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Pillion passenger - in the era of litigation.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by davway, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. the point of this thread is to gauge a response of what your (as the operator) responsibilties AND liabilities are towards pillion passengers.
    as we all know, this is the age of "easy money". as the person in control of a vehicle (the motorcycle) it IS very possible that YOU could find yourself getting sued for any and all damages to a pillion passenger.
    lets look at this example:
    you provide the pillion with a spare helmet. the helmet is AS1698 (and in excellent condition), as required BY LAW and they wear it. by no other definition of enforcable law is any other protective gear required. for the point of this, no other gear is offered to the pillion except the helmet. (the helmet fits too!)
    anyway, youve explained the basics about a second person on a bike, they understand etc.
    you have an off, it is NOT the pillions fault, its your fault. you werent being reckless but for insurance purposes YOU are at fault.
    the pillion has come off second best and has some severe damage. the damage will heal over time, but their life has been effected physically from the accident. this effect will last their life time. the extent of lifetime damage isnt so important in this scenerio but it is there. the point is they are damaged, you are at fault. if you didnt crash or they were more protected they wouldnt be in the state they are in now. the damaged caused is to other parts of the body that wasnt protected by a helmet.


    in this day and age, where does that leave you?
    you didnt offer the utmost protection other than a helmet.
    TAC are doing their part, insurance are doing their part BUT is there a legal standing that you could be made to pay damages and be held responsible for the damage caused to someone else whilst on your bike?

    im not looking to stir the pot here, or even to point blame, or the what ifs, or the "not your problems".
    this is only a scenario, it hasnt happened. it is a look at what could and WILL happen at some point in the future.
    what do you believe your responsibilities and obligations are?
    what are your liabiltites when it comes to pillions?
    would this make you think twice about passengers if this did happen?
  2. I wish you all the best with your motorcycle tour business.
  3. You could get your pillion to sign an indemnity waiver - protects you, makes them more aware of the risk they are taking, scares off potential cruisers giving short joy rides when you're holding a charity event...but that's another story
  4. What are the liabilities of the driver in a car towards their passengers in a situation like that? Really, it would be good to know

    and secondly, logically, it would be the same scenario as with a car when on a bike
  5. its just a scenario.
    there is no business or anything like that.
    its just one of those things, you have a bike and a spare helmet and someone wants to come along for the ride.
    im not asking for my own personal experience or anything like that, im asking because i see this as a legitimate question that has the potential to impact any person that carries a pillion.
    no one is responsible for themselves anymore, that makes YOU responsible for anyone else on your bike.
  6. Not being a learned person, however I would think that:

    1) As you have complied with all legislation by providing a usable, approved helmet as the only required item of protective gear

    2) Explained what to expect and how to ride like a pillion with the pillion agreeing they understand

    You are relieved of any obligation by your third party injury insurer. This is assuming that you have not acted unreasonably outside of the law by say doing mono's with the pillion on board. Motorcycling is a dangerous activity, and as long as the pillion can be deemed a reasonable person capable of making sound decisions on their own, then they would be deemed to have accepted the risk.
  7. Doesn't TAC take care of it all in lieu or private litigation?

    I have no idea, just wondering.
  8. I don't know about it legally, but if I take a girlfriend on the back of the bike and there isnt another set of safety gear, they get at least a jacket and I'll go without. I offer with blokes, but of course it is never accepted.
  9. +1
    I don't pillion blokes though :grin:
  10. Tell'em to get off and make them eat you dust!!!
    I don't carry a second helmet, second helmet don't really fit anyone else's head but mine. If someone brings his own, i'll take him,but the fact that he brought his own is kinda like signing a waiver..
    For friends and family who gets on the back of my bike, if they wanna sue, let them, my mistake i trusted them with my friendship..

    By the way, i have put my girlfriend to sign a waiver!! True!!! It was a joke, but one day she questioned my riding and i got shitty so i said You wanna ride with me, sign here at the bottom!!! Then she got the bug, went and got her L's and a bike.......
  11. Dunno what the TAC thingy is...

    but ACT/NSW - passenger/s in a car can sue the driver for personal injury damages, where the driver is "at fault" - this is what your CTP insurance is for. So while they are suing the "driver" the driver doesn't actually pay anything (unless there is an excess or something - I don't know about that), it is all covered by the insurance company.

