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Fell while testing bicycle

I tried out a bicycle at a shop and fell off, because I was not shown how to use the complicated gears and got hurt. Who is to blame?

The first thing I would ask this listener is, was the bike unusually and exceptionally complex?  Normally if you are given a bike to test you are assumed to be able to ride a bicycle, in the same way that if you test-drive a car you are not asked if you can drive. 

 

I believe that in order to bring a claim this listener would have to prove that the gears were so unusually complicated that no reasonable cyclist would be able to use the bike and the shop-keeper should have advised the listener.

 

If there is any doubt about the exceptional complexity question, the listener should ask an expert, such as a consulting engineer to advise about it and give you the answer you need.

 

FOOTNOTE: Another Listener sent text during the programme saying that the idea of getting a consulting engineer was absurd. He also said that the cyclist has no one else to blame but himself for falling off the bike.

 

REPLY: We don’t know the extent to which the first listener was injured. I had a case a few years ago in which a cyclist with a new bike went over the handlebars due to a defect in one of the pedals. My client landed on his face with the full force of weight of his body behind him and spent weeks in hospital with serious injuries. We engaged a consulting engineer and proved the case in court recovering all medical expenses, loss of earnings while in hospital and the cost of a new bike plus general compensation.

 

If injuries are serious then this is the way to go. If on the other hand there are only a few scratches then the injured listener may not want to go to the expense of getting an engineer’s report.

Brian O'Reilly

The issues raised in the answer to this NewsTalk listener's question are dealt with in a general way as can only be the case on live radio. Before relying on the advice given in this answer, whether you heard the broadcast or are for the first time reading the issues here please do not rely on the broad advice given. For a detailed professional opinion please consult a qualified legal advisor and for further details read our disclaimer on the Home Page.

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