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Recently reported in the news is the case of a cyclist, Robert Hazeldean, who has been ordered to pay £4161 in compensation to a pedestrian he struck whilst cycling along London Bridge.

Whilst there is nothing particularly out of the ordinary regarding the amount of compensation awarded to the pedestrian for his personal injury, or the Court’s decision, the focus in the covering news media has been on the fact that Mr Hazeldean has been ordered to pay the claimant’s legal costs, which could end up personally costing him in the region of £20,000.

Now, it is in fact the usual rule in court proceedings that the loser pays the winner’s costs and, as such, there is nothing unusual about the costs order. However, the key point to note here is that, unlike motor vehicle drivers, there is no mandatory requirement for cyclists to have insurance cover. It is the insurance cover that would ordinarily pay out compensation, and legal costs, in these circumstances. In the case of motor vehicle operators, should they not have insurance (which is of course illegal) there is a government body, called the Motor Insurers Bureau, who will pay the compensation and costs but reserve the right to seek these from the uninsured driver in the future.

Cyclists out for a ride

It seems a little known fact is that cyclists are at the same risk as motor vehicle operators of facing a personal injury claim and if such a claim is successful they would be ordered to pay both the compensation and legal costs. As the majority do not have insurance cover for this the result is that they are ordered to pay these amounts personally, which, depending upon the amount of harm done to the injured person, and length of the case, could run to many tens of thousands of pounds.

In the writer’s view, all cyclists (or operators of other non-motor vehicles) should take out appropriate insurance cover to avoid them ever being at risk of having to pay such costs personally.

Another point, considering the facts of the case, is that cyclists should always bear in mind they are under the same duty as a motor vehicle operator in situations where a pedestrian is crossing the road i.e. to give way to that pedestrian even if he or she is crossing when the traffic light is green.

Aston Knight Solicitors are a specialist personal injury firm based in Bury, Greater Manchester, with a focus upon complex and high value matters. Please feel free to contact us at any time to discuss further or to have a confidential no obligation discussion on (0161) 399 1231 or info@astonknightsolicitors.co.uk.

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