Published: 00:01, 10 April 2014
A young man who sued Halfords for up to £1 million after he was left disfigured in a cycling accident has had his compensation hopes dashed.
A High Court judge said it was with “great regret” that he dismissed the claim.
Joseph Love, of Valley Drive, Gravesend, was 19 when he suffered appalling facial injuries after coming off his Saracen Raw 2 mountain bike.
He smashed into a crash barrier while cycling with a friend along a footpath next to the A2 from Bluewater to Gravesend.
The 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.
Mr Love’s lawyers claimed the bike was “unsafe” when he bought it and that the February 2009 crash was caused by a faulty steering tube fracturing and breaking in two.
However, after hearing expert evidence, Judge Sir Colin Mackay ruled there was probably nothing wrong with the bike when Mr Love bought it for £250 from Halfords, Dartford, in May 2008.
The judge said the tube probably fractured while Mr Love was “riding too fast” to catch up with his friend ahead of him and lost concentration so that he hit one of a row of metal posts.
He concluded: “I am obliged, with great regret because of the severity of this young man’s injuries, to dismiss this claim.”
“I am obliged, with great regret because of the severity of this young man’s injuries, to dismiss this claim" - Judge Sir Colin Mackay
The court heard Mr Love, now 24, had spent three months in hospital after a serious cycling accident when he was eight but resumed his hobby after recovering.
Mr Love had ridden the Raw 2 to and from work daily, as well as weekend off-road forays into Cobham Park Woods.
Mr Love insisted he had never had an accident on the bike, nor attempted repair, nor lent it to anyone.
But the judge said the bike had been built by a highly regarded manufacturer who supplied up to 200,000 bikes a year to Halfords and concluded the tube was not defective when supplied.
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