Cycling Accidents Including ‘Dooring’
The incidence of cycling injury in Victoria
Cyclists comprise a relatively small percentage of road users, however they are the only major road injury classification whose rates of injury are rising, according to research conducted by Monash University in 2017.
While the number of deaths on Victorian roads has fallen by 4% per year, and the number of major injuries has remained steady, the number of cyclists who are hospitalised with major injuries has climbed at a rate of 8% per year over recent years.
The Monash University report also cites the dramatic increase among cyclists in the number of “disability-affected-life-years”, rising by 56%.
Are injured cyclists covered by the TAC?
Cyclists who have been injured as a result of a transport accident are covered under the TAC scheme and they have the same entitlements to compensation as a driver of a vehicle or a passenger in a vehicle. But the law surrounding the entitlement of cyclists in transport accidents has been problematic over the years.
Until recently times, the Transport Accident Scheme did not recognise the entitlement to compensation for cyclists who had been injured under circumstances such as “dooring”, but recently there have been amendments to the law. Now, a cyclist who is injured as a result of colliding into a car door which is opened by a driver, or into a parked car, is entitled to the same compensation as the cyclist who is hit by a car. Likewise, a cyclist who collides with a parked car and is injured has the same rights now to compensation.
A cyclist may also be entitled to TAC compensation and other benefits if they are injured taking evasive action due to a car driver suddenly changing lanes, requiring the cyclist to swerve to avoid the car. Having lost control, the cyclist may hit a gutter causing them to crash or collide into a parked car and suffer injuries. In a situation similar to this, the cyclist would have a valid claim.
Accidents while riding for Uber Eats or Deliveroo - the ‘gig’ economy and the TAC
There are a lot more people earning a living riding a bike to deliver food for these gig economy firms like Uber Eats and Deliveroo, that is leading to a rise in the number of cycling injuries.
Ordinarily, people who might be working in the gig economy making deliveries for pizzas or as a courier around town using a bike or a motorbike would be considered workers and employees and be covered by WorkCover.
If however a courier worked independently in terms of what they did, and when and how they did it, they may not be considered to be an employee, and in that case, their rights to compensation should be sought through TAC.
Sometimes in those situations, you can get a bit of buck-passing, one side saying it's not us it’s the other, and vice versa. That’s a situation in which you have to look at the particular circumstances of the arrangement and the employment and sort that out.
It is important to see a lawyer because in those situations it's not uncommon for the body or the company to deny they are in fact an employer. That’s certainly not uncommon and in that situation, a person really should see a lawyer to have that sorted out.
I ride for Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Can I claim TAC if injured on the road at work?
The delivery services industry is growing, and as a result the number of claims for injuries suffered on the road while in a work capacity is increasing. Are these injuries covered under the WorkCover or TAC legislation?