Personal injury solicitors Coles Miller are sponsoring award-winning safety centre LV=Streetwise for the second year running.
Last year the injury claim solicitors sponsored an LV=Streetwise competition that encouraged school pupils to design trendy new cycle helmets that children would be more likely to wear.
More than 750 children entered the competition. The solicitors gave away prizes including a new bike and 80 cycle helmets.
Now the road accident solicitors have confirmed that they will be supporting Dorset-based LV=Streetwise again this year with further sponsorship for the centre and its next competition.
Coles Miller spokesperson Lee Taylor said: “Our solicitors see the full impact of what happens to accident victims so we are strongly committed to helping LV=Streetwise prevent these tragedies from occurring in the future.
“It is great to able to help put something back into the local community. LV=Streetwise does such valuable work,” he added.
Every autumn the number of road accidents and uninsured losses reported to Coles Miller always increases as the clocks go back and the nights draw in.
Coles Miller Partner Adrian Cormack, who leads the firm’s personal injury team, said: “The number of road accident claims we receive always shoots up from October onwards.
“A lot of the people involved are lorry and van drivers. They may be starting work at 5am and could be driving for several hours in the dark.
“Also, if they don’t get back to the depot before 4pm they will be driving in the dark in the late afternoon as well. All these hours of driving in darkness inevitably bring added risks,” added Mr Cormack, a UK Legal 500 recommended solicitor.
Autumn and winter driving risks also include bad weather, poor visibility, misted up car windows and slippery leaves on the road.
This year the UK clocks will go back by an hour (from BST to GMT) at 2am on Sunday October 27. On that day in London the sunrise will be at 6.46am GMT. Sunset will be at 4.42pm GMT.
On the shortest day of the year - Saturday December 21 - London will have just seven hours and 49 minutes of daylight and 16 hours 11 minutes of darkness.
Although car, van and lorry accidents increase in autumn and winter, the number of motorbike accident claims reported to Coles Miller tends to fall because the poor weather dissuades riders from going out on their bikes.
However, the number of accidents involving cyclists usually increases because - unlike motorcyclists - they may not have the option of switching to four wheels. A bicycle may be their only transport.
Mr Cormack said: “It is much harder to see cyclists on dark winter nights, particularly when the weather is bad. They need to wear high visibility jackets or vests and ensure they have very good lighting on their bikes.”
Cyclists are also more vulnerable than drivers to serious head and spinal injuries. Coles Miller’s head injury solicitors regularly help clients to gain compensation following serious road accidents.
LV=Streetwise Manager Alison Shelton said: “As a safety centre manager, a car driver and a keen cyclist, I am acutely aware that as the nights draw in there is extra potential for tragedy.
“The common threads are ‘respect and courtesy’ and this is what we teach at LV=Streetwise: do the right thing.
“Cyclists should always wear a helmet and make sure they are visible to others. Everyone should follow the rules of the road and take care to see and be seen.
“Were we all to display a little patience and thought for others, we would all be the safer for it,” she added.
Dorset-based Coles Miller handles personal injury cases and medical negligence claims from all over the UK.
The firm has five offices of solicitors in Bournemouth, Poole, Broadstone, Charminster and Wimborne.
For more information about claiming compensation for personal injury, please contact Coles Miller Solicitors Partner Adrian Cormack, 01202 673011.