Daly v Heeps & Anor

The pursuer cyclist was participating in a 10-mile cycling event which took the format of a team time trial. During the race, the pursuer and his two team-mates adopted a single file cycling formation.

The roads which comprised the route were public roads and were not closed for the event.

At one point, the pursuer and his teammates were travelling on an unclassified road that had on it “road narrows” and “single track” road signs. Also proceeding on this road, in the opposite direction from the pursuer, was a Ford Explorer vehicle that was towing a trailer with a boat on it. This vehicle was being driven by the defender. 

When he saw the approaching cyclists, the defender was travelling at about 25 mph. He slightly reduced his speed but was still driving in excess of 20mph.

His rig was encroaching onto the cyclists’ carriageway, leaving insufficient space for them to pass safely at speed.

The pursuer’s two team mates managed to safely pass the defender’s vehicle (just), but the pursuer – who had not seen the trailer attached to the vehicle – hit the side of the trailer and fell from his bike.

The Judge held that the defender had breached his duty of reasonable care towards the pursuer, as he was driving at excessive speed at the time of the accident, and had failed to pull over as far as he could to the side of his carriageway.

The pursuer was therefore entitled to reparation from the defender. However, the pursuer had materially contributed to the accident by failing to keep a proper lookout and failing to appreciate the narrowness of the road.

The apportionment of fault for the accident was set at 50/50 between the parties. Thus, whilst the loss sustained by the pursuer was quantified at £110,000, he was instead awarded a sum of £55,000 to reflect his 50% contributory negligence.

The full decision can be viewed here.


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