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Nothing wrong with bike when it was bought, court finds

A High Court judge has dismissed “with regret” a £1 million lawsuit brought against Halfords by a Gravesend cyclist who suffered permanent facial disfigurement when he crashed his bike – caused, he claimed, by a faulty steerer tube that snapped.

Joseph Love, now aged 24, sustained the injuries when he fell head first into a crash barrier on a footpath alongside the A2 between Bluewater and Gravesend, reports Kent Online.

He had bought his Saracen Raw 2 mountain bike from Halfords the previous year, and his lawyers had argued that the steerer tube was defective when he acquired it.

But after hearing from expert witnesses, Judge Sir Colin Mackay found that it was probable that there was nothing wrong with the bike when it was bought in May 2008.

It had been assembled and checked by staff at Halfords, and had also been through a service, with no trace of a defect found.

The judge said he believed the steerer tube snapped after the cyclist, then aged 19, hit a row of posts because he lost his concentration while “riding too fast” to make up ground on his friend.

He added: “I am obliged, with great regret because of the severity of this young man’s injuries, to dismiss this claim.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

18 comments

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jmaccelari [237 posts] 1 year ago
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Sounds like a fair judgement with the facts presented. If you hit something, I think it's fair to expect something to break, possibly catastrophically...

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geargrinderbeard [87 posts] 1 year ago
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"Nothing wrong with bike when it was bought, court finds"

Apart from the fact it was a halfords bike in the first place #bikesnob

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anarchy [99 posts] 1 year ago
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is that #bike snob or #bikes nob?

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bikebot [1628 posts] 1 year ago
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geargrinderbeard wrote:

Apart from the fact it was a halfords bike in the first place #bikesnob

Careful now, you'll have that Boardman chap turning up at your door to have a word.

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Dalai Farmer [3 posts] 1 year ago
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If it was defective when purchased isn't it more of Saracen's fault???

As stated the steerer tube was not perfect, even though Halfords put it together (which is never a good thing!) the fault was caused in the Saracen factory.

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Gizmo_ [1332 posts] 1 year ago
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Dalai Farmer wrote:

If it was defective when purchased isn't it more of Saracen's fault???

As stated the steerer tube was not perfect, even though Halfords put it together (which is never a good thing!) the fault was caused in the Saracen factory.

Suggest you look up the terms of the Sale of Goods Act.

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bikebot [1628 posts] 1 year ago
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Dalai Farmer wrote:

If it was defective when purchased isn't it more of Saracen's fault???

British law holds the retailer responsible for defects at the point of sale. The retailer may then in turn have a case against the manufacturer or wholesaler they purchased it from.

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DoctorDee [9 posts] 1 year ago
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FFS, people should just accept responsibility for their own actions. "I wasn't paying attention and crashed, who can I blame?"

Not sure what riding "too fast" means though.

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Paul_C [393 posts] 1 year ago
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I would have sued the designers and installers of the crash barrier for it being so unforgiving on the pedestrian path side... so often there's just the upright sharp edged pillars on the path side while the nice smooth side is facing the carriageway.

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Simmo72 [583 posts] 1 year ago
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Paul_C, that is one of the most sensible things I've seen for some time. I was pondering the same thought the other day whilst cycling along a cycle path littered with glass and rubbish -ironically whilst seeing a road sweeper go past - and thinking the pain caused by falling on the what is essentially a very large limb severing blade.

I also love the planning that goes into building a cycle path, then plonking a series of bloody great big sign posts and concrete bases right in the middle of the path. Slow down I hear some cry, but the idea of a bike is you are using it to go quicker than walking.

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mikem22 [21 posts] 1 year ago
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There is some very sniffy comments about the ability of Halfords mechanics on here. In their defence they supported a London to Paris ride I took part in last year and the mech guys were awesome. Some of the running repairs they made for a party of 300 or so riders were fantastic. It may not be a cool standpoint but I was impressed by their ability... and this from someone who has a background in assembling and maintaining bikes.

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DaveE128 [389 posts] 1 year ago
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mikem22 wrote:

There is some very sniffy comments about the ability of Halfords mechanics on here. In their defence they supported a London to Paris ride I took part in last year and the mech guys were awesome. Some of the running repairs they made for a party of 300 or so riders were fantastic. It may not be a cool standpoint but I was impressed by their ability... and this from someone who has a background in assembling and maintaining bikes.

I'm sure they have some good mechanics. But in my experience, and that of every one else I know that has dealt with them, they have some truly incompetent ones too. I had to sort out a bike for a mate that was bought there. brake blocks rubbing the tyres when applied is a serious, dangerous fault that they should have spotted and sorted.

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shay cycles [315 posts] 1 year ago
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I would have thought that "too fast" means faster than a speed where, given the prevailing conditions, you can stay properly in control (and for example avoid hitting a series of postas).

I feel heartfully sorry for the injured party but I think the judgement was fair.

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hampstead_bandit [585 posts] 1 year ago
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similar case to that brought against ATB Sales Ltd. some years ago

rider had crashed causing life changing injuries, after handlebar failed on Marin bike several years old

rider did win that case, as it could not proved whether a defective handlebar caused the crash, or the handlebar failed as a result of the crash

judge ruled in the rider's favour, and bike industry insurers took sharp notice of that outcome (reported to be several £million)

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Lost faith in t... [116 posts] 1 year ago
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hampstead_bandit wrote:

similar case to that brought against ATB Sales Ltd. some years ago

rider had crashed causing life changing injuries, after handlebar failed on Marin bike several years old

rider did win that case, as it could not proved whether a defective handlebar caused the crash, or the handlebar failed as a result of the crash

judge ruled in the rider's favour, and bike industry insurers took sharp notice of that outcome (reported to be several £million)

thats not the whole story, there was more to it than that.....

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 1 year ago
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bikebot wrote:
Dalai Farmer wrote:

If it was defective when purchased isn't it more of Saracen's fault???

British law holds the retailer responsible for defects at the point of sale.

"British" law?

 39

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Leviathan [1773 posts] 1 year ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

"British" law?

 39

Yesss.

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Colin Peyresourde [1636 posts] 1 year ago
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DoctorDee wrote:

Not sure what riding "too fast" means though.

Not sure either, but I think Peter Sagan did it the other day at the 3 days of de Panne