Ahmed vs MacLean case “may encourage others to make claims”, says MTB skills tutor

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The ongoing case in which a Surrey Hills-based mountain biking instructor is being sued by a client “could raise our instructor insurance and encourage others to claim on accidents,” believes skills coach Tom Dowie.

Many in the trade reacted with dismay at news of the High Court case, in which £79-a-session instructor Leon MacLean is the subject of a £4 million lawsuit as a result of a client crash.

Accused of employing a “lazy form of teaching”, MacLean’s defense claims that the claimant ignored specific instructions on Peaslake-based trail Barry Knows Best.

Dowie says that for his business, the case flags a number of worrying possibilities for the future of skills tuition.

“For my future sessions this has highlighted that if anything does happen on a session to keep a record of exactly what happened to best cover myself should anyone decide raise a similar case. I’d hope that the claimant doesn’t win this case against the coach, purely for the fact that it was an accident. Just because he was being instructed it doesn’t mean he necessarily applied the skills taught. If he didn’t, why should someone else take the blame?

“At the same time, I’m still very saddened to hear the outcome of his accident and wish him all the best in his recovery.”

On the world of skills training, we’re told that revival of MTB trading is producing a “consistent flow” of customers seeking skills training.

“There’s never a shortage,” adds Dowie. “Most come back over a couple of months to really give themselves a solid fundamental skills set. My students are never advised to attempt anything that I deem out of their ability, which has luckily resulted in very few accidents in the hundreds of coaching courses I’ve run.”