A Teacher has described the moment he was knocked off his bike when a taxi door opened mid-traffic, leaving him with painful injuries.
Londoner, Jake, instructed Bott and Co Solicitors who secured a settlement of £16,500 in bicycle accident compensation for the city commuter.
The accident left Jake unable to perform daily tasks which meant that he had to rely on family and friends to help during his recovery.
Cycling Alongside Rush Hour Traffic
“I was cycling home from work alongside stationary traffic. The roads in Westminster are usually busy at rush hour which causes cars to become gridlocked. I was riding along Abingdon Street, right beside the Victoria Tower, when suddenly the door of a taxi opened directly in front of me.
I was unable to avoid it. The door just suddenly opened in my face and I hit it and went over the top, which caused fractures to my shoulder and leg” Jake recalled.
The taxi which caused the accident was not indicating or pulled over safely. Instead, it was sat in line with other traffic at a standstill.
Luckily for Jake, due to the location being so close to parliament, passers-by rushed over to help and there were also police and medically trained personnel at the scene.
“They tried to move me off the road, but I couldn’t move. That was when they determined how serious it was and called an ambulance.”
We were determined to prove that it was the fault of the driver and after pursuing their insurance company for damages, we were able to secure a compensation sum that will help Jake towards his future rehabilitation and make up for the loss and difficulties in which his injuries caused.
Disputing Liability For The Knock
“The passenger who opened the door was complaining about how it was my fault because I must have been going too fast. My speed was normal, it’s a very busy route with a lot of cyclists so you can’t really speed, and I never do.
The door just opened right in the middle of the road. Accountability is on both the driver and passenger. It was up to the passenger to check before opening the door and the taxi driver should not have stopped and let people out of the taxi mid-traffic. If these small steps were taken by both people, I wouldn’t have ended up injured and unable to work for months!”
Campaigning For Safer Cycling In London
Jake is a regular cyclist, doing a 40-minute journey each way to work every day. It is also his main mode of transport.
“Cycling is not just a hobby for me but a way of life. I am a member of the London Cycling Campaign, which promotes safer cycling for all through initiatives such as campaigning for more cycle lanes.
This was my first ever accident on the bike. I’ve had a couple of scrapes in the past but nothing which resulted in actual injury like this.”
Day To Day Life Impacted By The Incident
After Jake was discharged from hospital, he was unable to work for several weeks and his injuries took a toll on daily activities such as washing and looking after himself.
“Work advised me to take off even longer than I did to recover but I wanted to get back to my students and the feeling of normality, so they paid for a taxi for me while I was still on crutches and my arm was in a sling.
I couldn’t wash myself, so I had to get family to help me with basic daily activities such as washing and was relying on people to help me get around. I usually do a lot of exercise which was affected and being a teacher includes a lot of moving around the school building which was difficult.
Although I am pretty much healed, I do get pain in my shoulder whenever I exercise.
It took a while to get back on my bike but I’m happy to say I’m cycling again. I still get nervous when riding through traffic and I am a lot more alert when I’m near car doors.”
Claiming Compensation For His Accident
It didn’t occur to Jake about his right to claiming compensation for his cycling accident until his family and friends mentioned it was something he should look into.
“My main reason for instructing a solicitor was because I didn’t want the taxi driver to get away with acting dangerously on the roads and for it to happen to someone else.
I did some online research and found Bott and Co. I liked that they have a specialist bike team and the information they gave was all clear. I was really impressed with the amount of compensation I received and how the staff were really intent on holding the other side accountable and getting me the help that I needed to recover.”
The Future Of City Cycling
As a result of Jake being part of the London Cycling Campaign, he’s said that there is a lot going on which involves getting more cycle lanes and introducing low-traffic neighbourhood schemes in the city of London.
“As a result of lockdown and less cars on road, many of the campaign’s initiatives have come to fruition a lot quicker than expected and councils are pushing car reduction schemes to help key workers get around the city safely.
Quite a few friends of mine have got into cycling recently which is great, although they have found it difficult to get hold of bikes. The demand for cycling is great to see and combined with the London Cycling Campaign’s efforts, hopefully the roads will be safer for new and existing cyclists.
I had never really heard of ‘dooring’ before this collision but I hope highlighting this issue will allow drivers to think and look before opening their door, just as they would when making any other manoeuvre.”
Colin Wing of Westminster Cycling Campaign said: “I’m very sad to hear about Jake’s injury but hope he will continue to recover. There are two things in particular that could help prevent ‘dooring’:
Vehicle occupants should be encouraged to open the door with the opposite hand, i.e. open the right door with the left hand. This ensures that they turn their body and will be more likely to see another road user approaching from behind.
Secondly, authorities should not design cycle schemes that lead cyclists into the ‘dooring’ zone. Although this doesn’t often happen these days, we seek to persuade authorities not to design such schemes and to improve old ones where this may be a problem.”
Bott and Co RTA Legal Manager Tony Tierney said: “Unfortunately we see cases like this one all the time, where the accident could have easily been avoided if the driver would have taken more care.
Jake was following all the necessary guidelines for cycling, yet he bore the brunt of the taxi drivers actions. It can also be said that the passengers had some responsibility to ensure the path was clear before proceeding to open the car door.
We were determined to prove that it was the fault of the driver and after pursuing their insurance company for damages, we were able to secure a compensation sum that will help Jake towards his future rehabilitation and make up for the loss and difficulties in which his injuries caused.”