Cyclists' Defence Fund
The Fund was initially established in response to the case of Darren Coombes, a nine year old cyclist who suffered brain damage from a collision with a motorist. Cycling UK (then known as the Cyclists’ Touring Club – CTC) became concerned after the driver’s insurers responded to Darren’s claim for damages by seeking to reduce Darren’s compensation, claiming contributory negligence because Darren was not wearing a helmet.
Although the insurer’s claim was ultimately defeated, CDF was formed in the aftermath to defend cyclists in similar precedent-setting cases.
Cycling UK's is currently funding its legal action against West Sussex County Council's decision to remove a cycle lane in Shoreham-by-Sea (February 2021) through its Cyclists' Defence Fund.
The Fund can also provide legal resources and advice to cyclists, although please speak to a lawyer if you are facing or bringing a legal claim. All Cycling UK members receive free initial legal advice related to cycling personal injury claims through our incident line.
If you are involved in, or aware of, a legal case relating to cycling, whether civil or criminal, which you believe potentially poses a significant risk of injustice or may set a dangerous legal precedent, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. While we cannot guarantee to support cases, we will always review cases to assess whether support is possible and whether we believe our support could help improve the safety of all cyclists or enable more people to cycle.
You may also be interested in our wider campaigning on safe roads, legal offences and the law.
Some of the cases the CDF has been involved in:
- We challenged the City of London’s decision not to introduce a 20 mph speed limit, arguing that the City’s decision was based on incorrect information, and the City backed down before the case went to trial.
- We backed Daniel Cadden through his trial for ‘inconsiderate cycling’ and supported the successful appeal of his conviction for the offence. Cadden was prosecuted for holding up traffic after he chose to cycle in the road rather than cross a 50mph road twice to reach an off-carriageway cycle track.
- We helped prepare a legal challenge to the Department for Transport’s proposed revisions to the Highway Code, which had the potential to leave cyclists open to both civil and criminal prosecutions if they did not use cycle facilities for any reason. The threat of legal action persuaded Ministers to clarify in the wording that the use of cycle facilities is not compulsory.
- We supported the case of Alex Paxton who was given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for failing to stop at a red light when he positioned himself ahead of a stop line because the cycle box had been blocked by a car. Alex contested the FPN and the CPS dropped the case.
- We supported the case of Kristian Gregory who was given a FPN for riding on the pavement when he strayed from a sub-standard cycle path. CDF supported Kristian’s claim that prosecuting him was not in the public interest and that the contradictory signage at the location made it impossible to tell what is legal. The CPS dropped the case.
- We brought a private prosecution following the death of Michael Mason. The Judge accepted that there was a case to answer, and therefore that we were right to bring the case, and even though the driver was subsequently acquitted, bringing the case highlighted and brought attention to various failures in the way the criminal justice system sometimes deals with cases involving cyclists.