Mate crashed my bike

Mate crashed my bike

I had an old Africa Twin that I was flogging. A mate was interested and came round for a test ride. I foolishly thought he had a licence and insurance to ride it.

He didn’t. About 30 minutes after leaving my house he calls me to say he’s had an accident. I hopped straight in the car to go see him. When I arrived it was like a scene off Casualty.

He had basically overcooked a corner and fallen off. The bike then slid across the road, up the pavement and took two pedestrians out. Thankfully they were not killed, but they were severely injured.

He got done for Dangerous Driving amongst some other offences and I got done for letting him drive without insurance. That was two years ago and I thought my insurer was dealing with everything.

However, I have just received a letter from my insurer saying that because I let my mate ride with no insurance, they had to pay out, but and I was now liable to repay them. They want £187,000. I thought they were trying it on and ignored it. However, they have written again. What do you think?


Ideally you do not want a scenario where they come after you through the courts and get an order that your house be sold, etc. Get all the papers together, including your insurance policy, and get some legal advice.

However, if your policy says you are not covered if you let someone ride the bike who is not named on the policy (or words to that affect) I suspect you have serious issues. If I were a betting man, your insurer had to pay out for two severely injured people in light of the Road Traffic Act and because you let your mate ride, they can come after you for the money for beaching the policy terms.

If that is correct, you may well have to pay the £187,000, but you may be able to come to an agreement about a repayment plan. Also, you should consider suing your mate for any money you have to pay out because of his accident.

Andrew ‘Chef’ Prendergast

Motorcycle Monthly – August 2019

Posted by Andrew Prendergast. Last modified: July 19, 2019 at 2:34 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.
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.


  1. John FaulknerApril 10, 2020

    A great response Chef, this item really needs to get out there in the bike community. Too many people take severe risks on test rides!

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The MCM legal column is compiled by managing partner Andrew 'Chef' Prendergast and his bike-riding barristers and solicitors at White Dalton Motorcycle Solicitors.

The firm deals with personal injury claims and its sister company, Motor Defence Solicitors, deals with all the motoring offences.

White Dalton lawyers have a vast knowledge of bike law, and they have full bike licences, too. They don’t act for insurance companies or the prosecution.

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