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England and Wales: Drop in Compensation for Helmetless Cyclist

(Mar. 20, 2009) A High Court ruling has caused concern that cyclists in England not wearing helmets while riding their bikes could face a reduction in compensation for accidents, even where they are not at fault. There is no law in England requiring that cyclists wear helmets when biking. The ruling, following the principles of contributory negligence, has caused concern that insurers will seek to reduce damages awarded to helmetless cyclists by up to 15 percent. (Smith v. Finch, [2009] EWHC 53 (QB); Steven Swinford, Helmetless Cyclists Must Share Blame for Injuries, Rules Judge, Mar. 15, 2009, THE SUNDAY TIMES (London), available at