Last week a case was published in Cycling Weekly involving a lady in the centre of London who walked into the path of a cyclist crossing a road, while looking at her mobile phone.
The judge in the civil court found the cyclist 50% liable for the losses suffered by the pedestrian.
Recently, I also had my own claim settled also on the basis of a 50/50 settlement.
I was commuting to work in day light, proceeding in slow moving traffic in the centre of Warrington.
A car coming up behind me turned right across me into a side street on the left, having overtaken and allegedly indicated the very last second cutting me up in the process and causing damage to my bike and injury to me.
The driver denied fault.
I have gone over the incident in my own mind repeatedly since it happened and can honestly say I don’t think I could have possibly avoided being hit.
Even if the driver had indicated, because it happened during the turn, I was blind to it anyway.
The only way I might have avoided being hit is stopping close to where the side street was on the left, just in case some driver might overtake and indicate in the same manoeuvre!
This would mean cyclists stopping repeatedly on any journey and would make a mockery of The Highway Code, which is there to protect all road users.
It was settled 50/50 only because it was my word against the driver.
The truth is I also know from my own legal work that there are plenty of judges who don’t favour cyclists and, whilst I would hope to have won 100% on Liability had the matter proceeded to trial, there was no guarantee of this as graphically illustrated by the case in London above.
In another recent article, I mentioned how I am almost always having to manoeuvre around dangerous drivers on my daily commute.
At a particular point on the return journey, when I approach a particular turnoff to a cul de sac on my left, cars just pull out as if I am not there…almost every day!
What do all these actual real life cases and examples have in common?
They demonstrate just how invisible cyclists are to car drivers.
We use the same roads, obey the same rules and have the same duty of care as all road users but our physical presence is so often just simply ignored.
The fact that it is broad daylight or if in the dark we are kitted out with lights making us look like Christmas trees makes no difference apparently.