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Biker sues Northam council for unsigned road - and wins!

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  • Biker sues Northam council for unsigned road - and wins!

    Clicky

    A 49-year-old man has won a $225,000 payout after he blamed the Shire of Northam for a 2004 crash when he rode his Harley-Davidson motorcycle off a winding country road while doing about 100km/h.
    A District Court judge awarded the money to Shane Kerslake, who was in hospital for four weeks after the Jennapullin Road crash with injures to his shoulder, ribs and left leg.
    Lawyers argued the shire failed to warn motorists of a bend with a sign.
    Mr Kerslake's lawyers claimed the shire did not put a 60km/h speed limit sign before the bend, neglected to alert motorists to reduce their speed because of sharp curves and failed to adequately warn of the presence of a sharp, right-hand bend.
    The shire alleged Mr Kerslake was guilty of contributory negligence in the October 9 crash by riding at 110km/h in a manner which was "in all the circumstances inherently dangerous" on a winding road and ignoring earlier signs indicating a curved S-bend.
    It argued there were adequate warnings and Mr Kerslake failed to take proper care for his own safety.
    The court was told Mr Kerslake, who had been riding with 70 members of the Eastern Hills Motorcycle Club on the day of the crash, saw corners on the same road which were "not as sharp as the crash bend" marked with 60km/h signs. There was a "winding road" sign before the bend but Mr Kerslake said it had been in shade at the time of the accident.
    Mr Kerslake, who had owned 26 motorcycles and had been riding most of his life, testified that he did not see the bend until he was "on it or in it".
    He lost control of his motorcycle and remembered "waking up in agony with pain all over his body".
    Judge Andrew Stavrianou found the risk from the bend was not obvious and the shire breached the duty of care it owed to Mr Kerslake.
    "The inadequate guideposts and the characteristics of the (special use) sign, including its placement and the fact there was no 60 speed sign at all, created a risk to road users," he said. "The risk was foreseeable."
    Judge Stavrianou found Mr Kerslake 25 per cent responsible for the crash and reduced his initial payout from $300,000 to $225,000.
    The payout was based on general damages, past and future loss of earnings and future medical treatment.
    Mr Kerslake still suffers pain and has not worked since the accident.
    Experts testified that a safe speed for that section of road was 55km/h.
    The shire put up a 60km/h sign in July 2005.
    Mr Kerslake and the Northam shire declined to comment.
    Originally posted by vk6hgr
    My Hyosung couldn't do that speed if it was dropped in from orbit.

  • #2
    Sounds like bollocks to me. Those advisory signs are usually good for at least 40km/h on top of whatever they say. So if it's a 60km/h bend, 100 would be fine, though if he was riding a HD at the time, I suppose this changes things, but for someone with as much alleged riding experience as he had, I would have thought he should have known better.

    If he was riding with 70 others, and they managed to make the turn, it sounds like he should have simply been paying attention to the road and the other members of the ride.

    "waking up in agony with pain all over his body". Hmmm... I wonder what sort of gear he was wearing?

    Having said all of that, I have not riden that road or even seen the corner, so I can't really say.

    TL;DR? Ride to conditions.
    Filbert on Moto Guzzis;
    Originally posted by filbert
    it's like a ducati with the motor put in sideways for people who are too scared of the power of harley davidsons

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    • #3
      ^^^^^Not having a go at you ,but, don't you think all the points you've mentioned have already been thought of before ruling the case in his favour? So, if the guy or his lawyers have been able to come up with a counter arguement, I guess there is some justice to this case.

      Originally posted by Drasius View Post
      but for someone with as much alleged riding experience as he had, I would have thought he should have known better.


      "waking up in agony with pain all over his body". Hmmm... I wonder what sort of gear he was wearing?
      If you go through some of the threads, you might find a few about people who've come off their bikes. Some have gotten away with small injuries and some have had some real bad ones. These guys were wearing all their gears and were experienced riders as well. But still they had an accident. I guess experience has nothing to do with an accident. It happens to the best of us.

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      • #4
        I feel for the guy and all, but really if your unsure of the road, do you belt along it at 110Km/hr?

        Its incidences like these that force police to be more vigilant of motorcyclists, Councils to instal more traffic control devices and generally fuck it all up for the rest of us.

        He had an accident, he was acting negligently, it is his fault he came off. I dont really think northam council has $225 000 to splash around (or more likely can afford the increase in permiums for their insurance) and in the end of the day this sort of stuff hurts the everyday road user.

