Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Lox
Posts: 20
Joined: 26 Aug 2020, 8:59pm

Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Lox » 26 Aug 2020, 9:23pm

As I was cycling to work at 5:30(it was still darkish) I was heading down a single track road next to a farm when I saw bail twine streched across the road at handlebar height,I didn't evan have time to break I hit it around 20mph and crashed, farmer helped me up explained it was for his cows so they didn't turn into the road and he tied a piece of plastic on to it to make it visable.

As I was late for work by now and just left as it was still darkish I could not see the damage to my bike or my water proof gear I had on. My brake levers need replacing as there bent out of shape along with a few other bits basically think I'm out of pocket by around 300 quid.

I decided to go see the farmer after work, cuts and bruises I can handle but with 3 kids 300 quid can't do it, explained how I felt and asked him to make it right , he agreed at first but then his family suggested half because it was half my fault for not seeing it, I must of been going to fast, not looking, bike light wasn't good enough.

I could see then how it was going to play out so rather than start a row I decided to ask for help finding my bike light which snapped off during the crash and go. Now I need you're opinion on where to take it.. do I call cops? Go back and try to reason with him, take the offer as you think it's fair
Thanks
Last edited by Graham on 26 Aug 2020, 9:29pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Title & layout

iandusud
Posts: 517
Joined: 26 Mar 2018, 1:35pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby iandusud » 26 Aug 2020, 9:52pm

So sorry to hear what happened to you. In my mind what the farmer did was highly irresponsible and he had no right to tie a string across a public right of way and is therefore liable for the consequences of your crash. However proving it with no witnesses could be problematic. Are you a Cycling UK member? If so you should contact them for legal advice.

DevonDamo
Posts: 417
Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby DevonDamo » 26 Aug 2020, 10:15pm

Lox wrote:...Now I need you're opinion on where to take it.. do I call cops? Go back and try to reason with him, take the offer as you think it's fair
Thanks


If he's left a string tied across a public road unattended, then I'd put a lot of money on him being fully liable for any damage caused - provided it can be proven. In terms of what you do next: the one thing you absolutely need is evidence that he did it. If you had camera footage of the incident and your subsequent discussion with him, that would be job done. Failing that, you could try and be sneaky and record any follow-up discussions with him. You're allowed to record in public places so, for example, you could suggest he meet you at the site of the incident to continue negotiations, and leave a cam running there. Slightly less sneaky would be to try and engage him in written dialogue about the incident - so long as you've got a letter or email from him where he acknowledges that he did it, then you're sorted.

You only need to notify the police of road accidents if there's been an injury. This is a bit different as he wasn't in a vehicle himself, and the police might be interested in the fact that he's obstructed the road in a dangerous way. You'd have nothing to lose in notifying them, but the most likely outcome is that they don't come out - so you're best off cracking on with securing the evidence that he did it straight away.

Once you've got that evidence, you'd have to give him an ultimatum about coughing up the full amount and then pursue him through the civil courts if he doesn't. You could go straight to a no-win-no-fee solicitor, or do it yourself. In the latter case, the following web-page would be a good place to start:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/small-claims/deciding-whether-to-make-a-small-claim/

In reality, the best and most achievable outcome is for you to persuade him to cough up without going to court. To do this, you'd need to persuade him that it's the right thing to do and/or that he hasn't got a leg to stand on. The former is all about your communications skills - patiently explaining to them that you didn't see the rope and it was unsafe/illegal for him to have it tied across a public road. The latter is about making him understand that you're not going to give up and if they fight you it will cost them a lot more. You can find good examples online (e.g. citizens advice bureau) of letters which are effective at putting the wind up people in such circumstances. The key is always to throw in a couple of key phrases to signify that you're preparing to go down the legal route (e.g. heading any letters with 'without prejudice') but also making those letters very brief, factual and completely devoid of any emotional hysteria - just saying what you expect and by when.

PH
Posts: 9535
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby PH » 26 Aug 2020, 10:20pm

I wouldn't accept it, I would report it whether the farmer agreed to pay in full or not.
To me it's an act of absolute stupidity.

Lox
Posts: 20
Joined: 26 Aug 2020, 8:59pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Lox » 26 Aug 2020, 10:31pm

Hi thanks for your reply, that's how I feel, shouldn't of been there in the first place. No I'm not a member of cycling UK unfortunalty. Went there trying to be reasonable so as not to get him in trouble I have a friend who owns a working farm so know how tough it can be....dilemma.

Lox
Posts: 20
Joined: 26 Aug 2020, 8:59pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Lox » 26 Aug 2020, 10:39pm

Cheers for your informative replys guys much appreciated. I have picture of the offending twine as it's just tied to the gate in on the other side for next time he uses it, but no footage of the incident, so as you say it's his word v mine.

Cowsham
Posts: 722
Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Cowsham » 26 Aug 2020, 10:55pm

Where were the rest of his family when he needed someone to help him guide the cattle? Why do they feel justified saying you should pay half for the farm being entirely at fault ?

That camera's getting ordered tonight! Farmers seem to make a habit of promising one thing and doing the complete opposite. I've only known one decent one who was fortunately insured when one of his cows stepped out onto the road in front of my car and did £2000 of damage. He did want the cheapest of 3 quotes which was a load of hassle to get but the insurance paid out OK.

