Archive for the ‘News & Views’ category

Cyclist Cam: Mug of the Month Nominees

October 29th, 2018

As a firm of serious injury solicitors, we regularly deal with road traffic collisions involving cyclists. We’ve commented in the past about how the police are going undercover to catch drivers who overtake cyclists dangerously.

Hugh Potter, Partner and Head of personal injury at PotterReesDolan, is a keen cyclist and rides into the office on a regular basis. Inspired by the undercover police, we decided to use a camera to film the types of experiences he deals with day-to-day on his journey to work.

We’ve collected the videos of various incidents; featuring van drivers, car drivers (and even the odd animal or two!) to show the sorts of encounters and dangers cyclists can face on the roads.

Each month we will upload a selection of videos asking you to vote for who you think is the ‘Mug of the Month’ – so head over to our Twitter page to cast your vote on the videos below!

1. Mini

2. Red car

3. White Uber

Drivers could be fined £100 for passing too close to cyclists

September 18th, 2018

Motorists driving too close to cyclists on the road could face a fine of £100 thanks to a planned new law.

Drivers will need to be at least 1.5 metres away from a cyclist when passing or overtaking, otherwise they could be given the fine and three penalty points.

The new law aims to offer more protection for cyclists on the roads and hopes to help reduce the number of cyclists who are killed or injured.

Currently, around 100 cyclists are killed in the UK every year.

Although the Highway Code states drivers should give cyclists ‘plenty of room’ when passing, it is hoped the new law will make it clearer by setting a specific distance.

It is also hoped the introduction of the new law will encourage more people to take up cycling and feel more confident – and safer – on the road.

Hugh Potter, Senior Partner at Potter Rees Dolan and keen cyclist, said:

Dangerous close passes by drivers might be less likely thanks to this welcome announcement. Perhaps all drivers might give cyclists as much space as horses…

Take a look at a couple of recent close passes when Hugh was on his bike on his way into the office.

Masterplan for UK’s biggest cycling network in Manchester

July 10th, 2018

A multi-million pound plan has been announced to introduce thousand of miles of cycle and walking lanes across Greater Manchester.

The ten year proposal – estimated to cost £1.5 billion – includes segregated cycle lanes which have been labeled ‘Beelines’ which will be highlighted in yellow with a ‘worker bee’ symbol.

Not only does the plan factor cyclists but there will also be ‘filtered neighbourhoods’ where people have priority over vehicles with places to sit, play and socialise (as depicted below).

cyclelane.jpg

The aim is to connect the community and make cycling and walking safe as well as offering an alternative to driving across the region.

The cycling and walking network will be the biggest of its kind in the whole of the UK.

In the city centre, we already have the ‘Dutch-style’ cycle lanes in place where cyclists are clearly segregated from the main road.

In the new proposal, on busy roads like this, there would be similar segregation as well as continuous footways and side road zebra crossings for pedestrians.

This map shows the plans for each boroughso you can see what is in store for your area.

Jeremy Smith, senior solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

This looks like great news, especially for those of us who cycle into work and face a daily battle with the traffic. More segregated routes and safer crossings can only be a good thing. Let’s hope they deliver on the promises!

Jeremy Smith is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Jeremy or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.

People reluctant to cycle due to dangerous road conditions

June 13th, 2018

evening.jpgMore than half of people are put off cycling due to the dangerous conditions on the UK roads.

Hazards such as huge potholes and cycling close to lorries are the main issues putting people off cycling, according to a new survey.

Figures from the Department for Transport show 22 cyclists were killed between 2007 and 2016 due to poor road service and 368 were seriously injured.

We’ve commented in the past on stories where people have suffered injuries including this elderly woman who was flung from her wheelchair.

On the news of the results from the survey, Hugh Potter, Senior Partner at Potter Rees Dolan and keen cyclist, said:

I cannot say I am surprised. Motorists and cyclists agree about some things!

Hugh Potter suffered an injury himself when he broke his collarbone thanks to a pothole whilst out on his bike.

Why not take a look at our sister website, Bicycle Assist, for easy, practical support for cyclists living in and around Greater Manchester.

Hugh Potter is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Hugh or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.

Road safety charity calls for updates to modernise zebra crossings

January 11th, 2018

donate.jpgZebra crossings need updating, according to a road safety charity, as around 70 people are killed on the crossings each year.

The number of people killed on zebra crossings has almost doubled since 2013 – so does this mean a change is in order to match our fast-paced modern society?

There also seems to be confusion from motorists who are unsure when you are legally meant to give way to pedestrians.

