Where do you stand when an accident provokes your family into banning you from bikes?
I had what was a very nasty collision in which both my lungs were punctured and for a period it was touch and go whether I was going to live.
Thanks to skilled paramedics and a brilliant A&E team, I am now fully recovered. The other driver’s insurers topped up my physiotherapy and after a number of treatments during nine months I am about 100% recovered. This is all good, I thank my lucky stars.
My wife has absolutely put her foot down, and I have been banned from ever riding a road bike again. In fairness my eldest daughter gets very panicky about the idea of me getting back on a bike. So I have accepted that I will not be getting back on a road bike.
However, I now have to commute by car, I am paying £8 a day parking and losing over an hour a day in traveling to work.
I think I should be able to bring a claim for this, but my solicitor, a partner in a proper law firm, tells me that I have no claim.
Surely this cannot be right?
Unfortunately for you, your solicitors are right. The legal logic is this. You were knocked off your bike and you had a very scary few days, which must have been absolute hell for you and your family. Your wife, for reasons I understand, has said that she cannot bear the idea of you being hurt again, and you putting your family through this type of fear. Your little girl is doing the “Daddy please don’t go out on your bike” thing and I am not going to say that you should ignore the wishes of your wife and eldest daughter.
However, unless you have a medical condition causative or contributed to by this accident that stops you from riding you have no claim. If you had a psychiatric phobia or your hand was too mangled, or your back is too stiff to ride, then you would have a claim.
As the law sees it your decision to stop riding your bike is voluntary. While you may feel that if you never had this accident you would still be riding the truth is that you have made a choice. A kind judge might increase the part of your award for “loss of amenity” but as to increased costs and times for commuting, the answer is going to be no, you win not get home on this point.
The law is well established on this. There is nothing physical or psychiatric stopping you riding a motorcycle. Therefore the only thing that is stopping you riding a motorcycle is a voluntary decision that you have made for your own reasons.
In this case it is to stop your wife and eldest daughter being very worried about you when you are on your bike. For your own reasons you are simply no longer willing to take the risks inherent of riding a motorcycle, which are exactly the same as they were before you had your crash.
Therefore, while your decision is understandable, the law will not come to your aid to offset your now increased costs of not riding a motorcycle.
Fast Bikes March 2018