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High Court at Manchester awards e-cyclist damages

In a complex case and at a liability only Trial on 1 February, His Honour Judge Sephton QC awarded James 25% of the full value of his claim

James* was riding his electronic bicycle on his way to work when he was hit by an oncoming vehicle whilst making a right hand turn across its lane.

Despite James wearing a high-vis jacket at the time, the driver of the vehicle (the Defendant) maintained that he was driving within the speed limit albeit close to it and had not seen James until he was immediately in front of his vehicle due to the dazzling effect of the low-lying sun which was directly in front of him. It was at this time that the Defendant maintained that he had applied his brakes to avoid the collision.

Liability was therefore strongly contested throughout without any kind of offer being made prior to the Trial.

After hearing the evidence of both parties, the Judge held that the risk posed by the dazzling sun was clear and obvious and that the Defendant should have reduced his speed or even stopped altogether as advised in the Highway Code.

In addition, with the assistance of experts instructed on James’s behalf, the Judge accepted that the Defendant had not seen James and had not applied the vehicle’s brakes himself. The vehicle’s automatic braking system had been activated once James had been identified by the system as a hazard in the road.  

As a result of the accident, James sustained a severe traumatic brain injury with multiple serious orthopeadic injuries which required surgery.

The amount of compensation will be assessed by the Court at a later date. 

Mark Robinson, personal injury solicitor at Potter Rees Dolan, said:

I am delighted by the outcome in this hard fought and technical case that was strongly disputed for several years. As in most cases involving cyclists and motorcyclists, expert evidence in many areas is key to prove that the driver is at fault by not reacting to the driving conditions and taking those steps within his control such as braking to avoid the collision.

* The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

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