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        • #5
          Who was his legal team?
          It has a dual purpose. ~ Tom Smitheringale

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          • #6
            Good on him, why should a person be responsibe for his own actions ?
            Welcome to the USA and the litagious society we are moving into.
            By the way if you flame me for this post you will be hearing from my lawyer for defamation of character.

            Bertt
            It's better to be thought stupid than open your mouth and remove all doubt

            Pure speed in sixth gear on a 5,000 foot straightaway is one thing, but pure speed in third gear on a gravel-strewn, downhill, ess turn is quite another.
            Hunter S. Thompson

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            • #7
              There was a "winding road" sign before the bend but Mr Kerslake said it had been in shade at the time of the accident.

              God is next on his list.
              They hung a sign up in our town "If you live it up, you won't live it down"-Tom Waits

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              • #8
                maybe now he can purchase a bike that can corner and he won't make the same mistake, unfortunately it reflects badly on other road users through reduced speed zones, etc.

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                • #9
                  not long now before the total Nana state transformation is complete... Next will be no swimming signs at all beaches... I'm surprised he wasn't at home using his hair dryer in the shower...
                  sigpic
                  http://www.caschibye.it/page/curiosita.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Drasius View Post
                    Sounds like bollocks to me. Those advisory signs are usually good for at least 40km/h on top of whatever they say. So if it's a 60km/h bend, 100 would be fine, though if he was riding a HD at the time, I suppose this changes things, but for someone with as much alleged riding experience as he had, I would have thought he should have known better.
                    At least 40 over? On what bike, and under what conditions?

                    From now on, every time someone goes down on a group ride where others didn't are we going to start abusing them and telling them to learn to fucking ride? I think we should make a rule of the abuse only coming from people who didn't see what the conditions were at the time, and don't even know where oe how the accident occured... For balance.

                    I could say he may have been at the front of the group, which would explain why all of the others were able to negotiate the corner safely... Riders generally tend to slow down and then stop when they see one of their own is injured. But that would all be mere speculation.

                    Originally posted by BERT View Post
                    Good on him, why should a person be responsibe for his own actions ?
                    In this case, the courts have determined that he was partially at fault. As a result, his payout was cut. Losing that kind of money with injuries that have been making it hard to work all these years later does sound like being made to take accountability for his actions... At very least to the extent that the court determined he was responsible.

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                    • #11
                      The council should counter sue for riding a Harley, a bike that can't corner.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ryven View Post
                        From now on, every time someone goes down on a group ride where others didn't are we going to start abusing them and telling them to learn to fucking ride?
                        No, but we can expect them to take responsibility for their own damn actions.

                        Anyone who rides in an incautious manner (*cough*spirited*cough*) accepts that their actions may result in their getting totally fucked up.

                        If you can't see what the corner's like, you slow down and ride it a time or two before you take on faith that you'll be alright taking it at a certain speed. Even when you're familiar with a corner, you're taking the risk of gravel/roadkill/whatever.

                        Would I have sympathy for a fallen rider, you're damn right I would, I've come off, and everyone here was really helpful.

                        But I have very little resect for someone who tries to put the blame on someone else because they failed to protect him from himself - that's why we're getting a nanny state, and that's why it pisses me off.
                        Originally posted by Dragunov-21
                        If you want me to answer a question, I want you to ask one that doesn't put words in my mouth that were never there.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dragunov-21 View Post
                          If you can't see what the corner's like, you slow down and ride it a time or two before you take on faith that you'll be alright taking it at a certain speed.
                          Does that mean that if you think you can see what the corner is like, you can take on faith that you'll be alright taking it at a certain speed, rather than slowing down?
                          Originally posted by Melkor
                          The Saint is all over the answer like a Saint on a cupcake.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cocksnogger2 View Post
                            Does that mean that if you think you can see what the corner is like, you can take on faith that you'll be alright taking it at a certain speed, rather than slowing down?
                            Not at all. I guess it's all about figuring out what your max risk threshold is. Personally I don't think I'll ever try and push my limits on the road even when I get some experience, especially since the best local roads here can often be full of horse floats, and bogans in utes.

                            That's just me, but my point is that taking a turn hard before you can see the end of it is pretty stupid, which becomes even worse when it's a corner you're unfamiliar with, and not something you should be able to blame on the council.
                            Originally posted by Dragunov-21
                            If you want me to answer a question, I want you to ask one that doesn't put words in my mouth that were never there.

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                            • #15
                              what a dick. Should take responsibility for his own actions. If he can't ride stay off bikes.
                              Atlas Performance, dyna pumps, " your name goes here"

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