I had a serious accident while I was riding very, very quickly. I don’t have a brilliant memory of the accident, but I do recall that the other driver changed lanes with no indication, directly into my path.

This caused the accident and I have serious injuries. I have been told I was riding at more than 100mph before the crash and that there is CCTV of me doing this. I have approached three lawyers and none of them think I have a case. Do I?


I think you do. The other lawyers you approached might have a lower appetite for risk, but there are plenty of cases out there where the biker has been going ‘a bit too quick’.

For example, in Buster Stark v Tabitha Lyddon, the biker was found to be travelling at 70mph in a 30mph limit when he struck the side of the driver’s car. The impact speed was said to be 55mph when the driver pulled out in front of him, leaving him nowhere to go. The biker won 30% of his case (he had to give up 70% due to his speed).

Weigh that against the case of Hernandez v Acar, where the biker was travelling at 50mph in a 30mph and won 60% of his case. So, you see, excess speed is unlikely to be a complete bar to a successful claim, but rather results in a finding of contributory negligence, i.e., blame on the biker’s part. The percentage reduction is important, as if you win £100,000 on full liability, applying a 70% reduction means you end up with £30,000.

A very similar case springs to mind and that is Richard Everett v Calvin Dyer, in which the biker was thought to be travelling at more than 100mph on the motorway. As he came off the slip road, the van driver pulled out into his path (trying to get into a more freely flowing lane), resulting in the biker hitting him in the rear. That case settled on a 75/25 split in the biker’s favour, with the biker accepting that he was 25% to blame for excess speed.

It is important to note that all of the cases are judged on their own facts, so it is no good going to court and trying to point the learned judge to any of these older cases in support of your claim.

They might help the judge in understanding how arguments of contributory negligence have been approached in older cases, but you will need to properly present and argue the facts in your own case.

This is where a specialist lawyer comes into play and could really help you bring a successful claim.

Gavin Grewal

Fast Bikes – September 2023