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Cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways

19 June 2019

Cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways

A “calm and reasonable” cyclist, and the pedestrian who walked out in front of him while looking at her mobile phone, found equally responsible for collision.

Zenith's Bronia Hartley writes: 

Sitting in the Central London County Court, Judge Shanti Mauger was tasked with determining liability in relation to an accident that occurred on the 20th July 2015 wherein a cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, hit a pedestrian, Gemma Brushett, on a busy junction near London Bridge.  

Brushett was one of a “throng” of people trying to cross the road at the beginning of rush hour.  She was looking at her mobile phone when she stepped out into the cyclist’s path.  The traffic lights were showing green for the cyclist, but Brushett did not notice him until the last moment.  Her evidence was that she panicked and tried to step back, but Hazeldean, who was travelling at 10-15mph, swerved in the same direction and hit her.  Hazeldean had sounded a loud airhorn attached to the handlebars of his roadbike as he approached the crossing.    

Judge Mauger found that Hazeldean was “a calm and reasonable road user”, but found him 50% responsible for the accident nonetheless, saying: “Cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways.”  In finding that Hazeldean fell below the level to be expected of a reasonably competent cyclist, the Judge said: “Even where a motorist or cyclist had the right of way, pedestrians who are established on the road have a right of way.    Mr Hazeldean did fall below the level to be expected of a reasonably competent cyclist in that he did proceed when the road was not completely clear.” 

Brushett was found equally responsible for the accident on the basis that she was crossing the road without looking. 

Damages and costs are yet to be determined. 

See the Telegraph News Article

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