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Photo: Roo Fowler, Youtube

The mountain bike skills instructor in the UK who was sued by a paralyzed student has lost the case, with the judge deeming him “80% to blame.”

According to an article in the Eastern Daily Press, 

Mr MacLean had given Mr Ahmed false confidence in his abilities despite warning signs that the hill would be too much for him.

Finding the instructor 80pc to blame, the judge said he had “failed to carry out his tuition with reasonable skill and care.”

Having already been slowly down the hill once, Mr Ahmed was sent down again and Mr MacLean “encouraged him to do so at speed.”

Mr Ahmed, the judge ruled, was 20pc responsible for his own misfortune in failing to raise doubts about his own abilities.

As an adult with some biking experience, he had not “abdicated complete responsibility for his own safety” to Mr MacLean.

He may also have felt “peer pressure” from other students to head down the toughest part of the hill, rather than take an easier “chicken route.”

At this time it’s not completely clear how much of the £4 million amount the paralyzed student will receive, although current estimates put the payout amount at over £3 million, or $3,777,750 USD at current exchange rates.

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# Comments

  • l3eaudacious

    Don’t you sign paperwork admitting your are ultimately responsible for your own care? Peer pressure is a valid defense for an full grown Adult? That’s the UK nanny state. Also where did they pull that number from? Is he the 1% of bike instructors?

    “Mr Ahmed was sent down again” . No. Mr Ahmed as an Adult willingly went down a hill, thinking his $4-6k full squish Specialized made him “Pro”.

    Most of these instructional groups are full of people trying to skip ahead, and not put in the base miles. No control, no balance, no endurance, yet instead of learning how to walk, they’re trying to run down hills as if they’ve been ridding for 10 years.

  • Maureen Gaffney

    Well damn it. I sorta thought that over across the pond they had a better developed sense of the personal responsibility that Jim references above. Our litigious nature is one thing we don’t need catching on in other parts of the world. I remember my first time in Greece. We were wanting to rent motobikes on Corfu. My brother rode one around the parking lot, said to the owner “The brakes are terrible!” to which the owner replied “Yeah! The brakes are terrible! You be careful.” We could learn a thing or two.

  • bikerboy13

    Messed up.. how could it be the instructor’s fault.. totally screwed up..

  • pgclydesdale

    This kind of litigation is something that will close trails to bikes. The threat of liability will scare landowners into prohibiting cycling.

  • tjdog800

    As a coach for a high school MTB team, this gives me pause… should I be encouraging new riders into this sport or is it too dangerous (For Me!) to do so?

  • chr181v3

    1. Dafuq?
    2. I do feel bad for the paralyzed individual.
    3. Hope he has insurance on the business
    4. That’s what brakes are for.

  • dpb1997

    The UK is now beyond political correctness. It might change with the exit from Europe…? That said, Canada is just as bad.

    This ruling is insane and the legal system has failed to rule a fair judgement. Undergoing training for mountain biking is by default a person’s acknowledgement of their limited skill sets. The person on the bike has to make the right decision, regardless of peer pressure or encouragement of others. The ultimate choice is the rider’s. The court got it wrong – 95% rider error/poor judgement and 5% the instructor, since they can advise but not make the final choice. I hope there was liability insurance in place and thus the insurance will contest and get a lower penalty.

    I sincerely wish Mr. Ahmed well. No biking brother or sister deserves such bad luck.

  • Twiddles

    I suspect there is more to this than is covered in the article. Couple comments about the “chicken route” etc. Lead me to think this may have been a case of a much more experienced rider pressuring his student into doing something he didnt have the skillset for. Yes personal responsibility is important but when you take on the mantle of instructor you have a responsibility to those you teach to keep train them properly. A lot of high risk activities have stuff like this happen and its not always the fault of the student when things go wrong.

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