Published: 00:01, 27 March 2014
A teenager left disfigured in a cycling accident is suing Halfords for up to £1m in damages – claiming they sold him a ‘defective’ bike.
Joseph Love was 19 when he suffered appalling facial injuries after coming off his Saracen Raw 2 mountain bike and smashing into a crash barrier.
The Vietnamese-made bike had been assembled and inspected by Halfords’ staff when he bought it, less than a year before his accident, and had been through a full service, which did not reveal any faults.
But his lawyers claim the bike was ‘unsafe’ when he bought it and the crash was caused by a faulty steering tube fracturing and breaking in two.
Now 24, Mr Love, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, is suing the retail giant, claiming his life has been wrecked by the accident.
Halfords denies liability, insisting the bike must have been damaged at some point before the crash, causing the steering tube to become weakened.
James Medd, for Halfords, said something must have happened to the bike between the point of sale and the accident and attacked the expert evidence put forward by Joseph’s legal team as “deeply flawed”.
The crash happened shortly before 6pm on February 28, 2009, when Mr Love was riding with a friend along a footpath next to the A2 from Bluewater shopping centre to Gravesend.
The steering tube suffered a sudden failure and his head hit a metal pole supporting a crash barrier.
Mr Love’s lawyers told the court that he bought the mid-range mountain bike for £250 from the Dartford branch of Halfords in May 2008 and it was assembled and inspected by staff.
They said that the only work Mr Love carried out on the bike was to fit mudguards and lights within weeks of buying it and it underwent a full service at Halfords in August of the same year.
Gerard Martin QC, for Mr Love, said his use of the bike had been “without mishap or incident” from the day he bought it to the date of his accident.
He added: “The marketing literature for the Saracen Raw 2 bicycle is such as to lead an ordinary person to assume that fairly robust riding is to be expected –eg ‘give the trails a kicking’”.
Mr Martin said the evidence put forward on behalf of Halfords, suggesting the bike had been damaged before the crash, was “weak and unconvincing”.
He added: “This bicycle was defective at the point of sale; defective within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, in that the safety of the bicycle was not such as persons generally are entitled to expect.”
The High Court hearing continues.
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