Last summer I was on my BMW 1200 heading on my usual route to work. I was meandering around a roundabout on the ring road when the front end of the motorbike just washed out on gravel etc. from the broken up road surface.
I watched in horror as my pride and joy slid down the road on one side, then flipped on to the other side. Following that, it was the ‘Long Way Round’ the ring road by ambulance for my broken ankle. Since then the council has been super slow but has now denied liability and said they had inspected the road and it was fine.
I have photos and video from the day showing it’s not. I also wear a motorcycle helmet cam so I may have proof from months before that the road was falling to bits. Can I win as the ‘little man’ against the state?
On a personal note, round my neck of the woods it’s like riding your motorbike though the aftermath of a war zone with the potholes you have to dodge and that was before the recent Beast from the East.
As for your case, I’m not surprised the council has denied liability as that appears to be the default position. However, yes you can win, potentially. As with all motorcycle accident cases, evidence is the key. So your photos and video will be vital. Don’t lose them.
Under S.41 of the Highways Act 1980 the relevant authority i.e. the council in your case has a “Duty to maintain highways maintainable at public expense.” Therefore, if the road is not in safe order for a motorbike to use, then you’re over the first hurdle.
However, the council may have a “Special defence” by way of S.58 if they can prove “they had taken such care as in all the circumstances was reasonably required to secure that the part of the highway to which the action relates was not dangerous for traffic.”
With that in mind, you are going to have to get the council to disclose their inspection records and go from there. As it’s the ring road they should have been inspecting it regularly and fixing repairs where needed. If they haven’t and they continue to deny liability it may be the ‘Long Way Down’ to the court and let a judge decide.
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.