I’m incredibly thankful for everyone who has donated, shared or sent messages of support today. You’re all wonderful.
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 will leave this page up, and anything over the final amount will be donated to Action Aid.
Here's a message from Robert over on Twitter: Incredibly, @Brittlovebike's crowdfund has reached its goal. I'm hopeful the final hearing won't add anything significant but the page will stay up, with anything raised beyond final costs going to @ActionAidUK. I'm forever thankful to the 1,400 people who have given to help me. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
On his daily commute home from his job at a mental health charity, a pedestrian stepped out into the road while concentrating on her phone. Robert did all he could to prevent an accident - he had come through a green light, sounded a loud airhorn attached to his bike, as well as shouting, swerving and braking. They collided, and both ended up unconscious.
Now, four years on, a judge has ruled that he is to pay the pedestrian compensation and legal fees - despite calling him 'a calm and reasonable road user'. Pedestrian witnesses backed Robert, telling police that the pedestrian was 'not looking where she was going' and stated that 'the cyclist was not at fault'.
The cost to Robert - one of the kindest, most gentle and responsible people I have the privilege of calling a friend - is likely to bankrupt him. I have started this crowdfunder in the hope that we might be able to ease some of that financial burden.
Here's what Robert has to say on the ruling:
Today finally brings to a close four years that have taken a great toll on my mental health. I am of course deeply disappointed with the outcome, reeling from the impact it will have on my life, and concerned by the precedent that it might set for other cyclists.
I am more grateful than I can say for the support of my wonderful girlfriend and my friends and family. I would not have got through this without them. I have also been extremely touched by the messages of support from strangers who have read about the case in the press.
I’d like to thank my lawyers for helping me understand and navigate the complexities of the legal system. I feel that most cyclists would not have appreciated the consequences of not taking the opportunity to put forward a counterclaim which meant that I was unable to rely on the legislation in the same way that the Claimant has to protect myself against a destructive costs award. This was not because I was not injured, but because I do not advocate the claim culture. Had I had legal representation at the time of preparing my defence, I would have taken those steps to protect myself.
I would urge other cyclists to take out insurance through British Cycling to help protect them from experiencing what I’ve gone through.
The case has cast a shadow over our new life in France and left our future uncertain. Covering the costs and the compensation is going to exceed £20,000 and will leave me bankrupt. I can only hope that the focus on this case highlights the vulnerability of cyclists, both physically and against the courts, and that it might help reform a legal system that appears to leave certain road users disproportionately exposed.
£4,300 for the compensation, payable in 14 days. £10,000 to cover the pedestrian's legal fees, payable in 21 days (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). £7,000 to cover Robert's own legal fees.
As we do not currently know the full extent of the costs, I have spoken to Robert, and if the total is surpassed I will donate the extra to Action Aid. Robert has sponsored a child through Action Aid for the last 13 years, and sadly due to the financial pressures around the case has had to recently stop.