London woman zoned out on cell phone in crosswalk wins $$$. Cyclist hit her.

British sense of fair play, eh??!!  Cheers.

The Guardian 6.21.2019

Judge rules man liable because cyclists must be prepared for unexpected behaviour

A woman who was knocked unconscious by a cyclist will be awarded compensation, despite a judge finding she had stepped into the road while looking at her phone.

Robert Hazeldean, a garden designer, who was also knocked out by the collision, will pay thousands in damages and court fees to Gemma Brushett, who works for a finance firm in the City of London and runs yoga retreats.

Hazeldean was returning from work in July 2015 when he crashed into Brushett as she crossed a busy junction near London Bridge. She launched a legal claim for compensation after sustaining a minor head injury.

London Cyclist  II 6.21.2019.jpg

Judge Shanti Mauger, at Central London county court, said the cyclist was “a calm and reasonable road user” and that Brushett was looking at her phone when she walked into the road in front of him.

The court heard that Brushett was one of a “throng” of people trying to cross the road at the start of rush-hour. She was looking at her mobile phone when crossing the road, and only noticed Hazeldean approaching at the last moment, despite the traffic lights showing green.

The court was told she panicked and tried to step back, but the cyclist, who had been travelling at 10-15mph, swerved in the same direction and hit her.

Judge Mauger said: “When I stand back and ask: ‘How did the accident happen?’ it seems to me that Mr Hazeldean owed a duty to other road users to drive with reasonable care and skill,” she said.

“Even where a motorist or cyclist had the right of way, pedestrians who are established on the road have 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.”

Mauger said Brushett‘s conduct as a pedestrian must have contributed to the accident. “Ms Brushett must clearly have equal responsibility if she is crossing the road without looking – and if she is looking at her phone, even more so,” she said.

The judge’s ruling found that the parties shared responsibility, so while Brushett is guaranteed a payout, she will get only half of the full value of her claim.

The case will return to court at a later date for costs and damages figures to be fixed.


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