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Cycle Law

Cycle Injury Types

Cycling injuries can range from relatively minor scrapes, grazes, bumps and bruises, to life-changing, catastrophic injuries requiring months or even years of medical treatment and a long-term plan to provide rehabilitation and care. Here we take a closer look at some of the most common cycling injuries…

Head Injuries

Head injuries are among the most common cycling injuries, with hospital data suggesting they affect more than 40% of cyclists and 45% of child cyclists. Head injuries can vary significantly, from hairline skull fractures and minor concussions or cuts to severe brain damage and fatal injuries. If the impact happens when the cyclist or the other vehicle is travelling at a high speed, the head injuries are likely to be more severe. But all head injuries can leave you struggling to return to normality.

Concussion is a very common outcome of a cycling accident. It is best described as the temporary loss of brain and mental function. It can result in loss of memory, dizziness, a ringing noise in the ears and loss of control of speech, which can become slurred.

The effects of brain injuries can be emotional, behavioural and physical. A severe head injury could result in blood clots, bleeding or fluid build-up. These put significant pressure on the brain and can lead to brain damage. Serious brain damage is among the most long-lasting and devastating cycling injuries. You might find yourself unable to return to your previous lifestyle and struggling with the consequences for the rest of your life.

Macks Solicitors’ specialist head injury team can ensure you get the care and rehabilitation you need. At Macks, we understand that head injuries can have a long-lasting and dramatic impact on your day-to-day life. And we know that in cases of more serious brain injuries, compensation claims can be sensitive.

Our specialist head injury solicitors have many years’ experience in dealing with such claims in an empathetic and caring manner. If you have suffered head injuries in a cycle accident and are unsure what to do next, contact Macks Solicitors’ head injury team for expert advice. Our team are dedicated to recovering the compensation you deserve.

Sprains, Fractures And Breaks

Your limbs, knees and ankles are vulnerable to injury while you are cycling. Accidents can result in sprains and breakages when a limb receives a blow or is forced to move or extend further than it should or in the wrong direction.

Broken bones are common cycling injuries. If the leg receives a forceful impact, the bone structure can be badly damaged. More frequently, however, it is the soft tissue in the knee or ankle that is injured in cycle accidents. This includes torn ligaments and sprains. Different sprains are treated in different ways.

Leg Injuries

Leg injuries are among the common cycling injuries that can make it particularly difficult to get back on your bike. Around 25% of people injured in cycling accidents sustain leg injuries.

As your legs, knees and ankles are constantly used while cycling, these injuries can prevent you getting back on your bike for a long time. Those who suffer from serious leg injuries are often forced to stay in hospital for extended periods.

Whether injuries are long-term or short-term, keen cyclists will find themselves distressed and unable to continue with their ordinary life. Macks Solicitors can ensure that you receive compensation for your sufferings and distress, as well as to cover any medical or rehabilitation costs you need to fully recover.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are extremely common in cycling accidents because cyclists do not have as much protection as other road users. If a cyclist is thrown off their bike in an accident, the spine is usually the part of the body that suffers the most impact with the ground.

An injury to the spine can seriously affect other parts of the body. If the spinal injury is serious, this could result in paralysis. Every spinal injury is different and will vary in terms of severity and how much they affect the person involved. However, common spinal injuries resulting from cycle accidents include:


A fracture is where a vertebra of the spine becomes cracked. This usually occurs if the back hits the ground or another vehicle with some force. Fractures can range from hairline fractures to more extensive breaks. All fractures, however, are extremely painful and can take some time to fully recover from.

Slipped discs

A slipped disc occurs when one of the spinal discs ruptures, causing the protective gel that cushions the spine to leak out. The disc itself, once slipped, can put pressure on another part of the back. The injury will cause significant back pain, sometimes causing pain in other parts of the body if the nerves in the spine have been affected. Once diagnosed, a slipped disc can take anything from six weeks to a year or more to heal.


This condition is a specific type of lower-back pain that affects the coccyx, or tailbone. Painkillers and spinal manipulation therapy will often be sufficient to heal the injury. However, the can cause great pain and discomfort for the person involved, particularly when sitting down.


This spinal condition is caused when a bone from the lower spine slips out of its natural position and moves onto the vertebra below it. The condition will affect people in different ways, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. It is also, unfortunately, a fairly difficult condition to diagnose as there are not always symptoms present. If symptoms are present, typical problems include lower back pain, stiffness, pain in the upper thighs and tenderness in the lower back. Spondylolisthesis is usually caused after a fracture, or in an accident where the spine is jolted out of its usual position.

Spinal Cord Damage

In a serious cycle accident, the spinal cord can become permanently damaged. If the back or spine has been damaged with such force, the nerves in the spinal cord could be affected. These nerves lead to all the other parts of the body. If they become seriously damaged, the body can become paralysed.

Preventing Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are fairly difficult to prevent. However, there are some precautions that cyclists can take that can reduce the impact of a spinal injury.

Wearing a backpack with something in it is one of the best measures you can take. CamelBak-type, often worn by mountain bikers, are ideal, as the reservoir cushions the spine and some come with built in spine protectors.

Wearing a protective, padded jacket is another good idea. If the back is supported and cushioned, the impact of hitting the ground can be absorbed by the jacket, reducing the chances of a spinal injury occurring.

Wearing bright, fluorescent clothing and using lights and reflectors on your bike will make you more visible to other road users, reducing the chance of a cycling accident occurring in the first place.

If you do sustain a spinal injury after a cycling accident, help and support is available. The Spinal Injuries Association is a charity that supports all spinal injury victims, helping you to live as independently as possible. They will also be able to advise you on the best sources of treatment for your injuries.

Psychological Injuries In Cycle Accidents

We all know that cycling accidents cause physical injuries to those unfortunate enough to get caught up in them. As the result of the bad driving of another road user, a cyclist may suffer broken bones, painful skin wounds and, in the most serious accidents, long-term health problems. Quite rightly, a cyclist suffering such injuries can recover compensation from the negligent driver’s insurance company for the pain, suffering and consequential loss that the negligent driver caused.

However, accidents do not just cause physical injuries – they can also affect a victim’s mental wellbeing. While cycling accident victims are simply shaken up by the event, others can suffer serious psychological injuries. Because of this, the law recognises that, providing certain requirements are satisfied, a person involved in an accident can claim compensation not only for the physical harm he or she suffered but also for psychological injury.

If you are unsure as to whether you could have a claim for physical and psychological injuries arising from a cycling accident, our expert lawyers can help.

Causes Of Psychological Injury

Most obviously, a cyclist can suffer psychological injuries as the result of the accident itself. Cyclists can also suffer a psychological injury because of the subsequent effects of the accident, the physical injuries (particularly when they are visible or especially serious) and the necessary treatment for those physical injuries.

When Can You Claim Compensation For A Psychological Injury?

You can recover compensation for a psychological injury if…

  • The psychological injury is a recognised mental illness
  • The other party involved owed you a “Duty of Care”
  • The other party breached that Duty of Care
  • There is a causal link between the accident and the psychological injury

Other road users always owe a Duty of Care to cyclists and if they caused an accident, they have breached that Duty of Care.

Making A Compensation Claim

If you would like to talk about making a claim with Macks Solicitors’ cycle experts, fill in our online claim form or, alternatively, contact us on Freephone 0800 980 9385 to speak to an expert solicitor and receive the advice and guidance you need.

Cycle Compensation

Our specialist lawyers have recovered millions of pounds on behalf of injured claimants and will guide you through your cycle claim.

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To alleviate pain, help you return to work or get back on your bike. We will help you make the best recovery possible.

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