London cyclist found jointly liable for crash with pedestrian gets £60K-plus bill

Crowdfunding from the cycling community helped Robert Hazeldean cut his own bill down to just under £3,000

A cyclist who made national news last summer after he was sued and found partially liable for crashing into a distracted pedestrian has revealed the outcome of the case was "not the result I was hoping for". A crowdfunder set up to cover Robert Hazeldean's legal fees with the aim of any surplus going to charity was all swallowed up, as he settled for £30,000 costs and £4,300 damages. 

Cycling and the Law: why a cyclist being successfully sued for colliding with a pedestrian is actually good for cyclists

The crash occurred at a junction near Cannon Street Station in London back in 2015, with Hazeldean and pedestrian Gemma Brushett both knocked unconscious. Though Mr Hazeldean was described as a "calm and reasonable road user" and Ms Brushett was using her phone when she was crossing the road, Hazeldean was found jointly liable and was initially ordered to pay compensation and costs of £100,000 after Brushett sued. Crucially, Hazeldean did not have insurance and was facing bankruptcy, so a crowdfunder was launched to cover legal fees. ​

Mr Hazeldean announced on a Twitter thread this morning: "It's not the result I was hoping for, but I do at least feel free of it now." The crowdfunder raised £59,643, and after everything was paid on both sides this swallowed up all of that money plus an extra £2,979 Hazeldean had to cover himself. Hazeldean's costs came to £25,122, Brushett's costs were settled for £30,000, the GoFundMe crowdfunder fees came to £2,766, and the damages were £4,300 with £434 interest.

He expressed regret that nothing was left over for Action Aid, the charity any extra money would have gone to if he didn't have to cover such a large bill. He continued: "I feel horrible that there was no money left over for Action Aid UK.

"This was one of the few positive things that could've come out of this. It was made very clear to their lawyers that this was charity money they were taking, but they wouldn't budge."

Initially Brushett's lawyers wanted £112,000 costs, but settled at £30,000. Hazeldean said there was still a rescheduled hearing to come, but facing the threat of bankruptcy, decided to settle because he has "no faith in the court system and the risks were simply too high." 

He also claimed some lawyers are exploiting the civil court system which "desperately needs reforming."

Hazeldean ended his thread by urging cyclists to get insurance and to think carefully about suing due to the lengthy and stressful process: "I don't want to go over the ins and outs of the case, but there are some points I want to make: Firstly, if you cycle, get insurance from British Cycling. If you get sued, get a lawyer (such as) Levi Solicitors.

"Finally, if you're in an accident, think very hard before you sue someone. The process is long and unpleasant and there is another person on the other end, someone you likely know nothing about."

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

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