Gary Herbert, partner and senior personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

I currently represent a young client injured at a zebra crossing when she was struck by a motorist who failed to yield at a zebra crossing. My client sustained a severe life-changing brain injury and will continue to living with the consequences of this injury for the rest of her life.

Brake, the road safety charity, is calling for the government to create new road solutions to ensure pedestrians can safely cross the road.

New technology could be introduced such as light and sensor technology as zebra crossings have not been updated since the 1960s when only six million cars were on the roads compared to 31.7 million today.

According to Direct Line, just under a fifth (19%) of Brits have had a near miss at a zebra crossing in the last twelve months.

Gary Herbert continued:

Whilst I echo Brake’s call for better road solutions, I would prefer not to wait until these crossings are replaced before acting. The law relating to zebra crossings is unhelpful and can be confusing. Most people are aware that cars should yield to pedestrians at such crossings, but the point at which the cars should yield is often misunderstood.

The Highway Code indicates that a car must give way, “…when a pedestrian has moved onto a crossing.” This creates a situation where a patient pedestrian waiting at the kerb edge is not afforded priority until they step into the road. The effect is to actively encourage pedestrians to step into the path of vehicles travelling at 30mph or more in an effort to force the motorists to give way, and trusting that they will stop in time. Moreover, motorists are placed in a difficult position as, whilst the Highway Code warns them to be aware of pedestrians approaching the crossing, the difference in priority over the space can change in a fraction of a second.

I believe that a simple change in the Highway Code to afford priority to those pedestrians waiting on the approach to a crossing would help to clarify the rules for motorists and pedestrians alike, and hopefully prevent some of those injured each year

Gary Herbert is a senior personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about road traffic accidents or any other personal injury issues and wish to speak to Gary or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Gary through the contact form here.

Police reject scheme to crack down on drivers overtaking cyclists too close

October 12th, 2017

We filmed a close pass which shows Hugh’s bike physically shake with the speed of the car which overtakes him too closely. You can watch the video below:

We have been informed by Greater Manchester Police that the offending driver in our video should now be booked onto to a Driver Awareness Course, which would be the first option for someone committing a due care and attention offence, if they have no points for the same offence in the past three years. Although this remains unconfirmed after we since followed up the incident with GMP, we hope he has been reprimanded in some way.

The initiative which sees undercover police posing as cyclists to catch drivers who overtake dangerously close has reduced the amount of cyclists killed or seriously injured by 20% over the last year.

Plain-clothed police officers radio the details of ‘close-pass’ drivers to colleagues to pull over by a police car and also wear body cameras to capture any offences to record the evidence.

Operation ‘Close Pass’, which was introduced by West Midlands police last year, was put into practice in Manchester earlier this year. Police have pulled over 178 drivers and made more than 350 prosecutions using camera footage since 2016.

However, one police department has rejected the scheme arguing it would cause motorists to slow down behind cyclists meaning they would be unable to overtake.

Cambridgeshire Police also rejected operation ‘Close Pass’ as it would mean drivers would have to move into the opposite lane to overtake the cyclist, adding how the roads in Cambridge city are narrow and often very congested.

Cycling campaign groups have argued how the the city’s narrow streets make the need to crack down on close passes even more important and would rather maintain the speed and flow of traffic than the safety of vulnerable road users.

Hugh Potter, Partner and Head of personal injury at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

Think again Cambridge Police. You’re promoting potentially dangerous overtaking to avoid precisely what? Car drivers slowing down!

Hugh Potter is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Hugh or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.

Amazing recovery for man who had plasma transfusion after motorcycle accident

October 4th, 2017

gnaas.jpgOur client became the first patient to have plasma transfusion by northern air ambulance just days before its introduction.

John Beaumont suffered spinal fractures and brain herniation when he was involved in a collision with a car when riding his motorcycle in Kendal.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) treated John at the side of the road and was put into a medically induced coma.

Just days before, the charity launched a trial of the pioneering pre-hospital treatment whereby plasma is administered at the scene.

John was the first person to receive a unit of plasma which no doubt helped his amazing recovery as it was used to preserve the blood flow and prevent ongoing brain damage.

As well as his spinal and brain injury, John also suffered multiple orthopaedic injuries including a fractured collar bone, broken shoulder blade and a broken leg as well as nerve damage.

John spent four weeks in a coma after being flown to Royal Preston Hospital where he staggered doctors with his impressive recovery.

After recently visiting the GNAAS with his young family (pictured) where he personally thanked the paramedics, John said:

Doctors didn’t know if I would survive. Many people are flabbergasted that I did with the amount of injuries I sustained. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t be here without GNAAS. It’s phenomenal.