    This includes kids and stuff... say Dad is driving, mum and a few kids are passengers - dad stuffs up, everyone is hurt, mum and kids can "sue" dad for damages.

    And for any ACT registered vehicle that CTP insurance is provided by NRMA.

    I would assume that the same would apply for a pillion. It wouldn't matter if you have provided them with all the safety gear, etc. It would be no different than a car passenger, and you ensured they wore a seat belt. At law, you have a duty of care, and if you are at fault in a motor vehicle accident, then you have probably breached that duty of care.

    Well that's my understanding of it anyway - I'm not a lawyer.

  12. This and Mels comments are about "it".
    I don't know of any civil cases since the "No Fault" TAC type schemes have been in operation, regarding "not for profit" drivers anyway.
    Commercial drivers cabbies / trucks etc, are covered slightly differently, but the principle is the same albeit a fair bit dearer.
    If however it was a "Harly ride" type business I would suggest that a form of public Liabilty insurance was a must. In fact in some cases it is mandatory as a condition of getting permits.
  13. Judging by the lastest 08 designs for sports bikes, there is basically nuff all room to pillion anyone anyway!

    The basics fact is that you are allowed to carry a passanger on a bike, only condition is that they wear a helmet. However, would be prudent to ensure they have the full kit.

    On a personal note:
    Given my main ride is an R1, I would not be to comfortable with someones saftey on the tail end of it.
    If I was keen on riding two up, a Triumph bonneville etc would be a much safer option.
  14. Sounds right. That's why it's so much cheaper to register a single-seater bike up here than a two-seater; the CTP component drops from $228 to $85.20 when you go to a single.
  15. i would think it would be the same as in a car where Tac picks up the tab, and they offer a payout depending on amount of damage impairment etc.

    If somone is hurt i believe you can only sue if that person was deemed to be reckless/neg driving etc.

    To me, i won't (ok sometimes very rarely i might not have draggins on) would i ride without my full kit....and too non-riding pillions i offer the same amout of gear as i would suit up in....if i take another rider they supply there gear and it's their choice as to how much protection thye decide to wear ....they are riders and know the risks

    cheers stewy :)
  16. Indeed, that's why in NSW we get raped for ctp, because often I think when a rider is at fault, any pillion is a good chance of a claim.

    I have been wondering how long it will be before we start to see reforms for bike rego in NSW allowing single seat rego as is the case in QLD.
    I think with the cost nowdays, it won't be all that long, although the insurers will fight hard to prevent it.....
    It's sad when my CTP for the Nissan Patrol I drive is only 60% the cost of both bike ctp's.
  17. And all comprehensive insurance policies have public liability cover.

    I don't know why people think that this is an issue. It was raised yonks ago with respect to "netrides", or any other group ride. Could anyone be held liable if someone had a crash.

    People are so paranoid about being sued. In fact, I've never heard of anyone sueing other parties as a result of a crash that has occured while they were on a group ride, drive or whatever.

    When you're on the road, you're liable for your own actions. TAC will cover medical and other related costs, including loss of wages. Your insurance will cover property damage. That's about it.

    Of course, if you have shitloads of cash to waste, then by all means, try and sue someone for "pain and suffering" and whatever else that you can think of. Personally, I doubt that you'd get far. Otherwise, the courts would be full of such cases, most typical would be the cost to you for the loss of the use of the vehicle while it's being repaired.
  18. When I wanted to upgrade bikes, I seriously looked at anything with split seats, as I had thoughts of converting it to a single. I decided against it in the end.

    We'd convert Mrs Tree's ZZR 250 to a single (I know she'll never carry a pillion), but it would be too costly an exercise to make it worthwhile. Also, it has a banana seat. How do you convert that to a single???
  19. It actually wouldn't require "shitloads" of cash, depending on the circumstances.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/s...l?query=motor vehicles and pain and suffering

    This case (as an example) actually spells out the interaction between the Transport Accident Act, the Compensation Act, and Victims of Crime legislation.
    Whilst it is not "on point" the principles are the same / similar.

    And people do still get sued, but normally in a "professional" situation.

    That aside, 99% of cases regarding Motor Vehicles are covered by the TAC.
  20. I thought that it was us in Sydney who think that we are the center of the world, but apparently Melbournians are the same..
    TAC is a Victorian thing, the rest of us, 75%, have to pay from our own pockets, stop rubbing it in!!!