Crash Course

Crash Course

Two pints of lager and a packet of trouble. Unravelling the legal aftermath of Mark Stone’s riding calamities. Full of festive goodwill, and the odd pint or two, Mark offers a workmate a lift home from an afternoon session…

Bike No32


Mark knows he has an inexperienced pillion and is riding with a couple of pints inside him. Even if he’s under the drinkdrive limit, the judicial pendulum has swung from ‘under the limit equals blameless’ to ‘alcohol affects all driving decisions and will be taken into account’.

If the judge finds that the pillion knew Mark had taken a drink, the pillion would have to take some blame. If Mark was obviously drunk the pillion would be looking at a reduction of his damages by 20-30%. However, judges are becoming less forgiving of people who are too stupid or reckless to look after themselves.

Andrew Dalton

Senior partner with White Dalton, solicitors specialising in motorcycle-related claims


Drinking and riding are a dangerous combination. Besides reduced coordination, poor judgement and slowed reactions, we also have the mental side where alcohol bigs us up to believe we have Lorenzo’s skill levels. Placing an inexperienced pillion into the mix is bonkers.

Leaning in a corner is what we do naturally, but it seems far from natural to a novice and they will fight and, as in this case, sometimes win. Don’t forget, a passenger is a big percentage of the weight and they can easily influence what goes on. Ease them in gently and not on a trip like this.

Gary Baldwin

Director of Rapid Training and accident investigator for Thames Valley Police

Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: April 26, 2013 at 12:00 am

Andrew has been riding motorcycles since he was 10 years old and currently rides a ZZR1400 as his daily commuter whether it is sunny or snowing. In addition, he is currently restoring an old Honda CB750 K1. Andrew practices across all areas of motorcycle law, with his practice involving both civil claims and motoring defence work.


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