A taxi had pulled out of a side road directly in front of me. I had tried to go round the front of him, but I couldn’t avoid hitting the vehicle’s wing. I hit the deck like a sack of potatoes and ended up with a broken pelvis. I really wish I had left the bike at home and taken the tube.

I thought liability would be straightforward. However, the taxi driver’s insurance company is alleging that I must have been distracted because I had my headphones in listening to my satnav on my phone.

Because of this they are now saying that the accident was my fault. Legally, is this correct? My insurer has proven to be as much help as a chocolate teapot.


Phones, satnavs and distracted drivers are always a hot topic. However, the taxi driver’s insurer is barking up the wrong tree here. If your insurer is being useless, get yourself a solicitor who knows what they are doing. The case should be easy regarding liability. It is not illegal to listen to headphones whilst 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 taxi driver just pulled out in front of you causing the accident, then liability should rest with him. This would be 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 be at 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/satnavs, etc., and not looking where they are going.

Andrew Prendergast

More Bikes November 2021