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Photo: Roo Fowler, Youtube

Photo: Roo Fowler, Youtube

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Update:

The mountain bike skills instructor has been found 80% liable in this case, and is expected to pay £3 million in damages.

See Also
By Greg Heil
 
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Original Article:

A mountain bike skills instructor in the UK is being sued for £4 million ($4.9 million USD) by a student that was paralyzed during a mountain bike skills lesson in 2012. The plaintiff, Asif Ahmed, claims that the instructor, Leon MacLean, “used a ‘lazy form of teaching’ or that ‘his instruction on this occasion was woefully inadequate,'” according to The Telegraph.

The accident happened when Ahmed’s front wheel was suddenly stopped by “what looked like a clumpy, grassy piece of ground.” According to The Telegraph, “he came off his bike head first over the handlebars and impacted on the front of his head, just above the forehead.” The article doesn’t mention whether or not he was wearing a helmet.

According to the plaintiff,

“A mountain bike rider who is on a course for beginners and is a novice should not be catastrophically injured in the first 75 minutes of an introductory training course.

“A novice rider on a first training course should expect the instructor to pick the terrain, to pick the course, to pick the method of training so the risk is minimised, so this accident should not have occurred.

“The accident occurred because of defective instruction and defective teaching.”

However, the article goes on to say that Ahmed actually had over 12 years of mountain bike experience, and successfully rode this trail one time before attempting to ride it a second time. However, according to the defendant, on both attempts Ahmed rode the wrong portion of the trail, against his instructions.

According to the defendant, “Mr Ahmed “knew that he could walk when he wanted to’ and that ‘he was under no pressure to undertake anything which he thought was beyond him.”

Read the full article here, and check out a video from the trail, below:

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# Comments

  • triton189

    No willingness to accept personal responsibility anymore! Drives me nuts. Every time I get on my bike I know I am taking a risk that I will injure myself. Don’t even get me started on Lawyers.

    • mongwolf

      Triton, if the facts are near to what has been presented thus far, I think this is likely more deviant than a “willingness to accept personal responsibility”. This is likely an abuse of the system to gouge the system for personal gain. But time will tell … and hopefully truth will be made known … though in this day and age that is less and less common.

    • mongwolf

      But Triton you are so right about knowing one is taking a risk. I think this is a good moment to again emphasize the importance of precautions as mountain bikers. Of course not riding alone is one of the very best precautions one can take, but I ride alone a lot. It’s not because I don’t like people. My job is all about people. But I need my time alone, and I find nothing more gratifying and refreshing than being alone on a challenging mountain. But that said, there are large inherent risks with that. One must take appropriate measures and also be willing to accept the most undesirable outcomes. A few of the minimum measures I take in my setting (none bike related) include extra water, basic first aid materials and knowledge, fire starting materials, and back up source protein that could sustain me for days (assuming I could access additional water).

  • Jeff Barber

    I wonder if the instructor is covered under any kind of insurance? Even if an appropriate form of insurance is available to MTB skills instructors, it probably isn’t cheap.

    • Joel DH

      That is a really good point. However, would the lawsuit be against him, or would his insurance company handle it? Is there insurance for MTB instructors? You’d think there would be…everybody in a profession like that has to nowadays.

    • RydingMountains

      There is insurance for mountain bike intructors and tour companies, I have sold it to a few people and made a proposal to one of the bigger companies out there. The price would depend on the gross revenue of the company per year and of course claim free record! Most people will have something if there even half smart. The price in the states is also significantly cheaper for this liability then in Canada. In this situation if he has bought it then the insurance company would have an obligation to defend him unless it was found he was operating in breach of the contract!

  • Joel DH

    I agree with all the above comments, especially the one from triton189. I can’t believe some of the ridiculous lawsuits out there. If that guy who got paralyzed wins, I really may get sick.

  • hproctor

    Regardless of the outcome, this case could impact the cost of instructional camps worldwide.

  • mongwolf

    That’s what I was thinking HP. I’m guessing this is a game changer even though the plaintiff appears to be abusing the system. One FB commenter above makes a statement about the need to sign waivers. Waivers oftentimes mean nothing in the court of law … sad to say.

  • habakak

    OMG! What awesome trail system. I wish we had more of that fast and flowy stuff around where I live. It just looks so awesome!

  • stumpyfsr

    Feel sorry for a guy to get paralyzed on that easy, beginner friendly, trail, but it can happen to anyone anywhere.
    Yet it’s not a reason to ruin instructor’s life because he can’t be responsible for his own mistakes.

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