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Policy statement

Cyclists win helmet battle with insurer

From CTC press release, 14th November 2002

CTC members have forced a multi-national insurer to take full responsibility for a crash in which a cyclist was hit by a car.

NIG (the National Insurance and Guarantee Corporation) has withdrawn its contributory negligence claim against Walsall cyclist Alan Millett, brought about because Millett was not wearing a helmet when the collision took place.

The insurer admitted liability for the crash but reduced its damages offer by 15 per cent. Now, the pressure cyclists brought to bear has forced NIG to pay the full offer of £130,000 with no deduction.

Millett, 66, suffered serious head injuries, a broken collar bone and severe bruising when he was hit by the car as he cycled around a roundabout on the A41 in Walsall. An appeal for action from CTC prompted members to send hundreds of angry emails and letters to NIG calling for payment of the full award.

Outraged cyclists also forced Provident Insurance to retract a similar claim against young Darren Coombs last year.

Millett's Solicitor Joseph Rahm said: "This is another significant victory for cyclists. The considerable discontent CTC members showed led NIG to back down very quickly. When it comes to protective head gear, insurers know they are on a poor wicket and that there is no proof that the head injury would have been lessened by the wearing of a helmet."

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