Helen has acted for many seriously injured motorcyclists including settling a claim for hundreds of thousands of pounds for another young man who suffered serious orthopaedic injuries. She said:

The timely input of the GNAAS, to include the innovative lifesaving plasma, clearly helped John to be able to survive his multiple life threatening injuries. Due to the complexity & severity of John’s injuries, he still needs ongoing rehabilitation, where he continues to give 100% in his determination to expedite his ongoing recovery.

Helen Shaw is the personal injury Senior Litigation Manager here at Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about motorcycle accidents, personal injury issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Helen or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Helen directly.

Concussion to be diagnosed by app that records pupil changes

September 19th, 2017

concussionc.jpgA new smartphone app measures the change in pupil size to identify concussion and other brain injuries.

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed the app, called PupilScreen, which looks into the pupil using the phone’s video camera.

The changes in the eye’s response to the flash on the camera are then recorded as the change in pupil size has long been used to assess severe brain injury (known as pupillary light reflex).

During the study, brain injuries were identified almost perfectly accurately using the new app and researchers hope it will be made commercially available within two years.

Amy Wilmott, personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

This ground-breaking discovery has potential to positively improve the lives of people who suffer concussive head injuries, whose symptoms are often difficult to diagnose and, at times, are missed.

Concussion can cause an array of debilitating symptoms including; severe headaches, dizziness and cognitive difficulties and so the ability to identify this condition at an early stage would ensure that the affected person has early access to treatment for the best possible outcomes. In civil litigation, this would also seek to reduce costs in investigating this complex issue.

There is currently no certain way to diagnose concussion so this app will be able to determine whether someone has sustained a concussive brain injury.

With around one in three adults over 65 suffer at least one fall a year in the UK, the app will be particularly useful to identify concussion in the elderly who have suffered a fall.

We’re experienced in helping our clients who have suffered from post-concussional syndrome gain the compensation they deserve. Our solicitors, who are committed to providing the best possible legal advice and client care, will deal with your case in a sensitive and effective manner.

Read more about post-concussional syndrome and personal injury claims for brain injury here.

Amy Wilmott is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Amy or any other member of the personal injury team please contact us on 0161 237 5888 or email Amy.

Car-dooring: time for a new approach?

September 12th, 2017

Image result for car-dooringA campaign to raise awareness of “car-dooring” is needed to save lives on Britain’s roads, Cycling UK has said.

The campaign group says cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are being injured and killed by drivers and their passengers carelessly opening doors.

It wants the Dutch reach, a method which involves opening doors with the “wrong” hand, forcing them to turn and see if anyone’s approaching, to be taught to new drivers.

Government figures from 2011-2015 show that eight people died from carelessly-opened car doors. Of these deaths five were cyclists knocked off their bikes. In total 3,108 people were reported hurt but Cycling UK believes the true figure is probably much higher.

Pete Rogers, Director of Like A River is a recent victim of car-dooring. He said:

Car dooring!! Been there and it’s a constant worry. Mine was an inside lane passenger who just didn’t look, took me out and apologised, bent forks injured shoulder and ripped kit. One of the many 1000s that go un-reported.

As a daily commuter and experienced cyclist the way to ‘try’ and avoid car dooring is two fold. Cyclists – ride away from the cars and be aware, however when in a cycle lane (which are generally narrow), you do really have to slow down and be even more aware, especially being on the inside. Motorists – Look behind you. It’s not rocket science but education.

Elderly woman flung from wheelchair due to pothole in the road

August 28th, 2017

 

ivy.jpgA pothole covered by leaves left a disabled old lady with injuries after she was catapulted from her wheelchair.

Seventy five-year-old Ivy was being pushed along the road in Moss Side by her husband when the wheel was caught in the pothole and she fell from the chair.

She was taken to hospital with a broken finger and bruising to her face where she stayed overnight for treatment.

The great-grandmother, who previously suffered a stroke, is still in pain following the accident.

Hugh Potter, partner and personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

A horrible pothole in Moberly caused me to crash off my road bike. I broke my collar bone in three pieces and smashed my helmet. I needed to have an operation and was off work. I am suing the local authority.

I have my own claim ongoing against Macclesfield for its failure to repair dangerous pot holes promptly so I have a vested interest but the roads are in a poor state, particularly those given low priority. It would have been far better for me and cheaper for everyone if the road had been safe.

Manchester City Council have since filled in the pothole after Ivy’s accident and have recently announced a £100m road repair scheme.

Read a blog on the dangers of potholes for cyclists from Jeremy Smith, personal injury solicitor, about a cyclist who won a claim against the council after he crashed due to a pothole.

Hugh Potter is a personal injury solicitor with Potter Rees Dolan. Should you have any queries about the issues raised in this article and wish to speak with Hugh or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.