Cyclist has to pay pedestrian who walked out in front while looking at phone

I’m pleased to see this fellow’s GoFundMe page doing so well. It’s nearly up to £40,000 after just a couple of days. For those who don’t know the story, Robert Hazeldean was cycling in London when a pedestrian stepped out in front of him and the two collided. The pedestrian was looking at her phone at the time. Robert rang his bell and swerved to avoid her but at the same instant she leapt aside in the same direction. They were both injured in the crash.

People sometimes don’t realise that when you fall off your bike it hurts. This is why a collision between a motorist and a cyclist is very different from a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian. Motorists are protected by a metal frame and their vehicle is also much larger in mass. Cyclists and pedestrians are both exposed and vulnerable and are similar in mass.

The pedestrian, a Yoga teacher called Gemma Brushett, sued Robert even though he too was injured. The judge ruled that both of them were equally responsible which means Robert has to pay 50% of Gemma’s claim. The reason Gemma doesn’t have to pay anything is because Robert didn’t counter-claim. He says he doesn’t agree with the claim culture and because of this he now faces a huge bill. Some reports say it could be as high as £100,000. In other words, because Robert is a nice guy Gemma has effectively bankrupted him. Fortunately, though, a friend of Robert’s started a fundraising page which is now close to £40,000 and still rising.

It is heart-warming to see so many people supporting Robert and to read all the comments. I agree with Robert and also dislike the claim culture. It encourages greed and selfishness. We ought to take responsibility for our own actions rather than blaming others. I wonder also whether had the woman stepped out in front of a car would the outcome have been the same? Motorists are always hitting pedestrians but they never seem to be penalised. You read about motorists killing people every day and they’re back on the roads driving again straight away. There’s often no penalty at all. Why is that?