Brushett v Hazeldean Collision Locus

SUMMARY

On 20th July 2015, during rush hour in central London, Mr Hazeldean was cycling towards King William Street, London.

He cycled through a green light and saw a group of pedestrians crossing the road ahead of him. Ms Brushett was amongst the group of pedestrians who were attempting to cross from King William Street to Cannon Street at a pedestrian crossing point.

Ms Brushett was looking at her phone whilst she crossed the road. Mr Hazeldean sounded the air horn on his bicycle to alert of his presence as he approached the pedestrians.

The pedestrians moved to create a gap for Mr Hazeldean however, Ms Brushett did not see him and when she did look up, rather than completing her crossing, she stepped backwards.

Mr Hazeldean collided with her. Both were knocked unconscious at the scene and sustained injury.

DECISION

Ms Brushett brought a claim for personal injury to the London County Court.

She argued that Mr Hazeldean should not have continued to cycle across a pedestrian crossing when pedestrians were crossing it. He should not have tried to clear the crossing of pedestrians by simply using his horn.

Mr Hazeldean argued that as Ms Brushett was looking at her phone when crossing the road, she did not notice his approach until the last moment and due to this she reacted in an unexpected way. This resulted in the collision.

District Judge Mauger found both parties equally to blame for the incident.

She found that Ms Brushett has contributed to the incident by crossing the road without looking. She also found that Mr Hazeldean had equally contributed to the incident by proceeding to cycle when the road was not clear. She stated that “even where a motorist or cyclist has the right of way, pedestrians who are established on the road have right of way”.

Ms Brushett’s award for damages were subsequently reduced by 50%.

LESSONS LEARNED

This case acts as a reminder to cyclists that even if they have right of way, they should still cycle in a considerate manner taking into account the possibility of potential collisions with other road users, especially those more vulnerable than themselves.

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