Is it my fault as I had headphones on?

Is it my fault as I had headphones on?

I live on the outskirts of Manchester. As I had a meeting in the city centre I decided to take my moped. Approximately 30 minutes later I was flat on my back in an ambulance on the way to A&E.

Some bus driver pulled out of a side road directly in front of me. I tried to go around the front of him, but lost control and then hit a lamppost. One broken leg and a missing tooth!

I REALLY wish I had left the moped at home and taken the bus rather than getting hit by one! Joy. Anyway, I thought liability would be a slam dunk. However, the bus driver’s insurance company are alleging I must have been distracted because I had my headphones in. Because of this they are now saying the accident was my fault. Is this legally right? I am worried because I had my headphones in listening to my sat nav.


The issue of headphones is a ‘hot topic’ in the press at the moment, but I think the bus insurer is trying to pull a stunt. Firstly, It is not illegal to listen to headphones while riding. Therefore, just because you had your headphones in does not automatically mean the accident is your fault.

If you were on the main road, concentrating and looking where you were going etc. and the bus driver just pulled out in front of you causing the accident, then liability should rest with them. This is irrespective of whether you had your headphones in or not.

However, as a general point, riders need to be aware that if a defendant proves a rider was distracted and not concentrating then they may be found to blame in full or in part for an accident, i.e. if the rider was listening to loud music (as this may mask other sounds), trying to read maps/sat navs etc. and not looking where they are going.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

Motorcycle Monthly

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: March 23, 2018 at 4:50 pm

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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