Campaign win! Small claims limit amendments “victory for common sense” says Cycling UK

Scales of Justice
Cycling UK's campaigning for the past 18 months has seen a win for vulnerable road users injured on the UK's roads
The rights of injured vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, horse-riders, pedestrians and motorcyclists were upheld today, as Justice Secretary David Gauke MP announced that the Government had dropped plans to include them in proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5,000. The announcement was made during the second reading of the Civil Liability Bill (Lords) in the House of Commons on the evening of Tuesday, 04 September.
  • Government drops plans to include cyclists and other vulnerable road users in £5,000 small claims limit
  • 70% of cyclists’ compensation claims are for injuries worth less than £5000
  • Charity claims victory after 18 months of campaigning

The move was welcomed as “a victory for common sense” by Cycling UK. Since December 2016, the charity has urged Government to realise proposed changes to the small claims limit for personal injury would adversely affect those at greatest risk on the UK’s roads. 

The small claims limit for personal injury claims currently sits at £1000. This effectively means, if you have a personal injury claim where you receive more than £1000 for your injuries, your legal costs are recoverable. 

Government proposals to increase the small claims limit to £5000 were announced in December 2016. These proposals would mean people claiming compensation for injuries worth less than £5000 would not recover legal costs, even where the other party was to blame. Cycling UK was concerned this would leave victims paying their own legal costs and not receiving full compensation. 

This would have particularly affected cyclists, as analysis of past cases by Slater and Gordon and Leigh Day Solicitors showed 70% of cyclists’ compensation claims are for injuries worth less than £5000, such as fractures to collarbones, elbows, wrists etc. 

The Government now plans to raise the small claims limit to £2000, along with all other claims – a move which is still beyond the House of Commons Justice Select Committee’s recommendations for a £1500 limit.  

The Government’s change in policy comes after concerted campaigning by Cycling UK and Fletchers Solicitors which has met with officials and ministers since the initial changes were announced at the end of 2016.  

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: 

“Cycling UK is relieved the Government has at last listened to reason and dropped plans to increase the small claims limit for vulnerable road users to £5,000. This is a victory for common sense and ensures the interests of victims are put first.  

“Increasing the small claims limit from £1000 to £5000 would have cheated pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists from full compensation after being injured on our roads.  

“Common injuries including among these groups include fractured collarbones and wrists, all of which usually sit below the proposed £5,000 threshold. However, if previous proposals had gone through, 70% of vulnerable road users would have been prevented from recovering their legal costs even when someone else is to blame for their injuries. That’s neither fair nor right – and with Rory Stewart’s announcement today, both balance and victims’ rights have been restored.” 

For a full time line of Cycling UK’s activity in this area see notes to editors.

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. Timeline

  1. Cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and horse riders don’t claim for whiplash – they hit hard surfaces and sustain fractures and other impact injuries, not whiplash.
  2. There was no evidence that fraudulent claims by Vulnerable Road Users (VRU) was a problem.
  1. Increase the SCL to £5000 for all ‘road traffic accident’ (RTA) PI claims.
  2. Increase it to £2000 for all other PI claims.
  • February 2017              

    Cycling UK gave evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) inquiry into ‘Cycling and the Justice System’ regarding the impact of the reforms.
  • March 2017         

    Cycling UK met with MoJ officials, presenting further evidence regarding the impact of the proposals on VRUs.
  • March 2017         

    Cycling UK submitted evidence to the Justice Select Committee’s (JSC) inquiry into whiplash and the SCL.
  • May  2017          

    APPCG report on Cycling and the Justice system recommends that the reforms should exclude injuries to cyclists and pedestrians.
  • March 2018         

    The Government introduced the Civil Liability Bill to the House of Lords, confirming its intention to increase the SCL at the same time as originally proposed.
  • April 2018           

    Cycling UK re-launched RVaRV, to get supporters to email their MPs about the reforms.
  • April 2018           

    Cycling UK briefed Peers and MPs about the reforms and the implications for VRUs, meeting to discuss ways to oppose the proposed increase.
  • May 2018           

    Cycling UK’s Vice President Lord Berkeley tabled an amendment to the Bill, with other Peers briefed by Cycling UK speaking out in the House of Lords debate in support of the case for VRU being excluded from the increase in the SCL to £5000.
  • May 2018           

    Cycling UK and Lord Berkeley meet with the Minister Lord Keen to press the case for VRUs being excluded from the £5000 increase.
  • May 2018           

    The JSC published its report following its inquiry into whiplash and the SCL heavily quoting Cycling UK’s evidence and accepting the evidence submitted by Cycling UK, and agreeing that vulnerable road users should be excluded from the proposed increases in the small claims limit
  • June 2018          

    Cycling UK submit further submissions to the Minister, The Rt Hon Lord Keen of Elie QC

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email