Young cyclist, Kadian Harding suffered fatal injuries after colliding with a van in Wiltshire on 25 July last year. He was unable to stop while riding downhill just hours after taking the bicycle to a repair shop to have the brakes checked. The bicycle was travelling between 25 mph and 30 mph as it sped onto the A4 at Clatford. Unfortunately Kadian Harding suffered serious brain injuries and died at the scene as a result of the collision with the oncoming white Mercedes Van, an Inquest heard.
Mr Harding, Kadian’s father told an Inquest that two days prior his son’s brakes were “functioning” but “not optimal”. The cycle shop owner who saw the teenager on the day of his death said there was no mention of the brakes in general and that he was only asked to look over the gears and the rear brakes.
The Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Mr David Ridley recorded a narrative verdict at the Inquest in Salisbury on 30 April 2013. In summing up he said “the forces applied to the brake pads were not sufficient when pulling the levers to generate a locking of the wheel when fully applied as to generate a skid at any point over the remainder of the path or into the road.”
The Sale of Goods and Services Act 1982 implies into all contracts of work and services that the work will be carried out with reasonable care and skill, in a reasonable time and for a reasonable charge. Repairs to goods where parts are replaced, as in this case, is an example of services provided (with goods) and is unsurprisingly governed by the Act. However, the rights of the consumer and the liabilities of the business are not always clear when things go wrong.
Though the onus is on the consumer to prove that the service provided was not to the appropriate standard, service providers cannot limit or exclude their liability if the breach caused physical injury or death. A case like this only serves to highlight the importance of having bikes thoroughly checked before they are first ridden. Further, that the services provided by bicycle repair shops and retailers need to be of a certain standard so as to avoid these “complete catastrophic failures” from happening again.
Mr Ridley stated that he intends to write to an accident prevention charity following the tragic death of 14-year-old Kadian and moving forward seeks to raise awareness of getting bicycles comprehensively checked before they are deemed roadworthy.
Paul Kitson said: “This tragic case highlights the importance of mechanics ensuring that they carry out all servicing and repairs to bicycles thoroughly. Riding a bike without fully functional brakes can have devastating consequences.”