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Horse muck hazard

I was riding through a village near my mum’s house when I came to a bend and there was horse poo in lumps and spread over the road where the cars had driven through it. After about another 150 metres the traffic in front of me had stopped. There was a group of horses and riders on the road which we had to wait until they went down another lane. I was wondering if I came off my bike because of horse poo would I be able to claim compensation from the horse riders?

Luke Stevens, Herts



In order to successfully bring a claim you would need to establish (i) that the horse rider responsible owed you a duty of care; (ii) that by failing to clean up the mess, the rider breached that duty; (iii) that breach caused you loss (i.e. injury, and/or damage to your vehicle); and (iv) that the loss caused was not too remote.

I think it is reasonably foreseeable that manure on a bend would cause a hazard to road users, particularly motorcyclists. However, I would expect the rider to contest any claim on the basis that you couldn’t prove whose horse was responsible and that this is a peril of countryside driving.

Unlike with dogs, horse owners have no legal requirement to clean up their animals’ mess. However, section 161 of the Highways Act 1980, makes it an offence to deposit anything whatsoever on a highway that injures/endangers other road users. You would still face the problem of not being able to identify the rider responsible.



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