Judge awards compensation to pedestrian in significant ruling

A pedestrian who was knocked over by a cyclist has been awarded compensation in a significant ruling.

The case of the pedestrian, who was looking at her phone, while crossing a busy road, has made headlines as the judge ruled in her favour, citing that ‘cyclists must be prepared’.

Gemma Brushett was knocked over as she walked out onto the road from a crowded pavement in London rush hour.

Although cyclist Robert Hazeldean sounded a loud airhorn, he swerved and hit Miss Brushett at approximately 15mph. Both parties were knocked unconscious from the impact.

Judge Shanti Mauger ruled that cyclists must be ‘prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways.’

Nick Davis, director at NV Legal said: “All road users owe a duty of care, which means cyclists owe a duty to pedestrians and vice versa. In this case it was unfortunate that the cyclist did not seek legal advice at an early stage thereby losing his right to counterclaim. 

“His failure to seek advice, in turn increased the costs of the litigation. The case should have been capable of settlement and should not have reached trial. This also highlights the issue of whether cyclists should have to purchase insurance.”

Cyclist safety is under the radar of the government but primarily in association with motorists. The government has announced that it is set to review guidance on how road users should behave in relation to cyclists and pedestrians.

The new Highway Code will highlight how to avoid the dangers of close passing, and encourage people to adopt the ‘Dutch reach’, a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the handle, to force drivers to look over their shoulder for passing traffic.

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, said: “For far too long, the rules of our roads have prioritised motor vehicles over cycling and walking. This has resulted in a vicious circle of increased risk for pedestrians and cyclists, fewer people opting to walk or cycle, and limited government investment – not to mention the devastating impact on public health and the environment.

“We applaud the Government’s planned changes to the Highway Code as a welcome step in the right direction, but more must still be done. We need safer speed limits, greater investment in segregated cycle lanes and a justice system which keeps dangerous drivers off our roads.”

If you have been injured in a cycling accident contact NV Legal as you may be eligible for compensation. www.nvlegal.co.uk or call 03330 112732.