Can’t see the wood for the trees

Can’t see the wood for the trees

I was riding home on my R6 one night a couple of weeks ago. I went around a left-hand bend on a country lane when the front end of my bike just let go and I fell off. I slid across the road and ended up in a bush. Thankfully, the oncoming car did not hit me. The chap in the car stopped to help me and found I had hit a big wooden scaffolding plank that was in the middle of the road.

While I am chuffed to still be alive (I narrowly avoided a tree), I broke my wrist, trashed my bike, have been off work for six weeks and lost money. I am a mechanic and need to use my hands, so a broken wrist has not helped. The accident was in the middle of nowhere, there were no houses nearby with scaffolding and no one saw who left this plank of wood there. Can I claim or is it just bad luck?


Firstly you need to know about the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB). Every time we all pay motor insurance some of that money goes into a big pot used to pay out to insured motorists who have had an accident with an uninsured or an untraced driver. As you don’t know who owned the scaffolding plank you could look to bring a claim under the MIB Untraced Drivers’ Scheme.

For a claim to be successful you need to prove ‘on the balance of probabilities’ the scaffolding plank came from a vehicle that would have needed insurance. If you haven’t reported the accident to the police, do so immediately. Also, evidence is going to be the key so hopefully you have the car driver’s details so he can give a statement to the MIB. You do need to bear in mind the MIB Untraced Drivers’ Scheme will not usually compensate you for your damaged bike and kit. However it will compensate you for your injuries and other losses that flow from those, i.e. loss of earnings, medical costs etc. While not ideal, it is better than getting nothing.

Andrew Prendergast
Managing Partner
White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors
Motorcycle Monthly August 2013

Don’t rely on the advice from your insurance appointed solicitor, get proper independent advice.

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: July 16, 2018 at 9:58 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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