclists who do not wear a helmet shoulder some of the blame for accidents?

Cyclists are at more risk as winter draws in, with the dark mornings and nights providing challenging conditions especially during the commute to and from work.

The seasonal changes ramp up the chances of cyclist accidents – but there is currently a debate about who is to blame.

A Swindon and Marlborough-based law firm has warned cyclists that failing to wear a helmet potentially puts them at “fault” in the event of sustaining injuries in an accident caused by another party and ups the risk of being found to have contributed to their own injuries.

They also risk losing up to a quarter of any compensation they might receive following an accident.

Lack of awareness

Withy King solicitor and keen cyclist Mark Hambleton, said: “This is significant because it raises the possibility that cyclists may have their personal injury compensation reduced by up to 25% if it can be shown that wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced the severity of their injuries.”

He added that since wearing a helmet is not mandatory, there is a lack of awareness of the potential consequences of choosing not to wear one among the cyclist community.

“They may assume that blame will lie with the person responsible for causing the accident – not realising that they may have to accept an element of contributory negligence if they weren’t wearing a helmet at the time,” he continued.

The debate between who is to blame for accidents – motorists or cyclists – is an ongoing dispute which has brought some very heated opinions to the table.

Where do you stand on this issue? Check out Part II for more information and opinions.

Remember, it is still worth looking into a personal injury claim if you have been injured in an accident that you believe was not your fault.