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Title: Can I claim for motorcycle accident on grit on the road?

Date: 22 April 2013

Question

A week ago I had a low speed accident on a roundabout that was heavily gritted, basically the front wheel went from under me half way around it and I believe it was because of the grit. It was a dry day and had not been icy or snowing for a few days, all I want to know is would it be silly to try and get any sort of compensation from the local authorities/council? I know its not a road defect or diesel patch and if the grit wasn't there it would probably be a safety issue so I am just confused about this . Has anybody had a similar experience?

1985 Dan to MCN Forum (insurance)

Answer

You are going to struggle to succeed with a claim against the local authority for this accident. The very reason the gritting vehicles are deployed is to protect road users from treacherous icy conditions. From a public policy perspective judges are not going to allow such a claim to succeed as it could deter the gritting lorries from attempting to make the roads safe for fear of a claim against them. That would be in nobody’s interest as we would all then risk driving on icy roads. The only conceivable way you could succeed in this would be to argue that they were negligent in depositing too much grit (and I literally mean piles of the stuff - and I strongly suspect this was not the case).

I once had a case in which a biker came off on excess sand which was on the road to deal with a previous diesel spill and despite there having been arguably far too much sand on the road the Arbitrator (it was MIB Untraced case) felt that the same public policy considerations applied. Un-swept roads with excess gravel on them following a road resurfacing or diesel spill cases are fine to proceed with but as I say, you are going to struggle with this.

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