Q. My wife bought me and my son a motor experience day off the internet. – the morning involved driving round the track in supercars, and riding a motorcycle around a grass off-road area in the afternoon. The morning went fine, but when it came to the afternoon I told the two chaps “supervising” the event that I’d never ridden a motorcycle before, and asked if it would be safe for me to do this. They laughed and said it would be fine and if I fell off it wouldn’t hurt as it was on grass. They gave me about 2 or 3 minutes instruction and after stalling about 6 times (much to their amusement) I set off. However, I couldn’t control the bike, and ripped across the grass eventually stopping about 20 seconds later when I hit an embankment. I broke my leg and have been off work for 4 months. Can I claim against the event organizer, or will a court just say it is my fault for being an idiot for getting on the bike when I had never ridden one?
A. These kinds of case can be difficult to win. This is because there is an argument that you knew you were going to do a risky event and therefore you can’t claim after the risk turned into a reality and you got hurt. To give another example, a Court would be unlikely to sympathise with a professional boxer who got concussion after a fight: he knew there was a risk he could get punched in the head when he stepped into the ring.
However, if you can show that the event organiser has done something wrong, and breached the duty of care it owed to you as a participator, then you may well have a claim. As you told them you had not ridden a motorbike, in my opinion the Court will look carefully at what training you were provided thereafter, and from what you say it seems pretty shoddy. As such, you may well be successful ,but evaluation of all the evidence will be essential before you contemplate issuing Court proceedings.
White Dalton Solicitors is Britain’s most specialist motorcycle law practice. Managing partner Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast and his bike riding barristers compile Motor Cycle Monthly’s legal column. www.whitedalton.co.uk