Eyebrox
Posts: 338
Joined: 5 Aug 2015, 8:56pm
Location: Ayrshire

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Eyebrox » 26 Aug 2020, 11:38pm

This will stand up in court if you can get neighbours to confirm the rope is a regular fixture.

peetee
Posts: 2470
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby peetee » 26 Aug 2020, 11:47pm

PH wrote:I wouldn't accept it, I would report it whether the farmer agreed to pay in full or not.
To me it's an act of absolute stupidity.


This.
Your damages are bad enough, the results of a motorcyclist colliding with the twine at 40+mph don’t bear thinking about.
Taking legal action against him is probably the most effective way of preventing this happening again with more serious consequences.
I would not let the lack of footage put me off pursuing this. It’s difficult to imagine the presence of the twine on one post could be inspiration enough for creating a fictitious story such as you have described so I doubt the validity of your claim will be questioned.
Current status report:
Back on two wheels in deepest Pastyland and loving every minute. Mission: to enjoy big, bad hills again.

slowster
Posts: 1686
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby slowster » 27 Aug 2020, 12:55am

A few comments:

1. The farmer probably has public liability insurance cover, because I am pretty sure it's normal for farmers to have a combined insurance policy which covers farm buildings, livestock, farm machinery, employers' liability and public liability, most likely with NFU Mutual who insure most farmers. Although he might initially want to settle the matter privately without notifying his insurer, I expect that might well change if and when you make a formal claim using the small claims procedure, and that at that point he would pass the matter to his insurer, who would probably be better/easier for you to deal with.

2. There is a lot of case law about road users hitting poorly signed/lit hazards placed in the road and consquent legal liability for resulting damage and injury, and specifically about what is and is not adequate signage and lighting. A piece of plastic tied to the twine is so far below what would be required that if the farmer admits to doing that to his insurer/solicitor, or you have good evidence that that is what he did even if he tries to deny it, then it will not go to court because he would inevitably lose, and instead his insurer/solicitor would enter into negotiation over how much to pay you (quantum), rather than dispute liability.

3. If the farmer changes his story and denies tying the twine across the road, then the matter will be decided by a court on the balance of probabilities, or put crudely which of you they think is most likely to be lying. So gather whatever evidence you can, including photographs of the damage to your bike and any injuries. Take a camera as well on your future commutes, and if you find the twine across the road again take photographs with a date stamp. Even if you don't see the twine in place again, take photographs in daylight of where it happened.

4. I think it would be worth reporting to the police on the grounds of the very serious potential danger the farmer is creating on the road. The fact that the farmer is not stringing the twine across the road with the intention of injuring a cyclist is beside the point: regardless of intention or criminal intent it could cause severe/life changing injuries and even kill a cyclist. A possible benefit of doing so is that if the police act on your report and speak to the farmer to get his side of the story and the farmer admits to them that he placed the twine across the road, then you may be able to use that admission in your claim (assuming you are able to get hold of a copy of the police report, or the police provide you with an update confirming that the farmer admitted it).

Cowsham
Posts: 722
Joined: 4 Nov 2019, 1:33pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Cowsham » 27 Aug 2020, 7:57am

Show the farmer, if you've not already done so, a quote for the damage cos he may not believe bits for bikes and specialist clothing can cost that sort of doe then while your there complain about a physical injury you probably have from the crash anyway.

londonbikerider
Posts: 150
Joined: 22 Nov 2018, 7:58am

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby londonbikerider » 27 Aug 2020, 8:07am

slowster wrote:A few comments:

1. The farmer probably has public liability insurance cover, because I am pretty sure it's normal for farmers to have a combined insurance policy which covers farm buildings, livestock, farm machinery, employers' liability and public liability, most likely with NFU Mutual who insure most farmers. Although he might initially want to settle the matter privately without notifying his insurer, I expect that might well change if and when you make a formal claim using the small claims procedure, and that at that point he would pass the matter to his insurer, who would probably be better/easier for you to deal with.
....


That is some good advice, I believe that a lot more can be achieved when people sit down and look at the facts as they happened.
Sorry about the crash, it's not a good start of the day!

thirdcrank
Posts: 29719
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Aug 2020, 9:15am

I've nothing but idle curiosity but is there a streetview of the location?

What intrigues me is that presumably, the farmer does this twice daily 365 days p.a., with the only exception being leap years when it's 366. Presumably you commute twice daily but with days off. Was something different on the day this happened?

As I said, purely idle curiosity: it doesn't affect the issues.

User avatar
Graham
Moderator
Posts: 6378
Joined: 14 Dec 2006, 8:48pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby Graham » 27 Aug 2020, 9:21am

It is a long-established practice in the rural areas here to use such minimal "aids" to guide the cows across a quiet country lane.

You must have been very unlucky to have cycled into one unseen, but bearing in mind the low-level of light at dawn these things can happen.

I doubt that I'd bother chasing money for repairs unless the degree of negligence was outrageous and the farmers response was unsympathetic or combative.

. . . but then I'd only need £300 to replace a whole bike.

PS. Your photos of the bent bike bits could be interesting . ???

thirdcrank
Posts: 29719
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Bailer twine across road to guide cows - I hit it !.. Advice pls

Postby thirdcrank » 27 Aug 2020, 9:39am

Graham wrote:It is a long-established practice ...


Over the years I've seen all sorts but where there's any sort of traffic, the farmer's priority seemed to be avoiding a beast being written off in a crash.

A fairly recent example was on the old A65 between the Settle bypass and Settle. A couple of big 4x4s - Mitsubishi Shogun type of thing - shot down the road then swerved broadside completely blocking it. Several occupants leapt out arm waving at approaching traffic then the large herd crossed.