Cyclist Who Knocked a Child Down Wins Suit

( – In a scenario not typical for a defamation lawsuit, a cyclist seeks damages from the father of a child the cyclist struck. On Christmas Day 2020, a family was walking on a snowy path in a nature reserve in eastern Belgium when the cyclist knocked down the child in what appears to be an intentional movement of his leg. The father was recording his small child walking when the incident occurred. The father shared the video online, and it went, as they say, “viral.” Following the incident, the cyclist lost his privacy and reputation. He claims to endure “bullying” to this day.

The father filed a lawsuit against the cyclist, and while the cyclist was found guilty of involuntary assault, the award was one euro of compensation. Another year later, the cyclist filed a defamation lawsuit against the father. The court has ruled in his favor, but the award is presently undecided; the cyclist is seeking 4,500 euros, which is the price of his bike as a symbolic value. The court did rule that his reputation was damaged and his right to privacy invaded by the posting of the video.

The right to privacy in Belgium says that no authority can interfere with your home, correspondence, or telephone calls. There is no explicit note of the right to privacy based on actions made in public.

In the U.S., the right to privacy is not explicitly stated as a right except for healthcare data which is governed under HIPAA.

Sage Scott, a travel blogger, states that bicycles should yield to pedestrians and not ride on sidewalks. Sage notes that the increasing availability of e-bikes, or hybrid bikes, is expanding bike riding in most cities that offer bike rentals to people likely unfamiliar with rules. She warns of caution for cyclists and pedestrians.

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