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Cycling accident liability: cyclists and pedestrians beware

At a recent hearing involving a cycling accident at the Central London County Court, a cyclist has been found liable to pay compensation for injuries sustained by a pedestrian while she was crossing the road and looking at her mobile phone.

Minor head injuries

The claimant was crossing a busy London road junction while looking at her phone: independent witnesses confirmed this to be the case. The defendant cyclist saw the claimant and sounded his horn, shouted to her and attempted to swerve and brake, in order to avoid hitting her.  At the last moment, the claimant saw the cyclist and panicked. Unfortunately, she then moved in the same direction as the cyclist was swerving.  Both claimant and defendant were knocked out in this incident. The claimant is reported to have suffered a minor head injury.

The claimant then began a claim against the defendant cyclist for injuries arising from the incident, which occurred in July 2015.

At the hearing, Judge Shanti Mauger described the defendant as being “a calm and reasonable road user”.  However, the judge also stated that “cyclists must be prepared at all times for people to behave in unexpected ways” and that the defendant’s actions “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.”

50/50 liability for cycling accident

The judge decided that the claimant was equally to blame for this incident and therefore apportioned liability on a 50/50 basis.  The amount of compensation that the claimant is to receive will be decided by the court at a later date.

In this day and age of busy city commuter routes and increasingly common shared spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, this is a clear reminder and warning – not only to cyclists but also pedestrians –  to be aware of their surroundings and other users of the shared space, and not to be distracted by things such as mobile phones and other electronic devices.

John Hasson is a solicitor in our personal injury team.  If you’ve been involved in a cycling incident either as a pedestrian or a cyclist or a pedestrian been injured, please contact us by emailing catastrophic@lyonsdavidson.co.uk or calling 0117 904 6334 .

Posted on Jun 20th, 2019 by Lyons Davidson

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