‘No Brains’ Downhill Mountain Bike Claim Delamere Forest

In July 2011 John Hewitt, an extreme downhill cyclist, fell on landing the Gap Jump in the No Brains cycle area within the Forestry Commission’s Delamere Forest. He sustained a broken collar bone and lodged a claim against the Forestry Commission that they had failed to discharge their duty of care under the common law or the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957.
He argued that the jump represented a nasty surprise, and should not have been there, or there should have been warning signs.

The Forestry Commission argued Mr Hewitt was aware of the jump and voluntarily accepted the risk. The ‘No Brains’ area was well known as an extreme trail and downhill site, featured on You Tube. The main notice board at Delamere Forest indicated the grading and severity and there were warning signs on the approach to the area.
The Commission also claimed that if a cyclist came upon the gap and did not wish to attempt the jump, there would be time to brake or avoid it.

Judge Gregory ruled that Mr Hewitt was an experienced able rider and jumper and well aware of the nature of the No Brains facility; he had actively sought out the jump and therefore the claim failed. The judge also stated that the Forestry commission had, in any event, done sufficient to discharge any duty owed under the common law or the Occupier’s Liability Act 1957.

To read the Full Judgement, click here: John_Hewitt_v_Forestry_Commission-transcript_of_Judgment.pdf

The Forestry Commission were represented by Mark Milkoviks from Eversheds LLP. He has provided us with a summary of the key lessons to be learned from the case. You can see them here: IPS_1B-797699-v1-Powerpoint_presentation.pdf

John Hewitt v. Forestry Commission [2015] A63YJ660

This case law entry was written by Ken Dodd and was published in February 2016

This website entry was last updated on 29 February, 2016

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