I had an accident in October on my scooter. I was taken out when he pulled out from a side road into me. I tried to brake but it really was too late to do anything. I had left leg injuries but fortunately nothing too serious. My solicitor is telling me that his insurer wants to take off 25% of my compensation because I wasn’t wearing protective boots. They say my injuries would have been less serious. Is this right?
Ian Haynes, by e-mail
This is not right, no. Bikers are legally required to wear helmets. There is nothing requiring bikers to wear protective clothing such as gloves, boots, jackets or trousers. The Highway Code advises that ‘strong boots, gloves and suitable clothing may help to protect you if you are involved in a collision’. The Highway Code does not say it will protect you which is partly the reason there is no legal requirement for riders to wear protective jackets, trousers, gloves or boots. This advisory guidance is not compulsory.
There is currently no statutory obligation to wear protective boots whilst riding and as such a rider cannot be held to be in breach of a law that does not exist. Further, I know of no court decisions (judicial precedent) that states that a rider can have his compensation reduced for the lack of protective boots. What the insurer is trying to do in your case is apply the law relating to seat belts worn by car drivers. In such cases there can be a 25% or 15% reduction in compensation depending on whether a seatbelt was worn and the difference it would have made.