A Greenwich solicitor who was paralysed after a crash at a beginners’ mountain bike has won his High Court action for damages.
The figure will be decided at a later date but is likely to be in excess of £3million.
Asif Ahmed, 47, of Greenwich High Road, was a fit man and went to the gym three or four times a week. He had owned a mountain bike for 12 years but felt he was a novice so paid £79 for six hours of tuition in Surrey in March 2012.
As he cycled down a steep slope on Holmbury Hill known as "Barry Knows Best" his front wheel jammed on a grassy mound. He went over the handlebars and landed on his spine.
Although the judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker, said Mr Ahmed, a senior lawyer for Philip Ross Solicitors, was partly to blame – he should have known he was out of his depth – he also concluded that instructor Leon MacLean, of Norwich, was liable. He had failed to take reasonable skill and care and failed to assess Mr Ahmed’s skill level before take out the class. Mr Maclean denied liability.
Mr MacLean, a former primary school teacher with a “passion for mountain biking” was not “a reckless or authoritian individual”.
But the judge ruled that he was negligent in “encouraging” Mr Ahmed to ride “at speed” down the sharp slope without first assessing his biking skills.
Mr MacLean was an “enthusiastic, easy-going” teacher, who had “a tendency to be over-optimistic” about some students’ abilities.
The judge acknowledged the “considerable dignity” shown by Mr Ahmed who attended the trial in a wheelchair and that his adverse findings about Mr MacLean’s tuition related to a course which took place over four years ago.
He said: “I am aware that since then the defendant has continued to provide mountain bike instruction and training, and have no reason to believe that he has done so in anything but a satisfactory manner.”