More than £37,000 has been raised for the cyclist ordered to pay compensation to a pedestrian he collided with who was looking at her phone while crossing the road, as donations continue to flood in.
Robert Hazeldean had gone through a green light on a junction near Cannon Street station during rush hour, as Gemma Brushett, 28, stepped out into the road while looking at her phone.
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Despite the judge ruling the crash was 50 per cent Brushett’s fault, Hazeldean failed to make a counter-claim against her, with his lack of insurance also meaning he will have to foot the legal bill as well as paying damages.
A friend of Hazeldean’s, Brittany Maher-Kirk, set up a crowdfunding campaign to try and help pay his legal fees and damages, with total costs potentially exceeding £100,000, although expected to be lower.
The original fundraising target of £21,300 was surpassed within 24 hours, with more than 2,500 people making donations since the campaign was launched on June 22.
Hazeldean and Maher-Kirk have announced that any money left over after Hazeldean’s costs have been paid will be donated to Action Aid.
After the goal had been reached, Hazeldean said: “I am overwhelmed by the response to Brittany’s crowdfunder. It’s incredible how many of you have given your own money to help a complete stranger. This will already cover the compensation claim, due in less than 14 days – a huge weight off my mind. Thank you all so much.”
Following the incident in 2015, Hazeldean moved to France for a “new life”, getting work as a garden designer, and says the four-year court case has taken a toll on his mental health and left his future uncertain.
The £21,300 sum was to cover £4,300 for compensation, £10,000 to cover the pedestrian’s legal fees (this may increase when the final cost award is declared as they are seeking around £100,000 in costs – but £10,000 was the amount indicated by the judge) and £7,000 to cover Hazeldean’s own legal fees.
According to Hazeldean’s lawyer, Emma Farrell, if had he been insured the total would have been a lot less, as well as saying he should have entered a counterclaim. She said: “If Mr Hazeldean had been insured, the claimant’s legal costs would have been limited to a mere £6,690. If he had come to us sooner, we would have advised him to enter a counterclaim.”
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Maher-Kirk said: “I’m totally overwhelmed by what’s happened in the last day and I’m so pleased the target has been smashed. People have been incredibly generous. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has shared, donated or sent messages of support.
“I want to be clear about what will happen to the money, as Robert is waiting for the final hearing date. We’re hopeful that the final costs won’t significantly exceed what the judge suggested this week (which was £21,300 in total) but I plan to leave the page up and open, and anything over the final amount will be donated to Action Aid.”